I have recently returned from a much needed holiday on the beautiful island of Ibiza. We stayed in a wonderful hotel overlooking the sea. Underneath our balcony was a tree, standing on the edge of rocks which then dropped away down to the water below. The tree was twisted, with one gnarled branch at a height just perfect for sitting on. It didn’t take long before we noticed something….. the stream of holidaymakers taking photos of themselves sat upon this particular tree.
Each situation almost the same. Multiple poses would be struck, many worthy of a glossy magazine photo shoot. A pause for review. Resume to take more. And some more. Eventually, one photograph presumably worthy of uploading would be achieved and the theatre would cease. There’d be another pause for the upload, and off they would go…. until the next visitor to the selfie tree.
I’ve always taken a lot of photographs. For me, they are a way to capture a memory and return to it. I am especially partial to a selfie with my Other Half. But there was something about this particular holiday photography that made me uncomfortable. From the point of view of the observer, it didn’t feel like capturing a moment of happiness, but something else entirely.
The desire for picture perfection, the ‘living my best life’ depiction, filtered, photoshopped, life through the lens.
And the question occurs….. what does this mean for our wellbeing?
When what seems to matter is not our lived life but the look of it.
When it is our outer self and our representation of it that is prominent.
Seeking not to be comfortable with who we are but instead focusing on how we look externally. Judged the same way, courtesy of the ‘like’ button.
True personal wellbeing comes from within. It is beyond the superficial and the transitionary. It’s about feeling good and functioning well. Our overall satisfaction with our own lives. Being comfortable with who we are and what we have.
What we see on social media isn’t always real. Sometimes it is the 50th pose, the filtered version, an artificial construction. And this is what we must remember before we let the picture perfection influence how we feel about our own self.