• isabeltansey


I was scrolling Insta the other day and found myself in a perfect storm of self-doubt. I found people with my dream life. I wanted to look like them. I wanted their clothes. I wanted their job. I wanted to have their morning coffee in their perfectly lit apartment with their adorable dog. Oddly enough, this isn’t a rare occurrence. Almost every time I get on social media I find someone I’d rather be. I know that sounds extreme, but I think a lot of people can agree with me on this one. Sometimes I’m just being inspired. To work out more. To eat healthier. To chase my dreams. But wanting someone else’s life is not healthy.

Social media is powerful. And it’s honestly amazing. We live in a world where access to endless knowledge is at our fingertips. We can connect with people around the globe, like never before. Ironically, the thing that’s supposed to make us feel connected can also be really isolating. I've always loved digital communication and creating content. But it's important to recognize the real you.

Our generation has two versions of ourselves, one portrayed online and one as our real, messy selves. We tend to hide that self. The self that wakes up with acne and bags under her (or his) eyes. The angry self. The anxious self. The scared self. The self that doesn’t look so good on Instagram. We have begun to carefully curate an identity that exaggerates some qualities and completely represses others. We share highlight reels, showing only the best and most enviable moments while concealing the struggles. What we do well is brunch. We skydive. We stare at sunsets. We drink cute cocktails. We travel - a lot. We live exotically and without fear. These are beautiful lives. They’re vibrant and exciting. They’re unblemished. But they’re not real.

We repress our faults, and deny our capacity to change. We forget that it’s our flawed human self who creates, and loves, and forgives. This feeling of love and belonging will be much greater than anything you can find in the virtual world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the moments that make us who we are. They weren’t easily captured. They weren’t the photoshoots, or the perfect boomerang cheers. They were the moments that broke us down a bit. They were the moments shared with the people we love most. The ones where we accepted that we were good enough just the way we are.

I’d like you to appreciate the moments of yourself that you don’t put online. Stick up for those parts. Of your mundane, booking-reading and thought having self that can’t be captured in a picture. Of the puffy eyes and sleep deprivation. The self that spent an entire day writing a paper. The self that does dishes, and cries. The self that questions their self-worth, and feels emotionally drained. The self that misses someone they lost. The self that doesn’t feel like they belong. The self that struggles with mental illness. Because that’s the one you should show up for and be kind to. Kindness always reminds us that we're more similar than we are different.

I truly believe everything significant in your life will be done with your real self, not the one you share virtually. It’ll be the small, quiet moments. It’ll be dancing in the kitchen. It’ll be creating something beautiful or learning something new. It’ll be forgiving yourself. Growth will creep in and crack you open from the inside. And you’ll wake up one day and realize that happiness wasn’t going to be something you find – but something you become.

Check in with your real self, and thank her (or him) for getting you where you are today. Appreciate the messy you – and stop trying to edit the real one out of existence. Because we’re all a little messy.

- Iz

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