living in a society filled with influences of social media and technology, it is starting to become easier and easier to feel pressured to be a certain person, act or look a certain way, or try to be a slightly-different version of ourselves based on what we see.  we live in a society where we are visual. it makes sense when you think about instagram continuing to expand and grow everyday, while twitter is suffering from a drop in quarterly sales.  yes, that is due to other impacting factors like the evolving instagram and Facebook partnership taking the social media channel by storm with their use of advertisements to help boost other companies that ultimately boosts their company.  twitter however, although 140 characters, demands the user to be able to read through each and every tweet with identical concentration… well, that’s how it is used in the right way.  instgram gives the ability for their 500 million monthly active users to not have to read, just “watch”.  they don’t even have to look at the photo too intensely, just enough to reach a conclusion in the mind then move on.

being a visual person has its positives and benefits.  i know that the idea of sitting down and reading a book is foreign to some, or others may even consider their reading time be scrolling through those 140 character tweets.  or different, short articles that catch their eye on Facebook.  or statuses that are pro-Trump/anti-Clinton/anti-Trump/pro-Clinton.  that is sufficient though, right….?

it also means you are much more aware of your surroundings.  this, like anything, can also have its positives and benefits.  unfortunately, we tend to sculpt who we are, what we want to do, and how we want to do it to replicate those perfect lives we see all over our phone screens.  not only are we pressured into striving to look a certain way, but also being a certain person in so many other aspects of our daily lives.  being in college can be pretty dang tough, you are surrounded by so many girls who are all so beautiful in their own, unique way that you constantly ask yourself “what can i do to be more like them?”  it’s as if you want to take characteristics of all the people you meet and combine them to make who you want to be. but why?

why do we feel compelled to think that?  why is it that we, no matter what age or gender, find it so hard to see those beautiful things about ourselves?  partly because there is a lack of ability to compliment each other.  and i’m not talking about those instagram comments that i am so guilty of… “you are so pretty”/”can i be you”/”i’m obsessed with you” (although anyone that has an social media knows how rewarding a sought-after comment is on your photos).  it’s the sincere, genuine compliments that come out of nowhere.  they don’t have to be weird and intense and awkward to give/listen to.  when natalie and i were in chicago taking pictures in the skydeck, as we’re looking at them she just says “jenna you are so good at smiling!”.  that wasn’t weird to hear, and it wasn’t weird for her to say.  but, it was the greatest thing anyone had ever said to me.  she didn’t have to say that.  she could have just thought it, then carried on with the day.  but it’s actions like that that are starting to become rare, because why speak it if we can just comment it… right?

we see others so much easier than we see ourselves.  we rely on a mirror and pictures to see a somewhat-accurate representation of what we look like.  it is much more humbling to hear someone say something nice about you to your face, rather than through a comment.  so do just that.  if you like how your roommate did her makeup, tell them.  if you like someone’s outfit, tell them.  if you notice one of your friends got a hair cut and it looks great, tell them.  (and maybe go comment because they mean more than likes anyways)

however, our visual tendencies to take in what we see is not all about our physical looks.  we want people to see the best version of ourselves over social media, which is not a bad thing either.  but why do we want to show people us when it’s 2 pm on a sunday, we’re still wearing the clothes we slept in, and you may or may not have showered at the start of the day.  why do we not want to take pictures of the food that doesn’t look as visually appealing, when we can do that when we get that good pretty food that you end up posting mid-meal.  why do we not want to tell others about the job that you interviewed for and did not get, when you can tell everyone about the job you did get?  why point out the bad, when you can override it with the good?

with that being said, don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed because your life does not seem as adventurous, incredible, unique, or fun as someone else’s.  don’t feel the urge to have to act as if you are a certain person because of what you’re surrounded by.  the coolest people i know are all polar opposite from each other, and that’s because they are all so interesting in their own, separate ways.  how boring would it be if every single person was exactly like each other?  if we all had the same experiences or looked the same way?  what stories would we share with each other at the end of the day?  what day-making compliments could we give each other?   there would be no fun facts.  there would be no small quirks.  there would be no eye-opening conversations or experiences that stick with us as we go about each day.

embrace the odd-ness.  appreciate the differences.  pay attention to yourself and what makes you happy… fulfilled… alive… and go live.  as your own person.  not a combination of everyone else.

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