I have a problem. The more time I spend consuming media, the less I value myself.
Everything is so lovely. And I am not lovely. I have rough edges, my nailpolish is chipping, my legs are not shaven. There's rabbit poop in my living room that I can never get under control. Acne has popped up out of nowhere and my neck is scarred from my obsessive picking.
And that's what I want to talk to you about today: the rampant insecurity and inferiority that I (and I'm guessing you, too) feel every day.
The misplacement of value
We're all guilty of posing for photos, showing our good sides. I often take photos of the only clean corner of our table (the amount of times I've just thrown stuff aside in piles to make it look like I'm an organized adult is beyond count).
And it's easy to look at our Instagram pages later and to say "this is what my life looks like".
We've misplaced our value: instead of valuing our humanity, we value the appearance of humanity. Instead of valuing the day spent with someone we love, we may find ourselves valuing the story of it more.
Everything has shifted one degree away from reality—there's now a screen, a filter, a way to curate our existence in ways that are pleasing to ourselves and to others. We make ourselves lovely, even when our real aesthetic is harsh and cluttered.
Even when we're miserable.
The appearance of happiness
Don't compare your insides with other people's outsides.
I often find myself stuck thinking that I am the only one putting up a front on social media. But everyone's doing it.
Everyone is stretching the truth, embellishing their stories, filtering their photos. Everyone is curating themselves carefully, and that in itself is not a bad thing. It gives us perspective on all the good that surrounds us and connects us to our long-lost optimistic side.
I even do it on this blog. But my hope is to always include posts like this one so that you know I'm just as confused and vulnerable as you are.
The trouble comes when we are convinced that we're the only ones who show the best parts of our life.
The power of language
Using language as a way to conceal the cracks has been around since the beginning of time, but with the rise of every new form of communication, it has become more prominent.
Thanks to social media, instead of telling your friends you went to the park, you can spend the time crafting your sentences more poetically: "A vintage yellow blanket, almond champagne in ball jars and my sweet husband make for the perfect spring day in the park."
Most people wouldn't use that many adjectives in a regular conversation. Usually it's also accompanied by a stunning, styled photo.
Yeesh. Cue the destructive jealousy and inadequacy that paralyzes us.
There's no way back, so let's move forward
Okay, so there is maybe one way to go back, but that decision also leaves us unable to enjoy the pleasures of modern technology: get offline, ditch the smartphone, go back to film cameras.
If you're not willing to do that, like me, let's find a way forward through the forest of beautiful people and things surrounding us online.
Adopt a mantra for when you consume media: "This is their lovely" or "This is their happiness."
Do the difficult work of guarding yourself from jealousy. Learn to speak to yourself with a kind and gentle voice and find what truly makes your heart ignite.
Find what you think is lovely and incorporate it into your real, offline life. Go the extra mile and style a bouquet for your dining table, add some sparkle to your manicure, or splurge on a skincare product that makes you feel like a princess.
I've wasted so much time feeling disappointed for not being lovely like you, that I've failed to be lovely like me.
Be lovely my friends, whatever that means to you.