STRONGER TOGETHER: Beyond the Filtered Perfection—Unmasking the Real Lives Behind Social Media

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Last updated: 06/11/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses perfectionism, social media, and the toll it takes on our mental health.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

In today's digitally connected world, social media has become a stage where many of us showcase curated versions of our lives. Picturesque vacations, flawless selfies, and tales of unending success often dominate our feeds. However, the truth is that appearances on social media can be profoundly deceiving. Beneath those seemingly perfect lives lie complexities that may never make it to the Instagram grid or the Facebook wall.

As I reflect on this, I am reminded of a friend whose online presence always seemed enviable. Her posts were a collage of impeccable moments – stunning travel photos, impressive career achievements, and seemingly flawless relationships. Her life appeared to be the epitome of perfection. But as we got closer, I began to see a different story unfold.

The facade of her perfect life on social media masked the emotional struggles she endured. The pressure to maintain that illusion of perfection took a toll on her mental health. Her achievements were hard-won and came at the expense of countless sleepless nights. The beautiful travel pictures did not capture the moments of loneliness and homesickness she experienced while abroad. The seemingly perfect relationship she presented had its share of conflicts and compromises.

In the age of filters and selective sharing, it's crucial to remember that what we see on social media is often only a fragment of someone's reality. The pursuit of perfection can lead us to filter their lives, hiding their vulnerabilities and challenges behind a carefully crafted facade. It's a stark reminder that comparing our lives to others' highlight reels can be a fruitless and disheartening endeavour.

Perfectionism, whether driven by personal standards or the pressure to meet external expectations, often plays a role in perpetuating these misleading appearances. The desire to present oneself as flawless can lead to a disconnect between our real experiences and the image projected online.

So, what's the takeaway in this era of picture-perfect profiles? First, it's essential to approach social media with a critical eye and an understanding that appearances can be deceiving. Remember that most people share their best moments while leaving the rest unspoken. Second, it's vital to practice self-compassion. Embrace the imperfections and acknowledge that nobody's life is devoid of challenges.

The next time you find yourself scrolling through a friend's feed, marvelling at their seemingly ideal life, remember that beneath the filters and perfectly crafted posts lies a human being with their own set of struggles and triumphs. After all, the pursuit of perfection may be an admirable endeavour, but it's essential to remember that perfection is not a requirement for happiness or success. In embracing the authenticity beneath the facade, we find a path to genuine connection and personal growth.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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