We’re the Great Pretenders

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Stop pretending! I’m not just saying that to you. I’m saying that to me too. Just stop it! We are in the midst of an epidemic of obsession with faux perfection, and it is NO BUENO.

I’ve been playing the Instagram game for about a week or so now, posting a couple of times a day and really interacting with my followers and those I’m following. The pages are perfection. The quotes are uplifting. The photos are absolutely gorgeous. And the majority of what I’ve seen just doesn’t feel authentic. I keep seeing many of these accounts filled with “inspiration” that are unrealistic depictions of life. Maybe I’m in the minority here and everyone drinks green smoothies out of champagne glasses and has a picture perfect desk with nothing on it other than flowers and a pretty notecard and pen strategically placed. My desk can look like that, I bet. But it definitely doesn’t look like that on the regular. Or ever.

It feels manipulative to pretend that perfection is my standard. It is manipulative to sell a lifestyle or “brand” that doesn’t exist. When we post things that are tweaked or staged, what does that say to people following, liking, & commenting? How can we present and represent something that isn’t even real? People do. It’s fake. And I don’t think it’s good. Instagram runs on visual appeal. I get that. I’m not advocating that people post crappy, awful pictures or stop making a cohesive and beautiful page. I do think that it’s unhealthy that we, as consumers, look to Instagram for inspiration in our lives and somehow think that our lives should look like what we see on the page. Maybe the issue is more with the consumer of the perceived perfection than the display on the page. Either way, there’s a big divide between what’s authentic and what’s not. What’s so wrong in just being who we are?

Stop pretending to have a perfect home with perfect decor and perfect candles and the perfect dog in the corner next to the fireplace. Stop posting pictures of places you’ve never been and pretend that you took the photo just because it goes with your “image.” Stop pretending that your desk actually looks like that. Stop pretending that you effortlessly do 1000 squats without breaking a sweat. Stop pretending that you’re going to be able to take someone’s business from non-existent to #bosslady in 30 days or less.Stop pretending that your lips actually look like that from lip plumpers, Kylie Jenner. We know you had fillers! Stop! You are enough – just as you are.

You and your slightly messy house are not the exception. It’s the rule. Sweating like a pig when you workout is normal. Lips that get thinner each year you blow out candles on your birthday cake are just par for the aging course. It beats the alternative.

You don’t have to be something that you’re not in order to be loved, respected, or in the social media game, followed. If you have to be something different than what you are, what is the purpose? Why are you playing the game? If you’re getting likes and followers based on a false image of yourself, then the affirmation you’re receiving isn’t for you. It’s for whoever you’ve created on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. You’re better than that. And so am I. Authentic lives matter.





  1. Megan says:

    No one could have said it better… It’s something we are really struggling with as well and have yet to find the right mix. Our blog is for millennials navigating their career, finances, and general realities of life and we WANT to be 100% authentic. But how do we find pretty pictures and inspiration to represent our brand and connect with people like us?

    • Sarah says:

      I don’t think authenticity is an absolute. I think it’s something that we strive for and hope to land in the ballpark. If we work to promote ourselves in the most genuine way possible, we’re not cutting out the pretty inspiration. I love a good filter, like anyone. We’re just acknowledging that that is not all we are. I think people ultimately respond to that. There’s a lot to be said in the striving. 🙂 Love your site, btw. I was blown away! How long have you been online?

      • Megan says:

        I agree, it’s a balance. I guess just wondering how much our social profiles should represent our blog or be a separate “inspiration” world… We’ll keep striving, right along with you! And thank you sooooo much- we did our first post in October!!!

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