Holidays can be a content heavy time for many people on social media. Your Instagram or Facebook feeds might be filled with doctored up pictures and stories of great family get-togethers, gifts, and scenic homes. However, don’t be fooled. Just because someone posts all these moments, does not mean they are having the quintessential holiday experience. In reality, the more someone posts about how happy they are, the more I would question who they are trying to convince.
Often on social media, everyone wants to promote their ideal self. Posting the best photos or idealizing an event is the norm. This is not unusual – it’s hard to be vulnerable and share the things that are not going well. Very few people are going to share with friends or followers about the family fight around the dinner table. Sharing happy moment is simply easier. Keep in mind, it isn’t a bad thing to post about the great moments in life. Your friends may be genuinely having fun and wanting to share their joy.
However, most often you are not getting the full story with social media. Unless someone is live streaming their entire holiday party, you are absolutely not getting the whole picture. It can be easy to make a general assumption based on one piece of information. We often do this. Our brains don’t like missing puzzle pieces. Which is why we may make up stories to fill in the gaps of what we don’t know. So, while scrolling through your social media feeds this holiday season, try and remember:
- People’s posts are more like a highlight reel than a documentary
- What you see is likely edited and definitely curated
- Absolutely everyone has their struggles
If are find yourself comparing your holiday experience to those of your friends based on their social media, or judging yourself more critically, it may be time to go on a social media diet. Some phones have settings that allow you to set a time limit for your social media usage. Or, you may need to take a real break for several days, weeks or even months. Deleting the apps from your phone may help.
When we focus less on what other’s holidays look like, we become more present in our own. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will make the holidays better, but we can be more attentive to our own situation versus obsessing over what our friends are up to. Social media can be a wonderful way to connect and share with others, but it doesn’t have to be a constant in our lives, especially during holiday season.