We all know by now how much the internet makes everyone look like they have a glossy perfect life. People make their living out of exactly how glossy and perfect theirs looks or how aspirational their life appears to be online. Therefore how much brands want to be associated with that level of aspiration. We know this, this isn’t news. We also know that as a result ‘normal folk’ (i.e. EVERYONE on the internet – yes, even those who look like their lives are glossy and perfect) has this increasing sense of internet inadequacy. So that’s a little something I wanted to chat about today.
Whenever I talk about the not-so-positive side of the internet, I naturally want to find an upside, a silver lining or a way to take something positive from it. I don’t enjoy being a Debbie Downer on anything. This is very much NOT an internet-shade type of post, it’s more of a ‘lets talk about something we’re probably all feeling to a certain degree’ thing. So I’ll start with my perspective on it.
I’ll start with a little about me and where I’m most specifically coming from right now. Almost a year ago we moved house, for a good couple of years now I’ve been pretty interested in interiors and home decorating. Something I’ve wanted to bring to the blog more and recognised that moving house was potentially going to give me the opportunity to do just that. In the year we have lived in our new home, I’ve found myself really wanting to write about things we have done and share more home content but then something holds me back. Mostly that familiar internet inadequacy feeling. That voice in my head that says, nope – it’s not quite pretty enough. You have actual ‘stuff’ on show. You know, stuff that doesn’t fit with a colour scheme – books on shelves. Or even just that it just doesn’t look as perfect as you would like. People come round and say how lovely rooms look, but that critical voice immediately points out all the not-so-perfect elements. The walls are beige not bright white, the original carpet is still down when we would love wooden floors…but we don’t have thousands of pounds to do this all at once. We have a room with a mattress but no bed frame. A room that still has boxed we haven’t unpacked in there as we don’t have furniture for it to go into right now. The list of ‘not finished’ is almost endless and it can make me feel frustrated. Frustrated that we don’t have an endless pot of money to be able to just sort it, buy those bits of furniture, pay for someone to do those bits of work we want doing. Just get it done. Get it looking like the pictures I’m endlessly pinning on Pinterest (probably my current favourite platform).
But there is still that voice in my head (multiple voices going on…should I be worried?!) that tells me not to be silly, even the perfect house on Pinterest doesn’t look that perfect all the time. These things take time, mostly because the majority of people don’t have piles of money to be able to do it all at once. We have just spent the last month and a fair chunk of cash on redecorating my office. Which I absolutely adore and it looks about as Instagram-worthy as I could ever dream of. The downside being that I’ve loved doing this so much now I’m just itching to do the other rooms and rather than being patient I’m just getting frustrated that I can’t make my WHOLE HOUSE look as Pinterest-perfect as we have made the office RIGHT NOW.
The house situation is just an example, the internet inadequacy extends to every corner of the internet. I’d love to do some more style type posts, but then whenever I take photos I just feel they don’t look as beautiful and never put them live. I have a backlog of posts that are in all honesty good enough, but that inadequate feeling tells me not to post them. It’s like I’m trolling myself before I even put anything online for potential trolls to even get involved. I’m second guessing the critical comments so I never expose myself to them.
That’s not to say that the content I do put out there is perfect. Not at all, but I do tend to stick to my comfort zone of beauty. This feeling of not being good enough holds me back from being as creative as I’d like to be, to branching out into the fields I feel most passionate and excited about at the moment. Of course I still love beauty – always will – but everyone needs to be stretched and challenge and this internet inadequacy feeling is holding me back. When you are the boss, you’re the only one who can push and encourage you to try new things or train for a new skill or just try that thing you want to. It’s short sighted of me so stick to what I know for fear of not being as good as those who already do it SO well.
I have found myself drifting a little more away from the ‘always on’ social media thing. The ‘pressure’ to take lovely photos, instagram photos, tweet, snapchat and now Instagram stories just all gets a bit overkill to me sometimes. I don’t find myself mindlessly scrolling as much as I used to and often don’t check Twitter/Instagram more than once a day at weekends (so if Twitter dramz go down over the weekend I’m even more clueless about it than usual). Maybe it’s because a big part of my job is being online, I naturally crave a break when I allow myself one. I do want to create lovely things to put out there, but when all the algorithms start working against you too…
The other problem is that it just perpetuates the issue. I don’t post something because I don’t think it is ‘good enough’ means that there’s potentially someone looking at me thinking my content/life is all glossy and perfect and then the knock-on effect begins. It basically means everyone out there gets that not-so-nice feeling of not feeling good enough. When in actual fact, the biggest joy of the internet is that everyone has their own space to share what they want, look how they want. And you know what, even any blogger posting mind-blowingly beautiful content probably has those very same feelings from time to time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we ALL feel it and it sucks. Because you know what – you are good enough, your photos might not look the same as someone else’s but that’s ok. Find your own style, push yourself to improve and don’t give up just because you’re not as good as someone else. Because I guarantee that person didn’t get so good by giving up when they saw someone else do something better than them. And yes, this is basically my own little personal pep talk. But hopefully it will be one of those cases where if I’m a little honest about how I (often) don’t feel good enough, it might make someone else feel that little less inadequate too. Which then will hopefully mean we can all get on with creating content and sharing things we’re proud of. Even if they don’t always look *quite* as perfect as the internet makes you feel is the norm.
I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this. Is it something you feel from time to time? How do you tend to ‘deal’ with it or is it just normal?! (Or am I being a self-indulgent moose!?)