When it comes to social media, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I dearly love how it allows us to connect to folks. And I hate how viewing the lives of others makes some folks feel less than. More than one client has said this to me: “I will love my life when I do X, Y, and Z….like SHE does.”
And the thing is: what we see on social media is rarely a reflection of real life. Yes, these folks we follow share all the ways they are “living their best life!” That is, if anyone’s “best life” was lived based on Photoshop, filters, and hundreds of takes for a perfect photo. Oh, honey, they work hard to make it seem effortless.
Darling, you can declare “I love my life” by accepting who you are right now. In this moment. Yet, in order to do that? You’re going to have to shift your relationship with social media. And that means, darling, that you have to stop comparing your messy, every day life to the curated lives of strangers (or frenemies) on the internet.
This is especially important on the days when you’re feeling feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
Playing the comparison game means it will be hard to declare “I will love my life.” Let alone actually love it.
Unfortunately, scrolling through social media has become a favorite way to unwind from the day.
Picture this: you’re unwinding from your day with your favorite mindless activity – scrolling through Instagram. You like to follow accounts who have pretty images by people with exciting lives. More exciting than yours, at least.
And then, you see her. The one that hashtags every post “I love my life”. Or should I say #LoveMyLife. And though you don’t really love your life, you sure believe she loves her (enviable) life!
We all have someone like her on our feeds.
She’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she always eats perfect Paleo (or Keto) meals. She has green smoothies, drinks green tea, and declares her love for the #PSL! (Pumpkin Spice Latte). She prepares perfect lunches for her kiddos, goes to hot yoga in the morning, and lunches with her BFF every day!
Her clothes are always perfectly coordinated with her surroundings – how does anyone ever manage that? She goes to cool parties and gatherings. She is insanely happy in her marriage as she hints she and her hubby hump like bunnies. In a classy way, of course.
As you pine over her enviable pictures, you tell yourself that if you can start living like this woman, then you will can finally say I love my life. And mean it.
You are convinced that when your life is as glamorous and exciting you can’t help but love your life.
Sure, maybe deep down inside you know you ought to find something a little less numbing to do. Like start reading one of those new books you bought recently. For now, though, you just want to scroll through your social media for a little bit until you think of something else you’d like to do.
It can feel easier to sit on the sidelines and watch how others live their lives. Rather than get up off the coach and work on your own goals. Especially when you’re so exhausted you can’t even decide what you want.
I bet as I was describing this nebulous, fictional social media influencer, your mind immediately went to a very real person who comes up on your own feed.
So, darling, let’s get real. When you scroll through her pictures and swipe through her stories how do you feel? Does she leave you feeling positive and empowered to love your own life? Or do you end up feeling pretty lousy about yourself in comparison?
If you’re feeling the latter, then, darling, put the phone down.
It’s all well and good to fill your social media feeds with positive and encouraging images. However, my dear, when you’re left feeling like having a whole and happy life is beyond your reach? All because you’re busy comparing your ordinary, daily life to the curated lives of total strangers on the Internet?
That’s when you begin to tread in dangerous territory.
And it’s not just the people we follow whom we do not know in real life. We can also find ourselves prey to comparing our lives to people we DO know – maybe even people we genuinely do like in our offline lives.
And, dare I say it? of course, it’s tempting to act as if and tag everything #lovemylife. Even when you don’t. There is power in acting “as if” when you want to grow your confidence. But it’s another thing when you know you’re lying to yourself, isn’t it?
In order to honestly say “I will love my life” you must stop comparing yourself to others.
Those influencers make loving their lives look easy. Yet, they rarely show the behind the scenes reality of those perfect feeds. Yes, they may jet off to beautiful places. However, they also work from the moment they wake up until they fall into bed. They often have a team: make-up artists, photographers, editors, and stylists.
You want to live a life you love and you want it to be easy. Unfortunately, the glamorous life of ease those influencers on social media show are the result of long hours and lots of hustle.
Almost everywhere you turn these days, there is a post implying that if you don’t love your life, then all you need is particular magic fix. Meditate! Drink Green Juice! Go to Paris! And yes, I know that there are some coaches or gurus that have slick sales pages for programs “guaranteed” to make you happy.
Darling, there is no magic fix. The only path to happiness is for you to decide to be happy. The way to love your life is to decide that you are going to love it as it is. Right now. And in order to continue to be happy, love your life, and have the kind of life you desire?
I hate to break it to you, sugarplum, you have to do the work to love your life.
Look. I don’t discount that life can be challenging. We all have ups and downs. I do know, though, that our thoughts create our reality. That’s why it’s so important to be super mindful about what you take in.
If anything makes you feel like crap, be it a book, television, a person online, or a person in real life, then they, my darling, are toxic.
Studies have shown that spending too much time on social media reading other people’s status updates can lead to us feeling worse about ourselves. Is this really how we want to live our lives? Like we can’t be happy unless we meet certain imaginary standards? You, darling, have the power to create your own standards for living life.
If you are feeling less than because you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people? Then feeling like you can honestly declare, “I will love my life” is going to seem like an insurmountable feat. However, if you can just get some perspective about social media? And step away from the comparison game?
Then you will be able to find ways to love your life. On your own terms.
Yes, allow yourself to be inspired by those influencers. Do they model how self-care is a part of their daily routine? Then emulate it! Make yourself go to the gym if you want to get in shape. Clean out that messy closet. Learn to cook beautiful and healthy meals. Take good care of your skin by getting a facial and wearing sunscreen.
By all means, if an influencer can show you the path to ways to fall in love with your very own life? Yes, yes. A thousand times yes.
Yes, buy flowers like that Instagram star you obsess over. But not because you want a life like theirs. Because they have reminded you that you are deserving of small luxuries and a beautiful life. This also means that you need to take some risks. Maybe you need to allow yourself to fail at something you’ve always wanted to try. And then take that failure and learn how to model recovering from a mistake.
I can promise you that you do not want someone else’s life. Because, darling, everyone has their own share of challenges and heartbreak. Remember that you are seeing the highly curated highlight reels of people on social media. Not the tough days.
When you stop the comparison game, it opens to door to discovering your own path to happiness.You can honestly say “I will love my life”. And you do this with integrity by choosing to embrace what’s beautiful in your imperfectly perfect world.
My dearest heart, you are deserving of the kind of life you desire.
When you end the comparison, you can find the path to happiness now. You can make the decision to love your life right this moment. And from that space? You can make the changes you desire to love your life more.
The true key to loving your life needs to be based not on what social media shows is popular, but what you experience.
Then, my dear, you pursue those goals and dreams of yours from a space of love. Not lack.
When you approach your life from a space of love, acceptance, and pursuit of desire? Then, darling, the life you build will be one that you can’t help but love. Never forget that you can create a life that feels loving and nourishing. No matter what life tosses at you. And, darling, no matter what the popular kids say you “should” be doing or experiencing.