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The lies social media tell us about success

If social media has you thinking your achievements aren’t enough; it’s time to think again...

By Bethany Robson

Social media is an ever-present force of influence in our day-to-day lives and we know the sometimes-ominous effects it can have on our self-worth and body image.

As my graduation fast-approaches, I am now being faced with a new kind of challenge; feeling left-behind. On my social media feeds, I see a lot of people my age buying homes, getting married, and having babies. When you’re still living with your mam in the would-be walk-in-wardrobe with no job lined up… well, it can feel really daunting and scary!

Taking a quick look at social media it’s not hard to see why this pressure to keep up is so prevalent in our online culture. There are posts galore glamorising ‘hustle culture’ and working yourself to the bone to achieve a kind of success very few are able to do. When we don’t achieve, say the success of a well-known Instagram influencer of a similar age, we are left feeling disheartened and wondering what we could’ve done better. On a more personal level, we look at our friends buying houses and getting amazing graduate jobs and feel that somewhere along the line something must have gone wrong. The reality is, however, that success isn’t a linear thing; there is no one guidebook telling you how to do it, and there’s a reason for that.

This is, of course, something that affects people of every age group; comparing houses, relationships, kids, jobs etc. The list of comparable things we see on social media is endless, but it’s very important to keep in mind that what we see isn’t always the full story. For example, for months I applied to internships and jobs and didn’t even get an interview, and then eventually I got an internship after almost giving up on the whole idea altogether. My friends hadn’t seen the grafting and hours each day drafting up applications, but they did see the success at the end of it. That’s exactly what social media does; it shows our achievements but seldom our failures.

If you’ve found yourself in a position like me where you’re questioning your future or something in your life in comparison with others, I implore you to take a look at some of the many famous people whose success didn’t follow the ‘normal’ timeline. Alan Rickman, for example, didn’t get his break-out role in ‘Die Hard’ until he was 42, and Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a TV anchor. Without these setbacks, these failures if you will, none of their subsequent successes would’ve come to fruition. So, with this being said, it’s high time we stop comparing our lives to others! If I’ve learnt anything from my experiences, and those of people around me, it’s that your time will come, even if it doesn’t feel like it!

About the Author

 

Bethany is a recent communications and media masters graduate from Newcastle University, and a part-time lifestyle freelancer. A loud and proud Geordie, during her time at the University’s student newspaper (The Courier) she shared her love of the North East with the masses as part of her job as a Travel Editor. In her spare time, Bethany lives a very wild life; dreaming of trawling the countryside, reading books about British wildlife, and watching farming documentaries! If she’s not at home in her comfies, Bethany loves helping out at her local stables and she can often be found wherever there are horses or dogs.

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