There was once a time when it was great advice to say "Just be yourself" but we have become tired of cliche lines like this regardless of their truth. The fact is that as a society we have fallen in love with telling half the truth because it temporarily makes us feel better. We have depressed souls, jealousy, and unhealthy competition with standards that are not as high as we can make them seem. We don't have social media to blame for this; we only have ourselves to blame.
Have you ever looked on Instagram only to see a friend having your dream vacation, your cousin driving your dream car, your rival dating a girl you always liked, and everyone and their grandma having kids or getting married? I bet you don't feel great about yourself after this.
You might try and fake a smile, but you try and find ways to tear down what they are doing. This further sends you down a spiral of negativity.
We compare the behind the scenes of our life with others highlight reels that we regularly see rolling on Instagram.
Social media has caused us to live in a dangerous cycle of needing more in our lives to prove to others that we are doing well. We see others faking happiness, and we feel like we have to catch up. The only problem is that we never do and we never will because there is always someone out there that "seems happier".
What is real?
Real is facing the reality of where and what your life is. After speaking in my hometown of Toronto, I posted pictures speaking at different high schools across the city. The experience was fantastic, but it was nothing more than a highlight of my life.
Real is the fact that I was turned down by hundreds of schools who did not want me to come and speak. Why didn't I make a social media post to show that failure?
Real is how I had so little money at the time that I temporarily convinced myself I was a vegetarian in hopes that it would make groceries cost less. Why didn't I post a pic of the two nickels I didn't have to rub together?
Real is realizing that I have not had a vacation since I was a little kid.
Real is fearing deep down that I could work so hard my whole life and never reach the levels of success that I dream of. Real is everything that you will never see on social media. Real is not highlight reels.
I tried to start changing this on social media because the happiest I have ever been in my life was when I got real with myself and others. Accepting myself and my life for exactly what it is has freed me to be happier than ever. I don't need to show my highlight reel because that is not my real life.
Why Authentic Sets Us Free
When we live a lie or tell the half truth, we know we are doing this. When we finally can tell people what is bothering us or that we are sad, it means that we can face that problem. Many of us act like we have money when in reality we live pay day to pay day. You can never face the truth of not saving money or needing to make more money until you can finally admit that you have an issue in the first place.
"When you spend a week away from social media, it gives you the opportunity just to reflect and see how much it consumes your life."
I have spent my entire 2016 freeing myself of all of my wrongs, insecurities, and profound problems, and it is only possible when you can stop living a lie. Social media needs to be less of a place to show off and compete and more of a place that represents reality.
Your reality is what and who you are whether you like it or not you do need to face it. The deepest parts of your soul will be happy you had the courage to be honest.
1. Spend one week away from social media
2. When returning to social media replace any negative thoughts with a sincere compliment to that person
3. Use your social media to reflect the truth of what you are about
4. When others respect you for being strong help them to do the same
5. Feel happier inside
When you spend a week away from social media, it gives you the opportunity just to reflect and see how much it consumes your life. We are made to believe that if we don't look at our phones every chance we get, we might just miss something. When you step away from social media, you realize that with or without social media life goes on.
When you do decide to come back, it is important that you approach social media with a new framework. Instead of comparison, use it to keep up with friends. When you are thankful for others being in your life, and you compliment them, it always makes you feel better inside.
When you post on social media, your goal is not to show off but rather to give others a small glimpse into who you are. It should be balanced with high moments and low moments because that is real. No life comes without good and bad, high and low so your social media should represent that.
Other people may not say it to you directly, but they will respect you for being real. Every time they see you reveal a weak point you will give them a glimpse of light that they too can be strong like you.
Feel better about social media. If we are going to spend a lot of our time on something, then we may as well make sure it is producing the feelings we want inside.
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