As millennials, we're told to faithfully document our life. Square after filtered square, we tell the world that we ate a drool-worthy brunch with our squad, redesigned our living rooms, fell in love, landed the job. We comment, we double-tap, we follow all in hopes that our actions will be reciprocated. We press our thumbs to our phone screens in a flurry of excitement and obligation to share just how wonderful things really are.
We learn how to style, to edit, to pose and spend hours perfecting each until our lives look like an immaculate collection of well-lived moments.
But all of this curation leads to the inevitable moment when we look at someone else's perfectly styled Instagram shot (#ootd #Instadaily #blessed) and feel like we're falling short.
It makes sense, right? As a society, we're no longer obsessed with the Kardashian's of the world. We want sneak peeks into the lives of bloggers and trainers and social media superstars. We can relate to them. And so they rise in popularity and fame and those of us who aren't at their level aspire to be like them.
I know that this is true because I do it. I have friends who do it. I have clients who feel the frustration of trying to keep up.
David and I were out one day and I spotted it: the most Instagrammable street art I had ever seen. I handed him my phone and instructed him on how to frame the shot. I stepped into the frame and out of it to critique at least 10 times. What I had intended to be a cute shot with a colorful background turned into 15 minutes of frustration for both of us. It has to be perfect and it isn't and why can't I get my shots to look like Mckenna Bleu's shots?
Sadly, this is how many of my Instagram posts come to be. Poor David. He doesn't understand why I feel like everything has to look just so. Most of the time, he doesn't understand why I need to post at all.
It started out as a business strategy: I would grow my social media following and that would help me become well-known in my industry.
My brilliant plan for success quickly turned into a way to measure my self-worth.
It's not easy for me to write this. I've always taken pride in being someone who doesn't look to the world for validation. And the truth is, I do know my worth. I know that it is not defined by followers or likes or shares. I know that it is inherent and true, regardless of what other people say or do.
But, like many people in our generation, I fell into the Insta-trap and began down a path lit only by the glow of my phone.
I felt like I was constantly falling short. That my home wasn't as beautiful, my outfits as stylish, my body as fit, my businesses as successful.
And that translated, in my mind, to being a failure.
But the measuring stick I was using wasn't accurate. I was comparing my real life to the carefully selected images of the 1%.
Here's the thing.
There will always be someone with a more beautiful home where they will miraculously be able to keep their white carpet pristine and never find their couch covered in cat hair.
There will always be someone who looks stunning in a ball gown and doesn't have a curly mess of tangled hair to tame in the morning.
There will always be a wellness guru who has a perfect morning routine of matcha and meditation, followed by an hour of yoga.
There will always be another writer who more elegantly pens prose and garnishes the adoration of her readers (and never, ever gets writers block).
And that's ok. We should all feel free to share our good moments for the world to see. I want to celebrate the business success and perfectly executed buddha bowl of others.
But I also want to be ok with my reality that, when I'm not comparing it to people who are at a different point of their journey, looks pretty damn amazing.
When you feel like your falling short, take a step back. Remember that the posts you see on Instagram are meant to look good. They don't show the kids crying or the wine stain on the carpet or the rejection letter or the argument with their partner.
Or do what I did and just delete your Instagram account.