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Women On Instagram -- Winning On The Outside, But Weeping On The Inside

Why are we falling prey to this comparative culture, that instead of inspiring creativity only feeds our insecurities?

10/08/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 10/08/2017 07:33 SAST
dolgachov
People, leisure, friendship and technology concept - happy young women taking a selfie with smartphone

Like a lot of women in our generation, I wake up each morning and refresh my social media feeds to get an update on the world around me. Mostly it's about stuff that I don't really need to know. It's also about people I'm not so close to.

But I find these people and their lives interesting. Often this is just mindless scrolling that happens, uhm, well not just the first thing when I wake up or the last thing I do before I go to bed, but also countless times in between... and you know what? it's exhausting.

I used to think that checking out other people's life stories are inspiring, but over time all this scrolling and all this virtual travelling has only inspired a desire to take picture perfect images, and portray an unrealistic perception being 'on top of my game' kinda life.

I started to develop this unhealthy habit of always posting about my so-called life, stealing intimate moments from my family time, or family vacations and sharing it with the rest of the virtual world. 'Yeah, I too could make my ordinary life, appear extra ordinary.' I thought. Striving for perfection is exhausting.

I realised that it's time to flip the script when one successful glamorous mum that I follow, posted about how she filters out the mess, by clearing out the kitchen counter so she can give the appearance of a more Instagram 'likeable' image when she snaps up her 'perfect' life at home.

When you are losing sleep over the mindless scrolling night after night, then life will inevitably become stressful.

She compared her desire to be an ambitious working mum to the likes of Victoria Beckham, always on the go whilst still able to swing her daughter over her hip and conduct a business meeting at the same time.

To which I thought, great ambition -- but why do we, smart mums, in an effort to show people who we really are, end up showing people only the glamorous side of our lives and how we want to be like someone we are not?

How ironic and unauthentic. Why are we falling prey to this comparative culture, that instead of inspiring creativity only feeds our insecurities?

In her book, The Rules of Netiquette by Julia Spira, she coins the term 'Social Media Anxiety Disorder,' describing a host of relatable symptoms, like constantly refreshing one's feed to check new comments.

Of course, we don't like to admit that such a habit is, in fact, a problem, but when you are losing sleep over the mindless scrolling night after night, then life will inevitably become stressful.

If you're an Instagramming mum, post pictures of that mess! Let's learn to love the mess.

Recent studies reveal that women spend more time on social media than men. The average woman wastes about 24.8 hours a month on social media, while men spend about 22.9 hours online.

Women are more active on social media than men, perhaps suggesting our need for attention and approval.

This love-hate relationship I have with social media reminds me that I have the choice to pull the plug and step away from my smart phone for a little while, especially when I get hooked on some beauty blogger's page and think maybe, I too could be a successful MUA.

That's when you know, the most powerful and liberating thing you can do, is to free yourself and just be you and stay in your lane!' Oh and if you're an Instagramming mum, post pictures of that mess!

That mess is real, it shows the world something more is happening. Let's learn to love the mess.