I’m increasingly troubled by the impact of social media on our world and on our mental health. Whether it’s political information, sensationalized headlines, or pictures of our friends and family living the “high life” and looking like they have it all together, the truth is that most of it isn’t true. Image — not reality — has become an idol, and many are addicted to the praise, attention, and reactions of others (even if they’re negative). A story broke last year here in L.A. that certain Instagram influencers who had posted pictures of themselves on a private jet had actually paid to take those photos on a set. When they removed the plane interior backdrop, all that was really there were offices. This scenario perfectly exemplifies why this kind of image-driven attention is so fake and why striving for it is so dangerous. Many believe that if they can convince enough people that they have it all together, it somehow changes their reality. Yet the sad truth is that millions are neglecting to care for their own souls and to deal with deep things in favor of fleeting and false adoration. No one talks on social media about having fights with their spouse, having trouble paying the bills, or about battling depression or addiction, yet these struggles are part of life, and only by diving into their root causes can we ever fully experience the happiness we project to others.
My friend, you are made to go deep! Because you walk with Jesus, you can embrace a life of purpose and truth and trust that you will experience joy, despite dealing with tough stuff. Don’t be afraid to show others your weakness, and don’t be manipulated into believing that everyone else has it better than you do. Putting a “best foot forward” is default programming for people, but no one is exempt from difficulty, and those who look perfect are undoubtedly fighting their own inner battles. Take your happiness out of everyone else’s head and you can thrive, even if society falters.