The Instagram Effect

How Instagram & Pinterest actually make it harder for you to be happy in your own life.

A problem I’ve frequently encountered with social media is comparing my life to others’, especially, in this case, on Pinterest and Instagram. Seeing professionally photographed photos of a designer’s living room next to my now-seemingly-dingy living room (for a tour, click here) creates a sense of dissatisfaction in my life. Even in the case of my daughter, I feel my life is just not up to par (through no fault of hers).

While both kiddos are super cute, the first photo is obviously a better quality and apt to make me think that their life must be some sort of dream. I mean, when I look at this photos a few weeks after the glow of seeing how adorable my daughter is, all I can see are the mysterious stains on the tile.

Granted, I know in my head that there are professional photographers behind a lot of successful Instagram and Pinterest accounts (in fact, some people make their living through these mediums nowadays). Yet I find myself wallowing in self-pity.

“Why doesn’t MY kitchen look like that?” 

“I’m a totally rubbish mother because there are PLASTIC toys in the background of all her baby photos!”

“I bet they’re happy all the TIME.”

Pinterest isn’t much better on this front either. Especially when there are DIY Ikea hacks at every other turn, making me feel like I’m just not trying hard enough to perfect my living space. I mean, for god’s sake, I had this exact Ikea Lack coffee table.

Despite my best attempts, things never seem to measure up (and really how could they when an extension cord is hanging from the ceiling in the middle of my garland wall because of the renovation?).

The key here though is the comparison. It’s the constant scrolling through glossy magazine-esque photos on my iPhone that makes me unhappy, not my own life. By all means, I should be head-over-heels. Just because I don’t have a $500+ Nikkon and a lighting crew, doesn’t mean that my home isn’t beautiful (and more importantly functionial–i.e. has a roof). Just because my daughter is dressed in clothes from Target instead of every possible shop on Etsy, doesn’t mean that she isn’t just as happy and well-cared for (though it meant coincidentally be true sometimes).

Basically, letting Instagram and Pinterest set the bar is a dangerous thing and presence in the unfiltered reality of our lives is the best way to achieve true happiness.

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As seen here on Odyssey

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One thought on “The Instagram Effect

  1. Pingback: Month Seven (Status Report) – Partial Disclosure

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