Over the summer, I was away in Cape May NJ with my husband and son. I posted an Instagram story of us outside of this beautiful cape house, with a bonfire blazing, barbecue sizzling, and music playing as the trees swayed back and forth. I posted that video along with bubble lettered #summervibes! hashtag.
I did it without even thinking.
Later, my friend texted me that she felt – by the looks of my instagram stories – that we might be deciding to leave NYC and actually move out to NJ, it looked that amazing and picturesque.
I laughed to her that the truth was that the house was surrounded by bees nests and mosquitoes and every single time we went outside we got covered by bites. I laughed that I ran outside to take that video and then hustled back in the house to actually eat the bbq because it was so miserable out there. I laughed that it was way too hot for this picturesque beach vacation with a 4.5 month old and I didn’t know what I had been thinking!
And then I stopped laughing.
Because I realized that what I put out on instagram, although seemingly innocent, was a lie. And I realized that I was doing what so many of us do, see, get triggered by, feel less than because of. I was showcasing a highlight reel – and a fake highlight reel at that!! – because the truth of the manner wasn’t “instagram approved.”
What the actual f*ck.
Instagram is a liar. As my therapist once told me, it’s a tool I use to find reasons why my life is not enough. I use it to seek out examples of why I am less then. I use it to compare and then despair.
And then I found myself doing the EXACT THING I was triggered by.
Instagram shows a rolling scroll of happy, smiling people. No mosquitos. No screaming babies. It doesn’t show the full picture and because of that, we think something must be wrong with the (dull, mundane, bug bitten) life we have in reality.
Let me say this loud and clear.
PEOPLE ARE NOT AS HAPPY AS YOU THINK THEY ARE.
LIVES ARE NOT AS AMAZING AS THEY LOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
All of us are struggling with something right now. All of us are dealing and trying to move through. All of us are figuring it out.
It’s time that we all begin
to get really honest with each other – because in doing so, we will feel more connected
not only to one another but to our own lives. Bug bites and all.
At Soul Camp, we connect deeply and without a filter. In our classes, with our teachers, with our bunk mates, we share what’s REALLY going on. We share the truth. And in doing so, we realize how alike we all truly are.
Michelle Garside and Alison Leipzig are co-founders of Soul Camp, a completely transformative sleep away camp for adults, and Soul Camp Creative, their full-service Marketing Agency devoted to working with conscious companies and brands that are positively impacting the planet. Their clients include coaches, teachers, healers, wellness practitioners, retreat centers, wellness facilities and any purpose-driven organization looking to empower people to live happier, healthier lives. Ali and Michelle and their companies have been featured in Oprah Magazine, Travel and Leisure, Fitness, Women’s Health, Good Morning America, ABC News, Parents, Fortune, Inc., and Forbes.