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The Struggle to Stay Authentic On Social Media

Let's take social media back to it's core: sharing your life, as it's happening, with all the mess and beauty that comes along with it.
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Young woman using smartphone in cafe,mid section
Young woman using smartphone in cafe,mid section

Filters.

Most of social media can be summed up in that one word. While many of us try to find the perfect combination of contrast, brightness, fade, and blur to best show off our strategically-placed snap, the filters go far beyond choosing Mayfair over X-Pro II.

The filters start before we even decide to post. For most of us, social media is one giant filter in itself.

We try to be so careful about what we share and how we project the lives we're living. We snap those not-so-candid candids and show off all of the wonderful moments in our lives.

And I'm as guilty as the next person. Because even though I was crying most nights after work at my corporate job, struggling with so many questions and decisions, I still had plenty of fun travel photos to share. And who wants to hear about my struggles online anyways?

And then we launched Quarter for Your Crisis and quickly realized that there is so much more to each person's story. What makes someone successful or happy isn't just the accomplishments and Insta-worthy moments, it's all of the moments in between - especially the struggles.

How we push through challenges and overcome difficulties play such important roles in our personal growth, and to belittle them by not sharing those with others who may be going through the very same thing is filtering at it's worst.

Now, don't get me wrong - we all know people who share every single aspect of their lives online. We all know people who use their Facebook status' to complain about everything. That's not what I'm talking about here.

There's a power in storytelling - in sharing true, authentic testimonies about our lives.

You may not think others are having the same fears, or you may be embarrassed to be doubting where you live or what you do, but here's the thing: we have all been there.

In some way or another, your story will resonate with others. Sharing our collective human experiences is the most wonderful benefit of social media in my mind. So why stop others from understanding the true you?

As always, this is much easier to preach than practice. In my own life, I've held myself back from sharing my faith, among other things. I never wanted to come across as preachy, and my self-talk sounded a little something like: "Well what do you even know about Jesus? You're still too new to this whole Christianity thing!"

I let so many fears filter out my life.

And I realized that who I was online didn't represent the fullness of who I am. We are so much more than our Instagram filters and our face-swapped snaps. We have depth, and we are constantly growing. We are still learning about ourselves and who we are. We are making decisions, moving to new cities, making mistakes, changing our minds, and starting all over again.

And that's perfectly okay. In fact, I'm starting to believe that it's pretty normal. We don't need to have it all together at 25, and we certainly don't need to pretend that we do. Instead, let's push ourselves to risk a little vulnerability for a lot of authenticity. Let's remove some of the filters and show our lives as they really are: perfectly imperfect. Let's aim to connect and share with purpose. Let's use the power of social media to challenge ourselves and others to step into our most authentic selves.

Let's take social media back to it's core: sharing your life, as it's happening, with all the mess and beauty that comes along with it.

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This post was originally published on Quarter for Your Crisis, a community for Millennials who believe in the power of living intentionally.