The Great Expectations of Social Media

Social media seems to be all that consumes our lives now. As soon as we wake up, instead of admiring the sun coming through our windows, we grab our phones and see who said what. Or how many likes we got on our Instagram photo we spent twenty minutes editing last night. We go about our days looking at the unrealistic body expectations on social media and ask ourselves "Why we don’t look this way?" There are times when we criticize the way we live our lives because it doesn’t fit the videos that our favorite YouTubers make.

Isn’t this a warped way to live?

Last Sunday, Arden Rose, my favorite person on YouTube and social media in general, posted a video talking about her mental health and how social media has played a role in how unhappy she is. It was painful to watch because the one person I look to for happiness whenever I go on Instagram, or YouTube, is admitting that she is going through some stuff. At the end of the video, I realized that even the happiest of people aren’t always smiling on the inside.

There was once a time when I looked at social media and thought, “How could I look like that girl?” I would save workout exercises, pictures of body inspiration, and follow people who seemed to have perfect lives. I wanted my life to look as chronological, and as pleasing to the eye, as the women that I followed or watched on social media.

The problem was that I started comparing myself to these people. I would look at my thighs and wonder if I would ever get that thigh gap. I noted the spots of acne on my face and wished that I could have clear skin like the celebrities that I looked up to. I desired a life that was filled with unrealistic expectations.

At the end of the video, I realized that even the happiest of people aren't always smiling on the inside.

In the end, I admit that social media is a cycle of self-deprecation and jealousy. There are moments where you smile at the things your friends or family post, but the reality is that when we go to sleep at night, the majority of the time our minds run through the ways we aren’t like most people.

Maybe social media is a mixture of good and bad, like a chocolate bar or our favorite doughnut. We savor the goodness of the first bite, but once we digest it the sugar high goes down and we are faced with the side effects.  

I hope that anyone who reads this understands that the filters and the posts you write aren’t what makes you. You fill in the happiness and the goodness on your own. You don’t need to validate your worth based on the likes and comments that happen on your photos. I’m still learning how to separate how I see myself and what is on social media, which I think is what we all need to learn in today’s world. 

Images: 12