I’ve talked about this topic before, and as I sat down to write this I felt overwhelmingly sure that this story has been told. It’s a topic that’s tired, and we don’t need to hear it anymore.
Social media is bad for our mental health. Comparison is ugly. Screen time is toxic.
But then I realized that it’s real, and it’s something that I think all of us struggle with—no matter our age. Whether we care to admit it, we all inherit influence from those within our iPhone screens. Someone else will always create a twinkle in our envious eye, making us feel just a twinge of jealousy as the grass looks strikingly greener from where they’re standing.
I feel that we’ve all found a bit of comfort in comparison, while we stand virtually connected to everyone within our network—how can we not? It’s a constant battle of feeling guilty for letting the self-doubt creep up during an AM social media perusal mixed with bits of inspiration or humor because there’s no denying that the meme accounts are truly fantastic. And then the cycle continues to repeat itself, numbingly transporting us into a state of utter envy.
But here’s the interesting part that our glazed over eyes rarely recognize: our social media feeds typically fail to document the in-between moments of life composed of all the lackluster instances that don't quite make our highlight reels. I don't post Facebook statuses about the days at work where nothing seems to go right, and while I'm sitting at my desk questioning every decision I've made in my 2 year stint at being a career woman, my first thought definitely isn't What Instagram filter best hides my mascara runs, caused by tears? My social networks don't illustrate the nights I've fallen asleep on brand new bedding, snuggling up to pillows that cost more than my grocery budget, while I wonder if I'll ever be a responsible adult who doesn't need to buy things to feel full. Social networks certainly don't document all the times when insecurity, resentment, worry, and anxiety fill my mind because why would I tarnish my glowing highlight reel of smiles and cute outfits with moments of real life?
What's worse, is that people are looking onto these perfectly poised social media existences with a green-eyed gaze and spiteful longing to walk in her shoes, or rather- have the life of the woman we wish we were. It's as if when one of our Facebook friends finds success in her career, relationship, or weight-loss journey we're overcome with a sense of jealousy before quickly reminding ourselves that we should be happy for them. What is that all about?
I've found that there's an interesting, yet unfortunate, phenomenon among women of all ages that I like to call Shoe Envy.
Shoe Envy; noun/SHo͞o / envē/
prancing around in a gorgeous pair of sparkly heels, holding a jealous desire to wear the shoes of the seemingly perfect woman who seems to have it all. a coveting crave to be put in someone else's circumstances, despite being the completely wrong shoe size.
Because that’s where we’re all so heartbreakingly wrong. Don't you know that the only person destined to wear the shoes you're wearing is you? Don't you realize that your life is a gift, and to wish you had anything other than the one you're given is simply foolish? Whatever trials, adversities, struggles, heartbreaks, or painstakingly awful situations you encounter throughout your life's journey, praise God because it all plays a part in His glorious plan for you. Just because your path is a little bumpier or has more twists & turns than your best friend's doesn't mean you're on the wrong road. It simply means that you're moving, and that in itself is a blessing.
When was the last time you checked in with your inner dialogue? Listen to not only what you’re telling yourself, but how you’re saying it. I think having a social media consciousness is something that we should all instill as a mental health precaution, but being aware of our internal perception of ourselves is arguably much more important. Treat yourself the way you’d treat your girlfriend who just got a promotion. Or who just lost 15 pounds! Or celebrated a monumental anniversary. It’s okay to stop and tell yourself you’re absolutely killing it, too. Maybe you include some inner *hair flip* emojis while you’re at it, because loving yourself is this year’s top trend. Self love isn’t selfish, it’s necessary for living the life you’re destined for.
And with that- let's be happy for the successes of the women in our lives while we continue to live the life we we’re destined to live—however bumpy, uncertain, or downright terrifying the road may be. And remember: we as women are the lucky ones in this thing called life, because we get to make our way down that road in a really fabulous pair of shoes.