Updated: May 8, 2022
Do you force yourself to appear happy on the outside, but feel a lingering sadness deep down inside of you?
Do you often find yourself wondering: shouldn’t my life be happier than this?
Well if you do, you’re not alone.
Social media tells us that everyone else is doing it right—that the people we follow whose lives we dream of living just have or know something that we don't.
They had more opportunities, better genetics, self-restraint, discipline, and motivation. We all want so badly to have what they have. I mean, who doesn’t want to live their best life traveling the world with a perfect body, happy relationship, and an overflowing bank account?
These people just look so carefree.
Without question, we conclude that none of them have this lingering feeling of sadness every day and that we just have to strive be like them to get rid of it. We believe that the solution is to do more, buy more, and be more than we are.
This is the consumer culture that we live in. It reminds us everyday that who we are and what we have is not enough. Like many of you, I became wrapped up in this culture early in life. The birth of Instagram left my young mind constantly exposed to this illusion that I need to change who I am.
This feeling of not being good enough caused me so much pain that I was unable to see myself clearly. It had me all on a hamster wheel chasing towards goals so tirelessly that it took the joy out of my life.
I talk like this happened years and years ago, but the truth is that one day, a little less than a year ago, I decided to ask myself a question:
If I didn’t have anything to prove to anyone, how would my life change?
If no one was watching, judging, or comparing- what would I truly want?
To stop battling with myself every day. To find moments of happiness, but not expect myself to be in that space all of the time. To focus on truly making an impact rather than stressing about maintaining an image of being impactful. To be the real me rather than constantly obsessing over being perfect.
Consumer culture has made me feel 100 steps behind in life at all times.
Every day I have to protect myself from going down a rabbit hole on social media because I know how easily it can alter my inner peace. For instance, one day I woke up feeling great about my business. I have a steady client base, an income stream from something I built all on my own, and I’m making a meaningful difference in other people's lives. Then, I start scrolling on Instagram. All of the other life & business coaches I follow for “motivation” are talking about how to make $20,000 in a month. They are talking about how they have an email list of over 1,000 people. They are posting valuable content every single day and are reaching 200,000 people on each post. Suddenly, I forget to be grateful and my mind is clouded. An old belief from my childhood pops into my head:
“Micaela, you are not enough. You are still 10 steps behind from where you need to be. Work harder. Stop getting distracted. You don’t deserve a break. You need to be doing more.”
I’m sharing this because I know my social media doesn’t show this side of me.
It doesn’t show the financial stress that comes from being an entrepreneur.
It doesn’t show the ups and downs of my eating disorder recovery.
It doesn’t show the clients I’ve been rejected by because they decided that I wasn’t a good fit to help then.
& It certainly doesn’t show the self-doubt and sadness I feel so often.
My profile doesn’t show 90% of the struggles I have on a daily basis, and to be honest, I’m tired of hiding it.
I always post about my eating disorder recovery, sharing helpful information and ways to heal your relationship with your body, but I still end up in a downward spiral when I catch myself at a bad angle, when I’m bloated, or when I feel like I’ve eaten way too much.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and still wonder why I have to work so hard to still not have a body even close to as “perfect” as some of the Instagram models I follow.
The bright side of this is that I am f*cking relentless in navigating my path to acceptance. Not the bullshit “eternal happiness” I was chasing before.
Feeling negative, upset, angry, frustrated, hurt, and unhappy IS NORMAL. It is part of being human. No one, and I mean no one, feels happy every second of every day—not even the Instagram model you follow who is living “your dream life.”
The sooner you are able to accept yourself for who you are, deep sadness and all, the happier you will become. Yes, you will still have bad days. BUT instead of feeling like there is something wrong with you for being so sad, you will be able to accept it and know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you for being sad. Your sadness leads to your strength. Your sadness is a beautiful, vulnerable part of you that deserves your love and attention.
No one is happy all of the time. No one looks perfect all of the time. When you stop focusing all of your energy on trying to maintain that image, you will step more fully into your real passions, your real purpose, and you will help other people accept parts of themselves that they have been at war with for years.
Strive for authenticity - not perfection.