The Dangers of an Altered Reality

In this day and age, social media is a huge aspect of our lives, and to be honest, I am a big fan of Instagram. I love scrolling, liking, commenting, just using it in general. However, I know when we use social media, like Instagram, we can edit basically our lives to make it seem like we’re wealthier, cooler, more fun, happier. I mean that’s one of the reasons we all have Instagram accounts — to show the world how good our life is even if it isn’t — to give the illusion of a perfect life. We carefully curate our lives based on the things we post and the things we omit. I mean, we all know that.

And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing; however, it becomes a problem when you begin to blur the lines of illusion and reality. It’s scarily easy to get caught up in the numbers on the screen — the numbers of followers, likes, comments and then equate that to popularity, happiness, and personal worth.

You can get obsessed with the numbers — and you basically start living for Instagram and living life just to get a photo that you can post. Your happiness begins to be contingent upon the amount of engagement or action you receive on your most recent selfie — the assumption is, the more followers you have, the happier you are, which is completely untrue. The only thing that makes you happy is when you reach 700 followers and the most excitement you get is when your post gets 300 likes. You begin to make plans based on which spot has the best lighting for insta pics. You begin to envy the people on Instagram who seem to have the perfect life — the perfect boyfriend, the perfect house, perfect body — you begin to obsessively stalk their page every time you’re bored —  and you begin to beat yourself up for not being like her or him. You being spending every waking moment refreshing your phone screen, disappointment feeling like a sinking rock in your stomach when you don’t see any more of those little hearts at the bottom of the screen or your heart beating rapidly in elation when someone “cool” follows you back. You strive to be like an “insta famous” star, but you start to hate yourself for not being able to reach an impossible standard. —  And that is when you have blurred the lines — when you’ve fallen into this delusion filled with pretty pictures of lattes and photos of vacations to St. Barts.

But we need to realize that those likes and followers are just numbers on a screen. Those perfect pictures are edited in a billion photo editing apps before being posted. The people in that “perfect relationship” are miserable with each other. That “perfect body” is edited in photoshop.  Those insta famous stars are in the same boat as you. Just because they seem to have it all— money, clothes, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. doesn’t necessarily mean they have any more happiness than everyone else, which I think is a pretty important thing to have in life.

Why am I saying all of this? Because, we need to be aware and vigilant into not getting lost in this obsession and delusion of social media because, in the end, it does not matter at all. It doesn’t show anything about “real life” even if you think it does. It’s not a real representation of someone’s actual life, and it’s dangerous to assume so.

Featured image via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQGLe22lHSK/?taken-by=hoskelsa&hl=en

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