Social media and our imperfect lives.

Reflections on life.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram or Facebook and gazed wistfully at the exquisite images people share, and wished secretly those were yours, that, that was your Life, your story? Come on, you can tell me. I won’t judge you, I promise.  I, too, have felt that way, to be frank. Yes, I did!  I am human.

Thankfully, though, those were fleeting moments and I returned to my world, my Life, and sent a “Thank you” heavenwards for whatever I had received–good, bad, ugly. For it may have been the ‘good’ that filled my life with joy, but it was the ‘ugly’ that taught me precious lessons, helped me grow as a person and realize the true meaning of Life!

So, yes, all of us do wish–knowingly or unknowingly, at some time or the other, when Life is full of shit–that our Life was like the others’ picture perfect.  But, when we do so, hardly ever do we dwell on the fact that Life is never picture perfect. Life, as in Real Life, is not what we see in those pictures people share. It is the ‘filters’ in our phones that make it perfect, for the world to gawk at and covet.

Real-life is something that most of us seldom share with the world. Real-life is just different; it’s all about stuff going wrong, family feuds, marriages collapsing, illnesses, loss of a job, misbehaved kids and utter chaos. Real Life is bad hair days with grumpy moods and tearful eyes, all behind closed doors.

Real-life is burnt food, spoilt drawings, poor writing, evil thoughts and ugly brawls with loved ones. Something almost none of us share about on social media, or in our blogs. That won’t get us any Likes, will it? On the contrary, that will expose the ugly underbelly of the world we live in, so it’s a best-kept secret!

A couple of months back, I shared a post on hubby’s bipolar episode on my blog. The outpouring of love and respect I received for having shared such personal matter in public made me wish I hadn’t shared it, at all! That was really not what I wanted. People wondered how I could share such details of my life so “boldly”. They gushed about how “brave” I was to write about a dear one’s illness for the world to read about.

The thought that came to my mind as I read all the comments was, I shared the story because that was Life! There are so many others battling the illness and living in despair over all that goes wrong, but with no one to talk to, or lend a shoulder to cry on. I know, because, once upon a time, I used to be that person, hiding the facts of my life from friends and family, and at the same time craving to hear a story similar to mine, craving to feel less left-out.

I feel, it is only because we fear to share our truth with the world, that the images we see on the screen and the stories we hear of others leave us wincing, discontented with what we have been dealt with. Don’t you think?

Each one of us on this planet has been handed a life that is way different than the others, but at the same time, a lot similar than we care to know. Each one of us is sailing in the same leaky, shaky boat that threatens to capsize and sink to the bottom if we were to lose control even for a second. But, rarely do we admit the condition of our boat to the others.

Do you know what that results in? A deep and haunting fear that our Life is imperfect, full of shit, while those others out there, have been gifted the best kind of lives, ever. The kind of depression that gives rise to, can be tough to push out of our system, leaving us disturbed and tortured.

Why not put an end to it all? Why not accept that, yes, our Life is not what you see in these pictures on social media, neither are our stories the “happy stories” we talk about. Why not also share some of the imperfect moments of our life with the world? No, not to gain sympathy, or applause for having handled it all with elan, but so that someone out there suffering from misery at seeing all the so-called “happiness” around, would feel less miserable.

So that there would be lesser sad souls around cursing their fates and wishing for better ones. So that there would be lesser discontentment and more understanding within people’s hearts. And, so that there would be more of love and care and less of hatred and disgust.

We all are a little broken from within. Let’s show our scars, too, once in a while. It will only make us more human, don’t you think?

What do you think? Can you share your imperfect moments with the world so that someone out there felt less lonely?

Do share your thoughts with me. Feel free!



How frank are we while sharing our lives on social media?



Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

41 thoughts on “Social media and our imperfect lives.

  1. Honestly I am at a loss of words. Really don’t know where to begin. I love the honesty with which you wrote this post. Well, your USP is your honesty. If you call me the most humorous I call you the most honest blogger in this blogging world and also the most courageous. It takes immense courage to bare your inner thoughts and you always do it with integrity.
    I agree, even I get disturbed by posts on social media where people show how perfect their life is and I plunge into depression thinking that it is only me who has a shitty life. I am actually started unfollowing few “perfect” people because their perfect life increases my stress. Everybody wants to show their life is perfect whereas Deep down all of us are suffering in our own unique way. We do not talk about it and try to hide under the carpet.
    On a different note I myself feel that writing about Pain is often cathartic.. I sincerely need the courage to publish those letters where I have written about my pain. You are my encouragement..maybe I should also come out of the closet and bare my soul to the world..and as you said not for sympathy but to provide support to another person who is suffering. Love and hugs💓💓💓💓💓💓💓

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of all, thank you, B! That’s one of the best compliments I have received! At times, though, I do wonder if being so honest about certain facts of life is right, especially on a public platform. But, then, this is my blog, my space and I can say whatever I wish to here.
      True, we all are going through shit, but it does get too much to bear when we see some perfect pictures people share ALL THE TIME! That is what gets to me. I don’t mean that people shouldn’t share their joys with the world. But, once in a while, why not show your scars, your “reality”. There are many desperate souls who could do with the consolation that those who apparently have brilliant lives also suffer. We know we all do, but the stream of perfect pictures can get too much to bear, at times.
      I think you must publish those letters you mentioned. I would like to read those, for sure. I know how truthfully you write, too, B!


