10.04.2013

FOMO and the instagram illusion.



hey.
i'm back in the saddle.
as you all know, i tend to go MIA when my heart is too full, broken, or i'm in the thick of a new show....

i've spent some time in the middle of all three so.... that explains it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

in the last few months, i've noticed a disturbing trend; FOMO (fear of missing out) and instadepression.
not from me-i love when people overgram and boast-a-gram. but from people whom i love and admire...

one day, a bright, beautiful, well-educated, rockstar friend of mine (who has a solid marriage to a really wonderful man who appreciates and loves her fully) lamented that she just can't follow "sue's" instagram account anymore.
why?!
because "sue's" husband made her heart-shaped pancakes and her husband has never made heart shaped pancakes and therefore he must not love her as much as "sue's" husband loves HER! she even brought this issue up to her dear husband and he said he'd be happy to make heart-shaped pancakes but all she needed to do was ask... she didn't WANT to have to ASK!!! he should just KNOW! like "sue's" husband KNOWS!

i laughed. that reaction surprised me. i sorta thought she was above all of that.

and then i realized that really, truly, this was a point of comparison that she really internalized.

additionally, another friend told me she just couldn't "like" a certain picture on a friend's account because she wasn't invited to be there on that night and it hurt her feelings.

i can't tell you how many times i've heard similar stories in the last year.
it's an instademic!!!!!

darlings, it's downright ridiculous.

truly.

but i also recognize that it's a really serious problem.
women have been comparing their lives to other women since the dawn of time.. this isn't new, it's just more in-your-face now that instagram/facebook/blogging is so accessible.

well, let me let you in on a little secret:
your life is not perfect. but it's perfect for you.
that girl you idolize on instagram- HER life isn't perfect, you just can't see that.

she may have the perfect crafting, party throwing, beautiful, family loving life in a picture, but you have absolutely NO idea what she's dealing with behind her iphone snapshot.
i asked sussy what she thought of the whole thing. it's really troubling to me....
you know, how do we fix it? do you feel it? yadda yadda yadda....

and what struck me is that my sister is one of those people who is truly so busy being her unprecedented self that she doesn't have time to get jealous or covetous of another's bubble.

i asked if she thinks that we, as insta/bloggers, have an obligation to keep things more "real."
she gave a resounding NO!
she looks at instagram to be inspired artistically.
she's not interested in looking at your dirty dishes or failings. she wants to celebrate the beauty of it all.

i think of instagram as a little place for things i find hilarious, beautiful, inspiring, silly or to celebrate people i love.... but i DO think i at least attempt to be as real as i can without disclosing things that are none of your business....often i'm not cryptic enough! my friends will read into a small hint and think i'm unraveling.
you don't need to see ALL the times i cry or fail (this year, that was pretty much daily), you see enough already, i think.

and to be honest, that girl you hate because her life is so perfect on instagram, well she has hurts that are none of your damn business and don't need to be shared on instagram...
you hate her for her perfection, and all she's doing is protecting herself from the ugliness in her life. there is SO much ugliness in life.
why NOT celebrate the good and the beautiful and the cherish-able?!

i don't believe the problem lies in the girl who is wearing designer clothes (you don't know how she got them.... maybe daddy paid for it and not herself or her young husband. and if he did? awesome! go girl!) and showing "messy faced" pictures of her immaculate kids... maybe the problem lies in US.
why can't we simply look at the pic and find something to learn from it? even the most OBNOXIOUS OOTD post has a bit to learn for a girl who can't afford what she's wearing.... how did she put it together? how can i work that makeup look? whatever...
and the girl with kids who are more beautiful than yours... good on HER! that's awesome! i'll bet your kids have talents and abilities that rival that kid's beauty.

we ALL are blessed in different areas. see that. don't focus on the areas you lack.

now....
if you are feeling left out because you are not invited to someone's event/playgroup/dinner party and you're feeling bugged about it:

YOU DO THE INVITING!
create the party!
don't sit around and be sour that you aren't in the "in" group.
BE the "in" group.

people gravitate to whom they gravitate. you do not need to be invited to EVERY little event. some people are closer to others who share their same hobbies, kid's school schedule/age, or life habits.
get over it.
stop talking about it.
stop obsessing.
i'll bet that no one is instagramming a shot to rub it in. they're instagramming to keep their family included and to show love for the people they are with...
and guess what? if they are the type of people who use instagram as a weapon, you don't want to be friends with them anyway.
onward and upward.

it's time to stop blaming and take responsibility for our insta-feelings.
NO ONE is perfect.
NO ONE has the perfect life/love/career/apartment/financial situation......

no one.
no one.

live a life worth gramming.
do not live to gram.

that's my two cents.






37 comments:

Jori said...

Excellent post! I have stopped posting pics of play dates, because other moms get mad. You are so right, I thought we were above this. Apparently not. I think this is a problem for a lot of people. Thank you for posting!

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

I just feel like standing up and applauding. This was so timely and so well said. It has baffled me so much recently when I hear other bloggers and instagrammers admit to unfollowing people en masse because they can't handle comparing their lives to them. I have the same initial reaction as you -- I kind of laugh and think, "What? Why?" but then I actually feel sad that this is a THING and wonder why it's a THING. I've even had friends quit facebook for awhile because seeing other people's pictures in their feed just makes them feel jealous and competitive. I mean, whoa! I love your advice to stop moping and get out there and live our own lives. If you're not invited to the party, be the party. I'm a big believer in this! Also, this is such a good reminder and so well said: "That girl you hate because her life is so perfect on instagram, well she has hurts that are none of your damn business and don't need to be shared on instagram." ...thank you for this post!

