The Filter Killing You

No, I did NOT wake up like this.

Nope, that gram was not instant.

No way I only took one selfie.

Not a chance my office is always an organized, dust-free, not-one-single-item-out-of-place zone.

No, my life is not picture perfect.

My social media platforms may disagree with that last statement.

Did you know you kill a piece of yourself each time you make a comparison, leading to a slow social media death? That’s right. Each time you open one of those brightly colored apps and start to scroll miles with your thumb, you’re opening yourself up to some major unrealistic expectations.

I remember back in college doing a presentation on the deception of print media. I learned about the outrageous extent airbrushing and photo shopping was used on celebrities and models creating unrealistic body images for “normal” people. Now social media is a worse offender because the people you’re viewing in perfection are not celebrities but real people, maybe even people you know. I’m guilty of it. I’m guessing you are too. Oh and all of your friends, yep, they are too. What makes it even more twisted is you see these real people and you assume they are posting their real lives, because why would the people you know lie to you?

They aren’t lying; they are just omitting the full truth picture. It goes something like this…

The picture of the one-year-old in an adorable outfit, it’s a fresh outfit because the child just     completely wrecked the previous one with a number two.

The spotless home, oh, an hour prior it looked like Hurricane Laundry had blown through.

The couple always posting amazing experiences and adventures; you don’t see their struggle to conceive a baby, because that would be too taboo to post, so they just keep posting their next big soiree and avoid showing their painful reality.

You are bombarded with images of perfection. The need to keep up with the Jones (or Kardashians, yikes!) is, in my opinion, worse than ever. The desire to have perfectly coiffed hair, outfits, houses, six-pack abs and thigh gaps is creating a death-zone internally and externally.

It’s time to STOP the madness, STOP the comparison, and STOP the killing.

How using a comparison filter is killing you:

  1. #perception You perceive everything you see as reality when in fact it is not. It’s just someone’s moment, captured, perfected and filtered before being posted for your viewing pleasure. You perceive all of the status updates and photos as someone’s real life, and it’s killing you because your reality just doesn’t seem to compare, which leads to the next point.
  2. #envy You begin to envy what others “have” or are doing. You beat yourself up because you want to have the kid that always looks impeccable or the house that looks like it came out of a magazine. And you want to be able to eat all of those tacos and still look fabulous in your swimsuit. That ugly green-eyed monster begins to grow, and it leads to the next point.
  3. #depression Your feelings of inadequacy and envy grow and you start to feel dreadful. You start to think you aren’t good enough and pale in comparison to all of these other people who look so damn perfect all the time. You forget to stop and look at your reality and take into account all of your blessings.

Five steps to overcome the comparison filter:

  1. Understand people use some real or figurative filter before they post.
  2. Don’t compare your “everything” to their “snapshot”.
  3. Be happy with you AND happy for others.
  4. Know every person is living a perfectly imperfect life with a story behind each snapshot.
  5. Unsubscribe from the people and accounts that always leave you feeling inadequate or envious.

Bottom line – if you use filters and take one hundred photos to get the perfect shot, why is it you can’t see that others are doing the exact same thing? Next time you scroll through your social media feeds, remember the snapshot you are viewing will never show you the reality of what is behind their scenes. I bet if it did, you would realize you’re behind the scenes is your favorite.

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Stephanie Melish
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