Almost everyone on the planet is on social media, and if you're reading this, then you almost definitely spend some time on either Facebook or Instagram. We are bombarded with so much, constantly, day in, day out...and a lot of it doesn't necessarily 'keep it real' (whatever that means). There seems to be a constant battle of social media vs reality!
Man, does this come up a lot when you work in fitness...jeez! The amount of photoshopping, plus good use of lighting, posing, and dieting down to take ALL the pics for the year in the space of a couple of days (plus a bunch of other tricks) is mind-boggling. But the problem with this is that regular people see these photos and think this is REAL, when actually it's very VERY unlikely that the person really looks like their photos. In normal light, for most of the year, with no image editing, they look a lot more...well, normal! Sure they will still look they put effort into their nutrition and training, but they will not be walking round cut up at 5% body fat with abs popping out and muscles on muscles. It was for this reason that working in the fitness industry first helped me become truly clear on the social media vs reality phenomenon.
There have been a few in the industry who have challenged this recently and posted 'social media vs reality' photos to compare, but it is still only a tiny minority who are pushing in this direction. Check out Kortney Olson's post here, and Shannon Michelle's here and here. Most are still using these mostly-unattainable ideals to sell a cookie-cutter workout programme or diet, supplements, gym clothing, or any one of a number of other products or services. I remember seeing a quote which was along the lines of 'you will never look like the girl in the magazine, even the girl in the magazine doesn't look like the girl in the magazine', and that stands true but let's replace 'in the magazine' with 'on Instagram' to bring it up to date! We really need more people in fitness to speak out about how different social media vs reality can be.
This can also go for people faking their wealth, standing in front of massive mansions with Lambos and Rollers...all borrowed. Usually these guys are selling courses and books on how to become wealthy, or sometimes recruiting for their network marketing business, both of which I back 100% if you're doing it honestly and ethically. If you've achieved a certain level of success then lead with that, don't overblow your story to try and sell more because people ain't stupid and they will call you out. If you haven't achieved that wealth in reality, should you even be selling a course on how to get rich? Be real, if you've got a decent handle on your finances but not megabucks then lead with that, people will respect the truth much more than sensationalism and you can sell a course or a book on whatever you HAVE achieved instead. Pretty simple, but it needed to be said!
On a less promotional level, people also do this with their everyday life. They post all the amazing stuff they are getting up to, their holiday, their meals out, their fun with their partner and/or kids...but they don't post the arguments, the kids hitting each other with plastic dinosaurs and ripping up library books, the credit card debts. You know what, fair enough! Not everyone wants to share the shit stuff, and I'm one of them. I'll share struggles in a way that I think might help other people, but I'm unlikely to complain on social media in much the same way as I won't in person. This isn't to say you shouldn't, it's your platform and you can share whatever you like! But what I'm saying is that what a person posts (and what they say in real life) isn't EVER going to be a completely unabridged description of their current situation, so don't view it as such. Everyone has struggles and challenges, and just because someone doesn't share them publicly doesn't mean they are somehow dishonest or trying to portray a perfect life. It's just down to what people are comfortable sharing. This is the big difference between the earlier examples: this time there's no deliberate ploy to mislead.
The key, as always, is to shift your mindset. Adjust the paradigm through which you see the world, and understand that social media isn't real. In fact, any projection of life online or offline is not 100% real, so just accept that you will never get the full picture and instead focus on what you can do to be happier, more content, and take consistent steps towards your goals. You do you, and let everyone else do whatever they want. Of course, if you need any support, guidance and strategies on this then check out all the free stuff on the rest of my blog plus my Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or head over here to see some info about how I could help you personally.