Life is not an Instagram photo Life is not an Instagram photo Life is not an Instagram photo

Life is not an Instagram photo


I was having a conversation with a client and friend the other day. She was commenting on how ‘so and so’s’ life (a competitor for her business who is in the same social circle) looked so perfect, that her business seemed to be going so well and that everything she was doing looked just peachy. This came in the same conversation where we were discussing her current cash flow situation, new business models, and how to step things up and take them to the next level. The assumption she was making by default went something like this: her (insert competitor) life is perfect, her business is booming and there is absolutely nothing wrong in her existence. To stress her thesis, she pointed to the constant Instagram photos and Facebook posts of this perfect life.

And right there in that short conversation it had happened. The comparison monster had raised its ugly, persistent, nagging little head. And the result, and the flow on effect, wasn’t pretty.

For anyone who finds themselves in this position, I have a newsflash that sometimes goes unnoticed in our socially polished, filter prettied world: Life is not an Instagram photo. 

Nor is real life reflected in a Facebook post, a perfect Tweet or that latest Pin on Pinterest.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some social media. I can Tweet and Facebook with the best of them (if not write a grammatically correct sentence – oh well). And there is nothing wrong with having an active and somewhat voyeuristic online life.

Where it becomes a problem, is when we start comparing everyone else’s outsides to our insides. When we compare their Instagram photos to our life. It’s like a new writer comparing their first draft to Liz Gilbert’s latest masterpiece. It’s just not a relevant comparison. 

It’s only when you peak behind the curtain and see what is really going on beyond the velvet drapes that you get a sense for reality over mystery. The person posting about their latest blockbuster business concept who is actually on the verge of burnout. That blogger you envy for their massive following, who sits at home every night stressing until she is sick over the next day’s post for fear of losing her audience. The person who seems to have the perfect job/life (insert car, salary, great house and all that first class travel) who really wants to chuck it all in because really, they hate every minute of it. Or me, having had all that amazing success in New York recently, sharing and posting about the great coverage on Facebook. It was all true and it was amazing. But what you didn’t see was me walking down Fifth Avenue the day of the Forbes interview feeling sick to my stomach with nerves, wondering who on earth I was to be playing so big in New York, and wanting to come home (that post coming soon).

We can love our social media. We can use it, as many of us do, as a distraction, as inspiration, for connection and for some fun. But please, don’t use it as a tool to compare your life to your friends. To your colleagues. And certainly not to your competitors. We are all real and human and everyone has their own battles. When you look at someone’s successes, know that there is always a good dollop of the unglamorous that will have accompanied it. And when you do see someone’s vulnerabilities, be sure to celebrate and honour them, because more often than not, that is more of the true story than the perfect picture will ever be.

Your turn:

Where and when does comparison rear it’s ugly head for you?

What comparison do you need to let go of? Pick one and work out how to change the story you are telling yourself.

Until next time,

You’ve got this.


Image: Alexandra Snowdon found on Pinterest.


Tags: , , ,