  2. Dear Shilpa people commiserate with you during unhappy times because they empathise with you not because they pity you. And yes I would put up posts on my unhappy and miserable life because people in some strange way rejoice in others’ misery .
    Of course life is unhappy but who wants the world to know ? We only share our happy moments which is why a Facebook life is not a real life and one would be foolish to imagine that sun, sand, music and happy times are all that a person enjoys all year long .
    Accept FB posts for what they are – just an update of a person’s life .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Sunita, that FB life is not real life. But, today, with social media being such a major part of our lives, and with so many people literally surviving on social media, it might help sharing your bad hair days, too. Our generation knows what real life is all about. But, i feel, it’s the younger generation who really go through turmoil when they see the constant stream of happy, beach pictures some people share. It can really harm their morale big time!


  3. So glad you wrote about this Shilpa. As you rightly said very few would dare to share the dark side of their lives. I recall I once wrote about my marriage and not the mushy part about being in love but how cracks had begun to appear post a baby coming into our life. I wrote about our long distance marriage and the next I knew is someone is taking screenshots and sharing it on whastapp . My husband rarely reads my blogs but someone thought its important to let him know. It dint make me flinch though I chose to ignore it. Its like people thrive on others miseries. I shared it as it was .a slice of my life and with the good I also wanted to share the bad parts so that people in relationships know that there are right days as well. But that has not deterred me from sharing my life on my blog – the good bad and ugly as well for I can write best about my own journey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, Akshata. There are people who thrive on other people’s miseries. It really put me off reading what someone did with your post.What joy do they get in doing so? Don’t they have their own share of sadness, too?
      Are we being hypocritical by sharing only the perfect lives that we apparently lead? What do we wish to prove by doing so? And, if we do share a few slice of life realities, then does that make us less worthy in some way? I wonder.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Akshata! And, also your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post. It always helps to share the distressing days. But, personally, I find it difficult to write personal posts. It is similar to the many political views I have, but do not want to put it online. This is not just in my blog, but all over social media. With employers seeking our data online, and God knows what creep is reading our information, I try to keep my views away from social media. But, what you have shared is about an illness. Though it is personal for you, it helps to share and understand from others how to handle this. It may be of help to someone, somewhere. I remember reading Shailaja’s post on mental illness. It freed me of worrying about people’s biases. It was a post which created awareness. I guess such topics are useful. People writing posts cribbing about their lives, in-laws, husbands are really put-offs for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True, Lata. Grumbling about hubby or in-law issues can be off-putting. But, sharing about an illness, is I believe, something that can give someone strength to go through their own stressful situation. I remember wondering why it was just I who had to go through such enormous stress. It was only after reading about how others suffered from the illness that I felt that I was not alone. Not that i wasn’t aware of it earlier, but it’s only after you read a real story by a real person you might know, that the feeling of depression and loneliness dissipates.


  5. I just wrote a post about a side of my life that I do not like talking about at all. After reading your post, I’m happy I wrote about it 🙂

    Social Media is very superficial and glossy these days. No body talks about the troubles, the scars, the agony that comes with life. If we shared our imperfect moments, there will be a lot more love in this world and very less competition.

    Loved this post, Shilpa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You used the perfect words, Soumya–superficial and glossy. That’s what the social media has done to most of us and our lives. Life is not what we see in the pictures. It is what happens behind the camera. And, that is what we should share sometimes. It will make us more human, I feel.
      I read your post and am glad you shared it!


