The Curse of Instagram: Let Go of Life Envy and Appreciate What You Have
It is so easy to get caught up in the seemingly perfect lives of others, that it can really distort reality and make you feel like you are missing out on something. I for one am one to speak openly about the everyday struggles I face as a mum or as a person in general. I often feel like I have given up apart of myself, my identity and personality. I am a stay-at-home mum and thats it. The fun, adventurous party gal exists no more. I have been taken up in this whirlwind of parenting and have forgotten who I was before.
Instagram Perfect Lives
I remember sitting at home while my fiancé was offshore, feeling sorry for myself. Scanning instagram, I had a pang of envy for some of my child-less friends. Their photos were amazing. Trips to Dubai, Hiking up mountains, Cocktails and dinner parties. Beautiful dresses and high heels. I envied them.
I wanted to do that. I wanted to feel alive again. Feel like I was more than I was, like I too was living the dream. I wanted to feel like I still had some mojo left in me. Every conversation I had now seemed to turn to my son and my life as a mum. Everytime I wanted to make plans I was automatically put into the boring mum pile. “We didn’t ask you out because we knew you have the baby to look after” “Next time we will drop by and hang at yours”. Noooooo I wanted to go out. I wanted to leave the house. I want to be me. Not mum.
Grass is always Greener on the other side
However in all my anguish and self pitying, I had forgotten just how lucky I am. Sitting and having dinner with one of my beautiful and glamorous friends. I proceeded to marvel at her and tell her how I envied her life. I expected her to laugh it off and change the subject non chalantly as I would have done in the past. But she didn’t. Don’t take Instagram as real life she said. It isn’t. You know what you are missing, you have experienced my life whereas I haven’t experienced yours.
I was blown away. It never occurred to me that others could envy my life. Whaaaaat? My life? My frumpy mum bod barely get out of the house life? Days of being covered in snot and cleaning and re-cleaning the house over and over again? How could these beautiful women with their fun lives and amazing instagram pics ever look my way and feel they were missing something.
Just as I was pondering this I turned to find my gorgeous yet naughty boy slowly and sneakily trying to get hold of my iPhone. Noticing I was watching he cheekily smiled at me in the hopes it will deter me away from the fact that he has my iPhone. I laughed and my heart filled with love.
This is why I thought
I realised that amidst all my complaining and longing for a part of my previous life back, I had completely neglected the whole reason why I wanted to be a mum in the first place. The reason I get up in the morning with a smile on my face. I had completely neglected the fact that I gave birth to the love of my life.
It is easy to get caught up in the negative parts of life and compare ourselves to others. We always seem to see most vividly what is missing from our lives. But we hardly stop to look and appreciate the good things we have.
Each stage of life has struggles that we need to learn from. What you see on Instagram is only a fragment of peoples lives. You don’t see the boring parts. We don’t see their morning faces without make up or how many shots they had to take just to get that one perfect photo.
Appreciate what you do have
Despite my complaining about not feeling as glamorous and fun filled as I used to be. Nothing could make me want to trade my life as a mum. Despite the challenges motherhood brings, it is also the most rewarding job I have ever had. Nothing worth anything is free.
So when you start feeling life envy stop and look. Look around you and focus on all the good you have. All the amazing things you have achieved so far. You might not have reached your ultimate goal in life, but you are probably already living the dream compared to others in the world.
Nobodies life is perfect. We just have to learn to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t. If something is lacking, then it is up to us to fix it and achieve the life balance we need.
So instead of complaining about my lack of a social life, I am taking action and working to change it.
Night out anyone?
[amazon_link asins=’1544201176,1534965211,0755318471,1910536741′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’confidentlyky-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’93dfa1fc-2608-11e7-b252-838e104b85ab’]
Love this! I think Instagram has caused similar comparisons for people (especially girls) everywhere! We’ve all got to consciously CHOOSE JOY, like you mentioned! 🙂 I know you are a GREAT mommy! 🙂
Aw thank you Lovely Bee. I cannot imagine what it must be like for young teenage girls these days with all this
Really glad you’re enjoying motherhood 🙂 it’s so easy to compare yourself with other people but now you’re free!
This is SPOT ON! I’m so happy you wrote about this. It’s so easy to get caught up in the Instagram fantasy…I’m guilty of it too. But also…look at your Insta! Your son is SO FREAKING CUTE it’s not even fair. You have a lot to feel good about. You didn’t go to a bar and get drunk, you created a little human. That’s so awesome!!! 🙂
Hahaha Thank you. He is my pride and joy. I think we are all guilty of it, its hard not to get caught up with it.
Very nice article. Much of instagram is edited, so what looks perfect is not always perfect. The bad moments or pics are not included.
Thanks Lois. Yes I need to remind myself that sometimes. No one is going to show their most ugly photos on insta thats for sure.
M a l o u (@skiptomalouuu)
Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” – little did he know that this would be such an issue in 2017! I totally feel you on this and am also guilty of comparing myself to others on social media. I’m not a mum but I do compare myself to other travel bloggers or friends who live in different countries with different opportunities than I have here in the Caribbean. It’s important for us to keep reminding ourselves that social media isn’t real – photos are often staged and behind every photo is a story that may differ to the one that we have made up in our heads. It’s refreshing to come across a ‘real’ blog, so I’ll definitely be following along! 🙂
That is a great quote and so true. We all do it and it is so easy to get caught up in it and feel like you are inferior but like you said the photos are often staged. Aw thanks Malou. I try to be real lol. I will check out yours too.
So many people fall into this trap, learn to appreciate what you have and try not to focus on what others have, you’ll be much happier imo
My thought exactly!! But it is easier said than done at times
Such good advice. Too many of us forget to take action to take control. Seeing things you admire as an aim rather than something to be envied is so much more useful.