How the Internet Tricked You into Thinking I'm Successful
This is something I've wanted to address for a while and I think it's something that a lot of creators experience (maybe I'm wrong?!). Lately, whenever I meet someone new or talk to someone I haven't seen in a while, I'm faced with the same assumption of myself. "You're so busy! You look like you're making a killing!". With Instagram rolling out the trial of hidden likes, this seems like the perfect time to talk about how the internet is tricking you into thinking you've fallen behind and your peers are successful.
Life Looks Shiny
Here's the thing. Social media is meant to be a place here you post about things you're proud of.
Photos you've taken that look nice.
Places you've been or are currently visiting.
That fancy drink.
That big thing you just achieved.
This is great! It really is! It's an outlet where you are able to express yourself and show off your achievements. But let's be real, it's kind of a lie, right?
If you've followed me for a while, you've probably noticed that I went away a couple of times last year. I visited Iceland, London (x2), Scotland, and Ireland. I posted a lot of beautiful photos from those trips. And obviously because I went, it means I could afford it, right? I'm a travel influencer now, RIGHT?! So wrong.
These trips, paired with my computer purchase from 2017, new lenses, another camera body, camera accessories, basic survival, has me in debt.
I know people are weird about discussing finances, but I'm not.
Is my debt out of control? No. But damn does it weigh on me.
My brain cannot wrap around people saying "you're making so much money!" when I'm literally lucky if I'm able to pay my (very minimal) bills each month. In fact, I've had to take out of my line of credit to make my payments a few times over the last year! This isn't meant to be a pity party for my bank account. At the end of the day, it's my decision to not lock down a job I hate just to make sure I can afford to survive. But let's not act like all these people you see posting photos of their lavish trips and shopping sprees aren't secretly broke af.
I'm writing this post with the intention of making you feel a little better about your current position. I've talked to a lot of people and let me tell ya, we all seem to be in debt, living beyond our means, and struggling with our mental health. In a sense, it's hypocritical for me to sit here and tell you that you shouldn't be jealous that Becky is on her 3rd Influencer trip to Bali in the last 2 months, because I am extremely guilty of being envious.
I see a lot of people living out my dreams on Instagram.
They're booking travel gigs. I'm lucky if I can book a client in town.
They're working on projects that fulfill them.
I'm taking what I can get, even if it isn't something I'm passionate about.
They're buying a home or renting beautiful apartments.
I live in my boyfriend's parent's basement.
But what is their life actually like? Were they properly compensated for their travel? Did that project actually mean as much to them as they're writing in their caption? Are they actually able to make their payments?
Social media allows us to create an illusion that we're doing good; a perfectly curated lifestyle. We're seeing the world! We're making money! We're fashionable! It's all a rat race. I catch myself equating someone's following, engagement, and posts to their work/personality/success and I know 80% of you reading this do the same, whether you're able to admit it or not.
It's hard not to compare yourself to your peers or to think that someone is living such a better life than you based strictly off of their social media presence. It's difficult to see someone booking a ton of work in your field and having way more "followers" or "likes" than you even if your work is comparable or better. We just need to remember that making those comparisons is unhealthy and if we focus on what other people are achieving we will never be able to achieve our own successes.