I’m sure you’ve done it before.
I’m sure you’ve been scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr or whatever it is you unconsciously scroll through and come across a photo of someone else that just makes your insides ache.
I’m sure you’ve seen a photo that has made you, if only for a brief second, wish you had their life. Or their career. Or their discipline. Or their body. Or their cute little puppy.
The question is whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Or neither of the two.
The problem with inspo
Using other people as inspiration is SO unbelievably powerful.
And thanks to social media (Instagram being my favourite) it’s just so easy to find others to look up to. There are many, many people that inspire me to do, think and feel better. It’s motivating but at the same time, it’s so easy to find myself wishing I just had their life.
I find myself thinking they’ve got it so good and a stream of ‘if only’s’ immediately pop into my mind.
I think I would be happier if I looked like them, or had as much fun as them, or was as carefree, or had as many amazing outfits or had as many followers.
I know it is not logical to think this. Unfortunately, my brain often doesn’t really care whether it makes sense or not and I constantly find thoughts like this popping into my head as I scroll through a newsfeed.
I think this even though I know I’m only seeing a teeny tiny curated portion of their lives – the highlight reel. None of the struggle, none of the slip-ups, none of the self-doubt, none of the rejection, none of the dejection.
It doesn’t even make sense
We want to be the perfect version of that person – the version that that person isn’t even capable of being. And we beat ourselves up when we can’t meet that impossible standard.
How crazy is that?!
We know they’re not perfect, but we still can’t help but hold on to that illusion because if we don’t then we’re admitting that we could never be perfect. So we stay in denial. We continue to strive for this illusive ‘perfection’ that no one can achieve.
I’ve already written about my struggle with perfectionism a few times on this blog and I know that a lot of you reading this have the same struggle. Wanting everything to be perfect can be so paralysing but it is still so hard for me to come to terms with the fact that perfection is an illusion.
And what’s worse, it’s even harder for me to admit that being perfect wouldn’t even be that good (a completely crazy thought, I know).
Why we struggle
I feel like we think everyone else is perfect because we’re just so damn good at making assumptions. We’re just too good at filling in the gaps.
When we fill in those gaps – the parts of people’s lives that we don’t see – we fill them with rainbows and fairies and butterflies.
We fill them in with more of what we’ve already seen. We forget that everyone has ups and downs. And I guess this is part of the appeal of social media – a chance to appear as a better, funnier, prettier version of yourself.
My point isn’t that we shouldn’t use others as inspiration – we definitely should. When used properly it is a super powerful way to help us achieve our goals and to create even bigger and better goals for the future.
My point is really just a point I’m constantly trying to remind myself – not even these ‘perfect’ people are perfect. They don’t get it right all the time. They don’t have fun all the time. They do experience rejection and dejection and self-doubt.
Perfection shouldn’t be the goal
There’s a quote that I love from Jim Carrey that I think sums it up pretty nicely – ‘I wish everyone could get rich and famous and everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that’s not the answer’.
I mean, I can’t really say it any better than that.
So I’ve been trying to become a bit more aware of what’s going through my mind as I scroll through Instagram. Is the stuff I tell myself really true? Do I really think that being like that person would solve all my problems? Do I really think that person’s life is actually the way it appears?
It’s a work in progress, that’s for sure. But working on it is a start.
What do you think?
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Do you find yourself wishing, however irrationally, that you had someone else’s? Do you struggle with perfectionism and do you find it hard to admit that maybe no one is perfect?
I would LOVE to hear if you’ve had to make this decision before – what did you decide to do? And are you happy with the decision you made?
Just leave a comment below and let me know, I’d really appreciate hearing what you think!