Everyone’s life looks great on social media, and I’m sure mine is no exception. I post about things that make me happy, or things that make me laugh. I post about the many things that irritate and infuriate me.
But I never post about the things that make me feel truly awful. On days when I feel down, I stay away from social media. Partly because it’s hard to look at everyone else being all confident and happy when I feel anxious, and partly because of the temptation to share my troubles with the world – and I don’t really want to do that, even if that is giving a dishonest impression of my life as a whole. Some people go for the enigmatic post when they are feeling crap – not wanting to divulge specifics yet keen announce their discontent. I have been tempted at times – except posts like that seem to result in people using the term hunni which would only exacerbate my already troubled psyche.
Sometimes people share genuine emotional turmoil they are going through – and I salute their braveness. It is reassuring to read about someone else going through a painful divorce, nursing an ill relative or struggling with a downturn in their life.
There was much criticism of the recent ‘motherhood challenge’ on facebook (mothers were to post five happy photos of themselves with their children). Some accused the mothers in question of being smug, some said it was hurtful to women who couldn’t have children and others said it was unfair to women who were suffering mentally and struggling with their children.
But the more I think about it, the more insane all those arguments are.
For a start – would that mean we are no longer to share any happy photos on social media for fear of upsetting those who are sad or depressed? Can we not be proud of something we have in case we create envy in those who have not? I suppose it’s a fine line. Maybe babies are a special category, life-defining as they are, but following that logic should we not post a photo of the cocktails we are about to drink for fear of knocking an alcoholic off the wagon, or a photo of the cake we baked for tempting someone away from their careful diet? Can we not check in to a fancy restaurant in case those who are struggling financially feel hard done by?
I come back to my earlier point about why people should stay away from social media when they are feeling down. People mostly only post about the good things in their life – and if anyone is going to feel annoyed about that, they should take a break until they feel able to be happy for them. Or defriend the happy people and go join a group of similarly bitter souls.