Why do I feel bad about my life when looking at other people’s Instagram accounts, and what should I do about it?
Here's the thing about social media, and Instagram in particular: it's not real life. People post what they want you to see.
This includes parties, #FoodPorn, new clothes and shoes, holidays, hanging out with friends and family, working out, and of course, lots of selfies. If they're a serious user, they have a theme.
This is the kind of thing I am talking about:
People do not want you to see their relationship breakups, their ‘off’ days, sickness, getting fired from a job, financial problems, and low grades.
Instagram is nothing but a catalogue of the highlights of someone's life. Nothing more, and nothing less.
You feel bad because you are constantly comparing every aspect of your life to those on Instagram - your car, house, food, relationships, holidays, work, fashion. If you do this, you will lose out every time. You will never meet the standards set by these people, which is why there is no point trying to.
I’ve been through this myself, actually. I was on Instagram for two years, at first with a personal account, and later, for my photography. Over that time, I amassed more than 1,500 followers. I would frequently fetch more than 150 likes on my photos, and positive comments from people all over the world.
The truth: I knew less than 15% of my ‘followers’. I paid money for my ‘likes’, and spent hours editing, and photographing to get the right picture, and make my ‘adventures’ look perfect.
This was one of my pictures, taken while on holiday in Queenstown, New Zealand.
I portrayed a happy girl who enjoyed life. It was all fake. I was miserable - I had no friends. School was hell and I didn't know what I was doing with my life anymore. I went on Instagram as a teenage girl with low self-esteem, seeking validation in positive comments and likes.
I've not long since quit Instagram, and I've never been happier. I have hours more free time in the day, which I invest into hobbies and people which I truly care about. Things are looking up.
But what can you do about all this? Well, you have two options
- Quit Instagram
It's a fairly simple process. I've not long since quit Instagram, and I've never been happier. I have hours more free time in the day, which I invest into hobbies and people which I truly care about. Things are looking up. I'll never have to worry about meeting my self-imposed photo deadlines, or getting a certain amount of likes ever again.
- Stay on Instagram
When you peel away all the negativity that surrounds Instagram, it is a fantastic platform. People from all around the world can connect with each other, find old friends, have a laugh, raise awareness of an issue, and share their life with other people.
If you want to feel better about your life in general, and stop comparing yourself to others, you can:
- Identify the people on Instagram who you follow, with the ’perfect online lives’
- Unfollow them, one by one.
By doing this, you can remove much of the jealousy over their life and dissatisfaction over yours.
I hope you feel more satisfied with your life in the future, and that you make a decision that feels right for you. Good luck!