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

....with that said, I feel like I just came across as "Why don't they just deal" in regard to people who do the comparing and unfollowing. I do think we all have our own battles, and though comparison isn't mine, it is someone else's. Mostly it concerns me how widespread it is, and how do we fix it so more women don't feel this way? I think you gave a lot of good advice on that front.

Ann said...

Preach it! Amen and amen!

christine said...

This is one of your best advice columns yet. Thanks for writing this.

We all have these little lessons to learn, and it's so interesting the different ways we learn them. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this.

K.J.D.L said...

So well said! Let people celebrate the beautiful part of their life, and keep and understanding that everyone has private griefs. We are all just doing the best we can! Also, I think you are lovely.

Kimber said...

LOVE this! totally linking it to my next blog post

Charlene said...

I am officially considering this post the first talk of Conference weekend.

j. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russ and Ashley said...

This was so well said and I agree while heatedly. I have a friend who won't have Facebook or Instagram for that exact reason

Lisa Henry said...

Right on! And I love your posts, you have a beautiful soul and a life that influences many for good.

stefanie said...

Oh, I needed this. Today. So, thanks :)

Lisa {MoneyHipMamas.com} said...

Here, here! I myself had to go through this attitude check a few years ago. For a while, I had to stop reading blogs completely because I was so insecure. For me, the transformation started when I read The Happiness Project and realized I didn't need to be obsessing about what other people did. It needed to start with myself and what I wanted to do. Now I read blogs with a vengeance without the slightest green monster of jealousy. If ever I see something enviable, I ask myself, is that something I want to be doing? Is that something that fits with my lifestyle right now (I have a newborn so the answer is often "no" to that second question). If the answer is "no" to either, I say, "good for them!" And don't give it a second thought. If the answer is yes, that's something I want for myself, then great! I get it together and try to make it happen. No bad feelings involved, just inspiration and growth.

Emily Foley said...

I think Nicole is utterly unique. Good for her. I don't always find the beauty in things but I do try. My Instagram is full of dirty, messy house and kids and my crazy busy life because it's my life. But I Instagram for myself, not anybody else. I just want to remember it because my oldest is already 9 and it went by in the blink of an eye. I just want to remember this time for what it is: hard, but so, so good.

Emily Foley said...

Also, I had to stop going on Pinterest for my own sanity. My husband does not make much money and we made the choice and sacrifice for me to be home with my kids. That means my house and wardrobe will never be Pinterest-worthy and I was okay with that until I started looking at Pinterest! Then I felt bad about myself, all the time. I'm okay again now. But You have to know yourself and when to cut yourself off from things that are hard for you. If you can't turn off those feelings, turn off your phone!

Brooke Evans said...

Thank you, thank you. I agree 100%.

heidi and tom said...

I am "real" on my Facebook and Instagram because that's who I am. Not glamorous, not "oh look how perfect my life appears to be", but honest, real, me. I definitely don't live to live to Instagram, but I love to be brutally honest and make people laugh and if I can do that by showing my weaknesses and insecurities then that's what I do. P.S. I agree with so much of this post. The false praise and "worshipping" of our "friends" on social media drives me crazy.

Rae said...

A-freaking-men.

Shella's Ramblings said...

This was wonderful!

Aunt Bedas said...

Thank you. The pity parties can end now. We should be able to stand by those in need of comfort, etc, but we also should be able to celebrate and seek the beauty and joys in life...ours and others'. Thank you, thank you.

Brooke Shoko said...

"your life is not perfect but it's perfect for you."
PERFECT.
grazzie

Brittney Paul said...

Natalie, my husband and I couldn't agree more with everything you said! I just read him your post and he and I both loved it. I'm a true believer in "you never know what's going on behind closed doors," someone's always fighting a battle, which is why I also think that we should appreciate the joys and happy times in our own lives as well as others' lives! That's why I use Insta! Thank you so much for this post, you are absolutely correct!

Rachel Sayumi ♥ said...

this was brilliant. thank you.

AshleyS said...

you rock, Natalie! love this!

the mom~ said...

AMEN! Preach it sister! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Shannon said...

I came across this quote the other day and I think it applies to ANY social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs....

"Facebook is a PR campaign to sell the image of success and happiness; it is not the whole story of someone's life."


Jenna Marin said...

Love it!!! Those are some pretty valuable cents you just put in :) Let's celebrate life and enjoy the happiness and highlights in the lives of others.

Brooke said...

I wish I could share this with everyone I know! Timely, wise advice. Bravo!

jenneday said...

Loved this Blog post!
We never should feel that we cannot celebrate our own unique and fabulous lives! The first step is being happy in our own lives and that in turn opens us up to be happy for others.
It is a novel idea :)
Bless you! Thank you!

dutchgirl123 said...

Are you referring to Taza (Naomi)?

Lisette said...

Love the last two lines!! Life is worth gramming, but don't live to gram.

Knowing what everyone is up to every second of everyday is truly overload.

Katie said...

Can't even express how much I love this. You put the thoughts I've been having for months into words that actually made sense... I needed it. Thanks!

Julie said...

First time I came across your blog and I'm so glad I did. Such a genuine insightful post that we all (especially women) can relate to!

Alexandria said...

Thank you! I needed to hear this today. You are incredible. :)

Grace said...

Excellent post. I see this often and have even caught myself doing the same. Luckily I snapped out of it rather quick but it can be easy to sink into.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

hillybug said...

I have followed you for a while but never commented. . .however for this post I have to say THANK YOU!!! This was so well written and totally expressed my opinion on this point to a "T"!

Megan Parkes said...

AMEN SISTA!