A good friend of mine Sean Melis sent me a link the other day to a fascinating article about Generation Y and why we are so 'unhappy'. I encourage you to check it out - it is lighthearted and enjoyable to read but also nails down on some very important issues.
I want to expand on one of the points raised in the article and it revolves around image crafting. In the social media age, we tend to share more and more of our lives online, in the public eye. We are reconsidering our definition of privacy, it seems, on a daily basis and the line between our personal lives and our publicly displayed lives is becoming more and more blurred as we go along.
However, the images that we craft online are not necessarily true representations of the lives we are living, and that is because of our inherent psychology as a human being.
We want to share the good things. We want to create the best possible image of ourselves.
So on our social media platforms, we tend to be very active when things are going well or when we are doing interesting things, but suspiciously quiet when we are going through a rough time. With obvious exceptions, the vast majority of people don't display their failures or their insecurities in the public eye - our ego and our pride is too high.
As a result of this, our facebook and instagram profiles paint this perfect life where everything we touch turns to gold, we have a celebrity's social life, every opportunity we have is better than the last - and it looks too good to be true!
That's because it is.
Now, the trouble isn't with this image crafting, I don't think that is going to change, we are always going to want to create the best possible image for ourselves. The problem rather comes when we start comparing ourselves against other people, based purely on the content of their online profiles. It's easy to forget that we are only seeing the good things and many (including myself from time to time) have fallen into the trap of becoming increasingly envious, almost to the point of complete despondency.
Behind that public wall (excuse the pun) lies many more insecurities, many more failures, many more tears than you understand. Don't sell yourself short, because your expectations of other people, based on their profiles, significantly exceeds the reality of those people's lives.
They also struggle. They also fail. They also have off-days.
But of-course you don't see that on their facebook wall.
Don't compare yourself to others. Be confident in your plan, be happy with who you are and go your own way. It's not about bettering someone else or walking in the shadow of someone that you look up to. It's about becoming a better you.