I, like many of you reading this right now, am apart of that weird generation that had a childhood that was 50% tech-free and 50% social-media infused.
We still had a childhood free of Instagram, but it was introduced to us as we started entering middle school and high school. At first, social media was just a place to post random statuses about what you ate that day and to post overly filtered pic-collages of literally whatever you saw or were doing.
But then, somewhere along the way, we went from posting careless pictures of friends and family to using social media as a strange form of social proof and social currency. Rather than seeing those silly, carefree photos of us with friends and family, our feeds were filled with social flexes; exposed selfies, lavish arrays of food at rooftop restaurants, vacations that many of us could only dream of going, and, of course, all of those can’t-possibly-be-natural bodies!
At some point, social media became a competition. The more likes you had on a photo meant you were more popular. The more followers you had on Instagram gave you more validation. Even the amount of people leaving heart eyes & flames under your selfies became social currency!
OH, and God forbid nobody posted on your wall for your birthday! That’s basically being socially blacklisted!
Towards the end of my high school years and heavily into my college years, my social feeds were completely full of flexes that made it seem like everyone’s life was perfect and full of exciting new adventures. Seeing all of these photos and videos made me feel like I needed to be doing these things and look a certain way in order to be cool or to be like everybody else. I felt that somehow if I wasn’t posting about my successes or my social life, they weren’t validated and they didn’t matter...you know “pics or it didn’t happen.”
I was counting likes, followers, comments. If a picture I posted didn’t get enough likes I’d archive it or delete it because clearly, nobody wanted to see that mess. Right? At least, that’s what I thought.
If my life wasn’t broadcasted enough then I wasn’t living! If I didn’t post a picture which captured my flawless makeup and perfect hair and didn’t get a ton of likes on it, then was I actually as beautiful as I thought I was?
If you’ve never felt the pressures of social media and these thoughts have never crossed your mind, then congratulations, that’s really awesome for you. But don’t dismiss that there’s a lot of people who can relate to exactly what I’m talking about. Especially now.
I really feel for the Generation Z kids who have truly grown up with social media ruling their lives. Through my work I’ve been able to develop relationships with the teens of today and I see their social media posts and they talk to me about their problems and what’s giving them stress today, and I even find it difficult to relate. A large portion of their stress comes as a result of impossible social media expectations. I can’t imagine being a teenager today!
Recently, I reached out to my Instagram community and asked them what they HATE about social media through my semi-frequent “Question of the Day.” I wasn’t very surprised to see that many of them spoke about the unrealistic expectations set by social media.
Being a Borderline Millennial means that we get to face the daily struggles of social media’s unrealistic expectations. We are apart of a generation where half of us are still trying to “fit in” on social media, and the other half of us just like to post whatever the heck we want because we can.
I’m proud of myself because I’m now apart of the latter half of that group of Borderline Millennials. Yes, of course, I still post selfies and my travel pics, I’m human! BUT the difference is this...I used to post selfies and travel pics as a way to get validation from people that the life I led was desirable and interesting. Now, I KNOW my life is wonderful and that I am truly blessed and privileged to be able to have the opportunities I have been given and go to all these new places.
So, I’m not posting with the hopes of getting likes or to make people jealous of all the cool things I’m doing. I post just because I can, or because I have the intentions to share a momentous point of my life, or really just because I was having such a good hair day, it would be a crime to deprive my followers of such gorgeous curls LOL.
Ain’t no shame in my social media game.
The point is, post whatever you want to post! Just make sure you’re doing it with positive intentions and for no one but yourself. Be secure enough in your own life that you don’t need to post about every single moment for social approval, but still post whatever you want to post because you can! You don’t need anyone else’s approval on your life, you just need to be comfortable with you.
If that’s not enough for you, I’ve made this cute little infographic for you to keep, share, save or just read in this one moment which displays my top 4 ways to stop comparing yourself to others on social media. Check it out below, and leave a comment to let me know how you feel about social media’s unrealistic expectations!