By: Amanda Vining, IATG ContributorSeptember 26, 2016
I’ve always felt pressure to have as many friends as possible (now more than ever because of social media). Like a lot of people, I fall prey to comparing myself and the number of “likes” and connections I get on my social media posts with the numbers other people receive, and I let myself feel inferior when I don’t receive as many “likes” or followers.
I often find myself perusing the posts of friends and celebrities and wondering why I’m not as cool, put together, charismatic, or exciting as they are. When I post something on Facebook or Instagram, I find myself constantly checking how many comments or pieces of positive feedback it’s received.
There’s a quote by an unknown author that says, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” When it comes to social media, this couldn’t be more true. But when it comes to putting this wise piece of knowledge into practice, it couldn’t be more difficult. As much as I know I shouldn’t compare myself to the portrayals of other people on social media, it’s a habit I can’t seem to break.
But then, in the middle of this past summer, I was given a much needed reality check. In July, I celebrated my birthday, and the multitude of one-line birthday messages on Facebook poured in. I took joy in reading through the 100+ generic messages; however, they seemed somewhat empty, because I knew they were written hurriedly and nonchalantly by people scrolling through their news feeds. But there were a handful of messages that I received offline, through phone calls and letters sent via “snail mail.” They were birthday wishes from my closest friends, messages filled with love, thought, and reminders of memories and inside jokes. Reading a lengthy birthday card from one of my dearest childhood friends, I realized that I DO have amazing friendships, and that I AM cool, charismatic, and exciting to the people who mean the most to me, my tribe.
To my inner circle of friends, I am more than anything that could ever be portrayed on social media, and they are just as much to me.
I felt silly that, at age 26, it took sincere birthday messages from my tribe to remind me not to compare myself to things I see online, but the nature of social media is that we all get a little too wrapped up in it sometimes.
I may not have as many followers or “likes” as I believe that I should have or that society implies that I should have, but I have amazing friendships in my real life that I need to remind myself not to take for granted. It’s all about seeing the value in quality over quantity, and not letting insecurities inspired by social media overshadow the invaluable relationships I have with my tribe.
Take some time this week to show your inner circle some extra love! Sometimes we get caught up in the need to have a lot of friends, but it’s important to give our bff’s a little extra love and affection.
Amanda lives in Austin, Texas, where she strives every day to be as BRAVE and BeautyFULL as she can be. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a self-designed degree in Children’s Rights, and Duke University with a certificate in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time, Amanda can be found scouring Pinterest for her latest craft project, drinking coconut mochas in her favorite coffee shop, and advocating for sexual violence prevention on her blog, Talk About Rape (www.talkaboutrape.com.)