I feel like as a mother I am constantly being judged. Ever since those early baby days, I’ve felt like all eyes have been on me over the choices I have made with my parenting; whether I’ve breastfed or bottle-fed and also for being a stay at home mum.
Social media can cause us to be judgmental.
With the increase in social media and people opening up their everyday lives through Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories, I feel like everyone is able to judge your every move and look at your life through an open window and make comments. Social media tends to only capture what those that use it want to show so that it becomes a highlight reel of their life or an exaggerated part. Or it may even be completely false and posts are just put up for appearances sake. These posts make out that you look really happy and put together and that everything is going well in your life. No one knows the truth behind anybody’s posts really. It’s easy to lie on social media, it’s easier to put a gushing picture of a happy family up and say how happy you are and proud you are of your family and how well the kids are doing, how well-behaved they are, than it is to allow people that real insight into your life.
That real insight could be that actually maybe you were struggling that day and maybe you barely made it through that day without shouting at your children or hiding in the corner with a chocolate bar. I think we all feel like we are being judged and we don’t want to seem vulnerable and show the messy side of our lives. Everyone is comparing themselves on social media and wondering why our lives don’t match up to the person’s you are viewing online.
I am constantly comparing myself to other mums online and wondering why my children aren’t as well behaved or achieving as much academically. Or why we don’t appear as happy or even my social life doesn’t compare to those other Mums. I try with my social media posts to reflect a more wholesome account of the whole truth to what my life is really like but I am also making sure I don’t only show the highlights of what’s going on. I think we all live in fear that if we open up ourselves completely that we will face criticism, judgement and be ridiculed by the way our lives are when actually no one is as perfect as they make out through social media. And no one really has it all together and if it seems like someone has or if they said they have, they’ve been lying because we all have our insecurities and we all have our downfalls in life.
Social media portrays our life as how we want it to.
Depending what is placed online, sometimes an ideal image of life is reflected out. So people tend to judge on what they see on these platforms. People can be unkind to each other because they are judging the image that has been sent into the world. This can come out of jealousy, out of bitterness. But we really need to be kinder because we don’t know what other people are going through and how their lives really are. Social media is not an accurate representation of someone’s life and even in the real life, if a mum is boasting about how well things are going for her she could well be hiding behind something. The apparently happiest people sometimes are the saddest, the most social people are sometimes the loneliest. Just because we think we know what someone is like and how their lives are, we really have no idea.
On a side note to this, 2 stories have recently been in the news that have just shocked me at how truly unkind people are. The first was Now magazine being completely unnecessarily vile to Stacey Solomon. Whom, I personally 100% admire for being one of the most real and down to earth celebrities there is. When I view her posts, I don’t come away feeling like rubbish about myself, I’m always uplifted. Because she shows us a real and truthful view into her amazing world. She is stunning and yet she isn’t afraid to show her wobbly bits to us all! Yet a magazine has placed themselves behind their “fans” and have thought that it’s okay to completely talk trash about Stacey. Calling her boring, well I think she is far from boring. She is real. And just because she is a celebrity, she doesn’t deserve that unkindness. Another incident is the bullying of a blogger Scarlett London. All this blogger did was post up a paid advert and she got trolled to an unbelievable level. Of course the image was pretty, pink and perfect looking- she’s working! She was posting up a brilliantly creative image, because that’s her job. And she got given death threats for this. No, Instagram doesn’t always show a realistic lifestyle- but sometimes thats absolutely fine. Just like TV and film- not everything is done realistically. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it for what it is and move on with our lives. Why people feel the need to be so unkind and bully online like this goes beyond me. 2 perfect recent examples of what’s wrong with the world now. What happened to kindness?
The danger of ‘putting up appearances’
The danger to only placing online the highlights, or alternate views of our lives, is that we are putting up boundaries and not really letting anyone ever in fully. In today’s modern world we are constantly open to communication 24/7 through social media and texting but are we really connecting on a proper basis? I don’t think people are connecting deeply enough as humans. I think we all live in such a bubble through social media that we’re not really connecting and getting to know each other and instead we are just judging each other through what we see on-screen rather than what’s really accurate.
We use social media to stay in contact and we are texting each other, but are we really connecting?
We replace likes and comments with proper communication and actually messaging that person to ask how they really are, what they’ve really been up to. We think that by following someones time line, that is enough to call someone a ‘friend’. Even when there is a conversation, I feel that so many people are afraid to say what’s really going on- through fear that their ‘perfect social media image’ is broken. The criticism that is out there over mental health makes people so afraid to show their true feelings and thoughts.
I choose to open up.
I have chosen to open up and speak out about my mental health, about the anxieties I suffer with, in the hope that others will. That we break the ‘perfect’ images on social media. That we replace them with realness. With kindness. Even on celebrities photos and accounts, the trolls that comment with such mean and hurtful things. Celebrities are certainly not invincible, as we’ve seen through so many devastating sad news over the past few years, such as Chris Cornell. So why do people think it’s ok to tear these people down? They place judgements on what we are shown- not real life. Celebrities and those in the public lie will not always post real, honest images. But that’s part of a job. It’s their vocation. It’s more than ok. It’s also OK that we publish what we want online, whether it’s real or fake. What’s wrong is the judgements that people then have. It’s the online bullying. It’s even avoiding someone in real life because of what they publish.
Don’t get me wrong, I fear each and every post I publish will end up with judgement about me for having these issues. But with each and every post I have put up, I’ve had people get in touch and not sympathise, but relate. People relate to what I’m writing, but haven’t ever put their thoughts and feelings into words and that’s perfectly fine, I just hope that through my experiences and thoughts that it can help anyone out there not feel so alone, not be so afraid or left hopeless. I want to leave people feeling hopeful. I want people to read this and learn something positive, that we are all in this crazy world together and together we can achieve great things. Like overcoming horrid mental health problems and creating a lot more love and kindness in the world.
Always choose kindness.
Instead of judging people through what you see online or even in person, before thinking you know someone- always choose to be kind. Always choose kindness. Be careful about the words you say and how you treat someone. You think you know what’s going on in someone’s life but next time, just think twice before shutting someone out, or rolling your eyes at their behaviour. I think we all just need to be kinder to everyone, to absolutely everyone we meet. If you see someone struggling with the kids screaming down the road, don’t judge them for being a bad mum because you have no idea what is really going on. Or if you see someone who usually posts plenty of happy showing off posts on their Facebook, but then they suddenly, they put up a little cry for help through something else- Don’t necessarily think that they are after attention, think actually they want help. Be kind, check if that person is okay.
We constantly tell our children, “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all” I think this is a lesson most adults have forgotten.
In any social interaction, please always choose to be kind. Without kindness, what would this world be?
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