Don’t Let your Whole Personality be an Instagram Filter

I was casually shopping for my nine-year-old daughter the other day and was confronted by a child sized t shirt that said:

“Perception is reality”

I used to believe that statement with my whole heart. It must have been ingrained in me by a nun along the way. The nuns that schooled me were wise and some of their words have stuck with me to this day, but they didn’t know shit about social media.

Ignoring the cringe factor of plastering everything we think on a graphic tee, please believe, our perception is light years away from reality. These days, taking what we see at face value is a risky game we play. Our perceptions are distorted, at times beyond recognition – I’m looking at you Facetune – by what people choose to present to you through lenses clouded with filters and clever captions. Only aesthetically pleasing tableaus for your consumption, thank you very much.

Generally, we have become better at having empathy and realizing that everyone is fighting battles we cannot see. We are freer and more genuine with our words of encouragement and offers of support. We recognize that the picture-perfect representatives we send out into the world every day through our social media accounts tend to disguise the messy, beautiful, tortured, and hopeful souls that lie within. And yet, even though I want to embrace a life lived in a judgement free zone, the level of fakery I witness while doom scrolling is still responsible for inducing my biggest eye rolls.

In discussions with my daughter on this topic, I have shown her pictures of myself that were slightly tweaked and pictures where I almost look like a cartoon version of myself. There were no water marks or filter name cited in either case. Zero evidence to be found by the naked eye that the photos were altered. A random person who did not know me in real life, would not be able to detect that the individual in the photo does not actually exist…not in that form anyway. We’ve talked about how easy it can be to be fooled and, even more importantly, to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to someone else’s fake highlight reel. I will not helplessly stand by and watch her be tricked into believing she is not good enough or worthy of love because she doesn’t look like an AI version of herself.

This blog post won’t change the way we live or solve the conundrum of social media. I’m not naïve enough to think my words are that powerful. We all have to navigate finding a balance within our social media platforms where we feel comfortable, learn how to police our consumption, and set healthy boundaries. It’s certainly not for me to determine. I get it: the struggle to be real is real! I’m just so exhausted by my own efforts to improve my mental health and self-image that I don’t have the capacity to tolerate all the posturing and distortion (like, that LITERALLY isn’t your face).

This is my eternal fight song.

I should block, mute, unsubscribe.

I shouldn’t let it get to me.

I’m working on that.

I’m loving on my people.

I’m learning to love myself.

One thought on “Don’t Let your Whole Personality be an Instagram Filter

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s