Why it’s more important to be authentic than perfect on social media
As a mom in today’s world, I have many advantages my own mother and grandmother never experienced.
Not only can I keep in touch with my high school friends and college roommates, but I can watch their children grow up in my social media feed. I don’t have to remember birthdays because Facebook notifies me. My relatives in California and friends back in Chicago can keep up with our family, even watching us zipline on vacation and celebrate milestones.
In many ways, it’s a magical time to be alive from a communication stand point. Knowing I’ll keep in touch with friends through social media makes the sting of goodbyes hurt a little less, and in many ways, allows women to get to know friends on a much deeper level faster.
Like I said, it’s an exciting time to be in the world, but the flip side of this wonderful opportunity for connection is the level of filtered comparison it can bring.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I’ve watched countless friends experience feeling of missing out and envy through social media.
Maybe a group of friends post pictures from a holiday party you weren’t invited to. Ouch. Or your cousin’s kid made the honor roll while yours is still trying to dress himself and put the underwear on before the shorts. These are the types of things you’d likely never know or care about without social media, and they can make you feel pretty crummy at times.
There’s also the “highlights reel,” which is the beautifully curated photos of amazing vacations, perfectly thrown parties and candid photos that are anything but.
There’s a hilarious meme floating around about a mother screaming at her children and pulling her hair out, attempting to capture that perfect photo. The kids are crying, untucking their shirts and scampering off. After losing her mind to get the “perfect” photo, she posts it with the caption, “My Purpose in Life” or “Blessed.”
Yes Mama, you are blessed, but you didn’t need perfection to prove it to the world.
What this mom doesn’t realize is captioning it with a funny, truthful comment may make her friends appreciate her even more. Perfection is not what drives people to want to connect with you, authenticity is.
My advice for managing your social media is to decide what you hope to get out of the online exchange and experience, and design things to your needs. Follow those who bring you joy, weed out the comparison and focus on the beauty of the connection with others you love.
By Christie Cuthbert
An award-winning columnist, Christie Cuthbert has been a writer for 15 years and is busy raising four boys, including a set of triplets. She is currently working on her first book, "Mom I Farted in Church" A Type A Mama's Crazy Journey Learning to Laugh. Follow her journey on Instagram @christiecuthbert