Everyone knows that one person who seems to have it all. Great job, fulfilling personal life, house, a Tesla, a perfectly sculpted body, unbelievably good-looking wife/husband and what seems like a never ending supply of money.
In the days before social media, you heard about a friend of a friend who was that person. In fact, they were a little bit like a unicorn. You heard about them and sometimes thought you caught a glimpse of them but you never really got your hands on hard evidence. Nowadays however, that friend of a friend is all over your social media feed and although you could theoretically block them from your online life, you just can’t help but watch in wonder.
Social media may give you the false impression that your high school boyfriend is well on his way to joining the Forbes 30 under 30 list or that your colleague seems to be making a lot more than you judging by her constant vacations to Bora Bora. The reality is, people lie. People don’t want others to know that they are mere humans and experience shortcomings. Social media offers a platform that is almost designed to allow people to show off their assets and not their liabilities. When is the last time you have seen any of your contacts boast about how they are not sure they will make their student loan payment or how they have accumulated so much credit card debt that they are seriously considering running away to Mexico and laying low until their creditors forget their existence?
I guess what I am trying to say is, no one likes to plaster their unsuccessful moments on Facebook, Instagram or whatever new social media outlet is the taste of the month (Tik Tok?? Sorry I'm old). Sure we know a few people who want the world to know they got the flu and wish someone would make them chicken noodle soup. But for every attention deprived soul that just needs a hug, there are 10 people who want you to know that they ate beef tartare and bought a new Chanel purse for their pet (is that a thing?).
All these fabricated images that we are exposed to everyday create an artificial universe of “successful” people and pressures everyone to join the “look at me I’m so great” movement. Did you get a new car? Take a selfie and make sure you put it up on Facebook. Did you get engaged? Make sure the world knows your ring is bigger than Jessica’s who got engaged last month. Did you buy a new house? Why don’t you take a picture of yourself in a pensive pose in front of your doorstep contemplating just how you got there?
Of course there is nothing wrong with celebrating success and celebrate your success you should. But don’t be fooled by all the images you see of people that seem to be doing better than you. For every image of an escape to Belize there should also be 10 screen shots of credit card statements and past due notices. Look, we are all guilty of over sharing on social media. I am no exception but perhaps leaving a little to the imagination is good for the psyche and dare I say, the greater good.
Here’s a thought. Focus on the positive aspects in your life and shift your focus from everyone else’s “success” to your own. Also, before you go to bed tonight go ahead and unfollow that unicorn we talked about earlier. You will feel better, trust me.