Hurrah, you got past the blog heading because, yes, it’s wanky! But it’s an important message.
There’s so much pressure these days to be beautiful, smart, slim, kind, successful, happy, popular… the list goes on and on. But is this pressure really being put on us or are we simply piling the pressure on ourselves?
Perfection is a lie
Just a scroll through my Instagram feed and I’m inundated with beautiful images and perfect posts – even the filters are perfect! Seen a picture of a top Instagrammer somewhere iconic, like the Taj Mahal, and weirdly there’s no one else around them? Like where did all the tourists go? Nowhere… they were just photoshopped out of the image. It looks perfect and idyllic but really it’s just a lie. (Or artistic license, some would argue).
The majority of the Facebook posts I see are about happy things, like celebrating birthdays, weddings, holidays, winning awards, accomplishing a goal etc. It’s no secret that we like to show our best selves on social media but by doing that we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and others. By constantly seeing perfection (or close to it), it’s perpetuating a myth.
Worryingly, according to a new report by the Children’s Commissioner for England, children are “increasingly anxious about their online image and ‘keeping up appearances’ as they get older. This can be made worse when they start to follow celebrities and others outside close family and friends and this group grows significantly upon starting secondary school. Their use of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can also undermine children’s view of themselves by making them feel inferior to the people they follow.”
How often do you see posts that say, “I feel really down at the moment. Everything feels overwhelming and I’m struggling to cope.”? Very rarely…right? Yet it would be more ‘real’ and balanced if we did.
My name is Kirsty and I have failed
I said to myself at the beginning of the year that I’d publish two posts a week because I wanted to focus more time on developing my blog. It was all going so well until a couple of weeks ago when I simply didn’t have time* to write.
*Ok, this is a bit of a lie as I did have time – I just chose to spend it on different things. Instead of writing a blog post, I went to the gym. Whilst I was at gym, I listened to my favourite podcasts and just spent some time on ‘me’. I read my book (two actually). I took myself off to the cinema one afternoon. Again, I could have spent that afternoon writing a couple of blog posts but I didn’t want to. I wanted to eat popcorn and watch I, Tonya.
Now, technically I’ve failed in the goals that I set myself. But you know what? I just don’t care. The only person who put any expectations on me, was me. No one was tweeting me saying, “Kirsty, why haven’t you posted a blog post in a week?”.
What choice will you make?
Sometimes in life (actually most times) we have to make choices. I could have rigidly stuck to my ‘two posts a week’ goal – and probably exhausted myself in the process because I was also really busy work-wise – but I felt that giving myself a break was more important. At first I felt a bit of angst over it but then I thought, “why am I beating myself up over this?” There are more important things in life to worry about.
How often do you beat yourself up?
I bet it’s fairly often – or more often than you think. Why do we do this to ourselves? I’d bet that most times it’s because we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to live up to what we THINK people’s expectations of us are. But who sets those expectations? We do.
If you do one thing this week, promise me it’s that you’ll be kind to yourself. Stop beating yourself up because you’re doing your best and that’s all we can ask of ourselves. Also, let’s be more honest in social media posts please so that we break this cycle of perfection.