My Holidays Don’t Look Perfect; Social Media Lies

social media

Holidays can be a content heavy time for many people on social media. Your Instagram or Facebook might be filled with 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 great something is, 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 shot or idealizing an event is the norm. This is not unusual – it is hard to be vulnerable and share the things that are not going well. Very few people (if anyone!) is going to share with friends or followers about the family fight around the dinner table. And then share about any subsequent emotions you felt for the next few hours or days later. Sharing about a happier moment is simply easier. Keep in mind, it isn’t a bad thing to post the fun times with family or holiday activities. They may be genuinely having fun or may be sharing a more picture-perfect moment to try to feel a bit better about their situation.

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 fit in the gaps of what we don’t know. So, remind yourself while scrolling through social media this holiday season these few things:

  • You can’t make a full assumption based on one piece of the puzzle
  • What you see may be edited and curated versus vulnerable and real
  • No matter how hard you try to replicate it, you cannot completely have what others have, nor would that be genuine to you and your life

If are noticing yourself doing some comparing to other’s social media or judging yourself more critically, it may be time to take a social media break. Some phones have setting where you can set a time limit for your social media usage. This can help if you find yourself getting sucked into a social media spiral. Or, you may need to take a total break from it for a week or even more. Deleting the apps from your phone may help. It may also help to enlist the help of family and friends to gently remind you about taking a social media break.

When we aren’t so focused on what other’s holidays look like, we are going to be 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 also having to consider what other’s lives look like. 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.

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Alyssa Greene, LPCC has a Masters degree from University of Wisconsin in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a licensed therapist  practicing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alyssa has experience in working with various populations, but most experience working with eating disorders and body image.
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