  6. This post prods me to think deeply. I have looked at the vacation photographs of ladies – perfectly dressed with perfect make-up and smiling happy looking faces and have wondered why don’t my photographs look like this or why do I not look smiling or happy in them or generally. I wrote about it in one of the posts and made peace with the fact I am not stylish, have no interest in clothes or make up and am basically a serious person. The realisation also happened that outstation trips tire me out instead of rejuvenating. I have always kept my timeline authentic with my baking disasters photos and updates. I suck at baking and cooking. A few years ago, I was a mess and reading blogs of women sharing their real life stories of struggles with motherhood and relationships kept me going. I wrote my own in 2-3 posts and my reason was same. I didn’t want sympathy but a vent to tell my story. Writing also cleared my head.
    You know why I love you is because you have the knack to be utterly honest which is not so common in the blogging world around me. You did not agree with people calling you brave when you shared your journey as care giver to a person with mental health but I have to emphasize you were and are courageous to overcome your vulnerability in writing the 2 posts. Ask me I feel vulnerable every Monday sharing my musings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know, the thoughts that go through your mind when you see others’ vacation pictures is precisely the reason I wrote this post. I know people who feel their heart break each time they see pictures posted by others of their happy moments. They may not admit to it in as many words, but in words they may not use they express their displeasure at their lives not turning out as right as those of the others. Agreed that social media is all a load of rubbish and nothing distinctly realistic, but today the world revolves around the social media and the perfect pictures others share could so horribly hurt sentiments of people who are going through really bad phases! My heart goes out to those youngsters, especially, who suffer from pangs of jealousy and an inferiority complex when they see the ‘really beautiful lives’ others seem to be living.
      “They have got everything going for them!” is the thought that must taunt them from within.


  7. Coincidentally, last two posts on my blog are my account of imperfect life! I did feel hesitant and had a doubt as to how will it be received? Have invited more trouble was my basic concern. However, the calmness that prevailed after pouring my heart, was worth writing about it.
    Life is imperfect and I still love it because by accepting it as it is, I am more positive in approaching it as challenge rather than a hurdle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too wondered if I had done the right thing each time I shared a piece of my life on my blog. But, it does feel cathartic unburdening your worries on your blog. No, not for the empathy or the sympathy, but just to be able to share your troubles with someone who understands and offers us some relief from our stress-that ‘someone’ being our blog!


  8. I started writing because I knew no other way to cope up with my mother’s sudden demise. All the initial posts were personal. Then I did reviews, parenting but it is only recently that I realized that I love doing fiction inspired by real life situations and non fiction on my personal journey the most. So I have learnt to be at peace with my imperfect self. But it took me a long time. Thank you for writing this extremely important piece. A lot of us really need to understand that life’s perfect only in FB/IG /Twitter because people share only those moments that are great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was precisely for the same reason that i too began blogging. To write about my worries, my stress and my fear and loneliness. It does feel good unloading your stress on your blog–it is your space, after all! And, today, with countless blogs and bloggers of all niches sharing their stories, it does feel a little less lonely when you look at your troubles, isn’t it? After I read a few posts by people who were also caregivers for mental illness patients, I really felt a weight lifted off my chest. Not that I hadn’t read about it in magazines, but on a blog, people tend to write from the bottom of their heart. The no-holds-barred kind of writing that really gives us a peek into other’s lives. It does feel less lonely now.


    1. Thank you for those very words, Kalpana. We really don’t need those Pinterest -worthy pictures ! We so need real, authentic pictures and stories that will not make us feel left out, or as if we are doing things all wrong. True, there are women who only share about their perfect-mommy moments, as if they have their act all right. But, that is not what mommyhood is all about, is it? Why not share your trials and tribulations, as authentically as you can? It will really not spoil your image. Instead it will make you feel real!
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Kalpana!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely Shilpa. By being real we are indirectly letting many countless readers feel okay with the “normal” messiness, joy and simple pleasures and pressures of everyday life. Let’s stop making things like they exist in fairytales and paint a much needed real picture.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes. We are all broken inside but often masquerade it with happy travel Kodak moments, Shilpa. I respect your courage for sharing boldly on moments of tribulations in life, something which yours truly cannot do. Trust me, the current life is not a bed of roses with what ifs, reluctance to open my vulnerability plaguing me. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vishal, I don’t think anybody is living a life that is a bed of roses. On the contrary, it is a life that stinks, at times! 😛 Sharing about our personal battles is each one’s choice. I shared mine for the reason that I wanted to reach out to others who might be going through what I did..I wanted to reach out to myself, really! Simply speaking out loud about it made me feel better, less lonely and a lot relieved. I only hope that people don’t take it wrongly, or misconstrue my words.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hmm. There’s a tricky line here. One, yes, we should share our imperfect moments and I personally don’t shy away from doing so, especially on the blog or social media because being authentic is everything.

    Two, when people react that way to your post on your husband’s condition I don’t think it’s due to anything other than a form of empathy. Or their way of reaching out. Nuance is sadly lacking in online communication and it’s nobody’s fault really. The medium doesn’t give rise to depth.

    That said, I feel that, social media users know that a whole LOT of negativity or imperfect moments can also cause the opposite effect for some people who come online just to escape the humdrum of reality. For instance nowadays I come online to read a few useful articles, engage with a few close friends and don’t read any negative news. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about the things that go wrong. It’s a question of finding the balance. Yes, be happy. Be kind. Be honest about your day going bad. All of it. That’s healthy. 🙂

    Also, sometimes, a blog comment does not give rise or scope to detailed discussions. Sometimes, these are better done in person or over a call.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, Shailaja. I know that people were only trying to empathise with me, my situation. But, its just that too much of it made me feel guilty for having shared it all. During the time things were going wrong, I would surf through Instagram, or FB, and seeing some of the “very happy happy” pictures made me cringe. I know it is wrong on my part to assume things are rosy in others’ lives and compare my life with theirs. But, those were the times I wanted to read people’s accounts of how they too had been through something tragic and come out of it, battled it out. I needed that support–wrong place to look for it, I agree. But, the social media is where we hang out these days!

      Yeah, sharing stuff with close friends over telephone calls is better, no doubt, but , I simply wanted to share my story to relieve myself, and to help someone out there feel–as I said–a less lonelier. I remember how lonely I used to feel long ago, when it all was new to me and I felt all lost and hopeless.


  11. Very honest post, Shilpa. Rightly said, not everyone can write and share the dark side of their lives. And honestly, I don’t trust what I see on social media anymore. Its wannabe life ppl portray there. I started writing while coping up my father’s loss so many posts are personal and about not so rosy life but that’s how I am and that’s the purpose of my writing. I write for peace as venting out is the best catharsis for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is indeed cathartic, Vartika, basically the reason I shared my story on my blog. And, you are so right…the life people share on social media is the kind of life they wish to live, but can never.
      If someone shares their story, their real story, it actually makes them more human, isn’t it? ANd, that is what we all want to read and see–real humans , real lives…for fantasy we can always turn to movies!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I truly believe that in this thing called life, everyone has a different question paper. No two answers are same and for everyone different questions are simple or hard. And no one has a smooth sailing, ever. So while people may share their perfect moments on social media, imperfections are there in their lives too. What we prefer to share is our choice. I have seen both the positive and flip side of sharing of imperfect stories on social media. So it’s a bit tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just my thoughts, Shilpa. What we share on social media is definitely our choice, but I have seen the kind of adverse effects those goody-goody pictures can have on troubled souls. That’s the reason I said, that we can share what we wish, but once in a while, why not share or talk about our bad hair days? It will only make someone feel less miserable. But, then, there is this fear of some sick minds that could ruin it all with their rude comments, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Loved your post Shilpa. This one has become one of my favorite.
    Coming to your question – social media like they say is instant gratification. People seek that out and talk about happy stuff. Now there could be two reasons for not sharing imperfect moments – one, sadness that one may be avoiding and two, mostly it’s too much information out in the open. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone. I speak to my people when those imperfect moments hit me. I don’t want sympathy and others could be too superficial. Yes, I am assuming but to those who I call friends – I wouldn’t use social media to let them know.
    I connected with you earlier post. A (very) close relative is schizophrenic in my family. I have never shared about her because I don’t want to hurt those who trusted me with her information. I am there for her and may be I will write about her and how her parents manage her when the time comes. But now, all she needs is our love and care.

    So I know, I did not answer your question but gave you my two cents. Lovely post, Shilpa! Made me think and type at 9:34PM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Parul! True, we can share about our troubled moments with our dear friends, over telephone calls, but I shared mine to let people know about the illness, that there are people going through it all and also coming out of it all with time. I only shared because I remembered how lonely and miserable I have felt all those years ago, when I first discovered about hubby’s illness and MIL’s illness. I had nothing to reassure me that such things happen, or how to deal with it all! Reading real life stories of people dealing with these illnesses and handling the situation could have definitely given me some strength.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree with you that we should be okay to share our imperfections. It’s why my blog was previously called Living my Imperfect Life because life isn’t perfect and I’m not perfect. Having said that, I notice now, I don’t blog or share much about some of the stuff that’s happened recently in my life and I think that’s partly because it involved some other people. I am still okay with sharing my own anxieties and mood issues {and was open about my own depression a few years ago} but I think I share more about my imperfections in face-to-face interactions.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. lovely post shilpa…yes I feel there is this phase in everyone’s life when we wish those pics on Insta and FB to be ours because Humans love to fantasise. We tend to forget the fact that just like we don’t share our bad phase on SM, others also don’t. Why lie…I have been there and done that too!!. But then finally realised and decided that would let these posts rule over my head ..As far as sharing the not so rosy things is concerned I would still prefer to share it with my close friends over a phone call or a chat rather than sharing on SM. #Justsayingit . Everyone can have their own opinion about this..

    Liked by 1 person

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