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Am I "In-Authentic" If I Don't Share My Struggles on Social Media?

“Your life looks so great - I’m so happy for you!”. *Heart sink*.

Am I a fake?, How inauthentic am I?, God, I’m so problematic”.

You see, I’ve somewhat shared on how life’s been a bit shit recently, but I’ve kept the details of why close to me and I’ve continued to show snippets of life, seemingly as though “nothing is wrong”. At times, I’ve wondered if this makes me a bad person. Do I owe others my struggle as much as I do the good? Am I fake if I don’t share the endless tears I’ve shed the past few weeks? Do I become unrelatable if my life looks like it’s really bloody good? Am I doing a disservice to my human experience if I only share the highlight reel of it?

I’ve shared a lot of my life online in the past.

Previously, I’ve uploaded crying pictures, told the intimate details of my situations and continually tried to take myself off of any kind of pedestal that the highlight reel of social media seems to put people on with “real-life realities”. Just recently, I shared that my beloved four-legged bestie passed away and how much I was struggling with it. When the well-wishes flooded in I found mild comfort, but it was also met with a whole lot of anger arising through the lens of “you have no idea”. People were telling me how sad it was and how awful I must feel, but the truth was that my dog passing was the tip of the iceberg to an absolutely horrendous month…. none of which I wanted to share online.

I have absolutely no desire for people on social media to know the intimate details of my life. Firstly, because a large majority of the people don’t actually know me and therefore would have no idea how/why a situation had impacted me the way it had (unlike my close friends who knew without me needing to say a word). Secondly, whilst I’m an open and honest person, I also really value my privacy and am particularly fussy with whom I choose to trust. Thirdly, the construction of social media feels like a wildly unnatural place to articulate things I struggle to make sense of. Trying to capture feelings that feel so primal and raw in a box is something I truly have no desire to do.

Does it matter if I don’t share?

We see the word “authenticity” thrown about in the online space all the time… so much so that I instantly felt like a total fraud for not sharing the intimate details of my struggles. The subliminal message whispers: if you share the good without the bad, then you are problematic and fake. And yet, when I really sit with this, to try and capture those moments when I’m crying on my kitchen floor unable to get up, facing my biggest fears in life head on or experiencing a true rollercoaster where I feel different in each and every moment, capturing that would actually have felt really inauthentic. The last thing I wanted to do was get my camera out, or construct a social share on what I’d been experiencing and to do so in the name of authenticity would have been paradoxical.

If you’ve followed any of my work, you’ll know I studied online identities in depth and hold the belief that no one is truly authentic online. There is tons of research to suggest that we use social media to validate the parts of ourselves that don’t feel are validated in real life and the construction of it can never really mirror reality. When I see things through this lens I realise that I was being hugely validated in my struggle during this time by incredible circle of friends/family, but I had very little outlet for joy. What I wanted was a place to share those small moments of happiness that felt almost impossible during a really tough time… and social media was that space for me.

Do we have to share it all?

To me, authenticity is being true to yourself. It’s about showing up in a way that is genuine and transparent… and at no point does that mean having to divulge everything you are experiencing and exactly how you are feeling in each moment. As soon as I received that “your life looks so great message” I replied saying that things had been a little rough recently, but I didn’t feel like sharing any of those intimate details online. I didn’t lie and say “Oh yeah, life’s epic!!!”, but I also didn’t go against my values/needs just to be more relatable to someone I don’t even know.

And as with everything, it’s a balance. At times, I’ve seen even close friends of mine share in a way that is a total contradiction to their true reality and honestly, found it a little icky. To create a false narrative/reality in order to portray a particular image is definitely felt energetically and it’s unlikely to do you any favours. But, on the other end of the scale, neither is forcing yourself to share so you “seem” authentic. The very premise of authenticity is natural, so if sharing your darkest moments doesn’t feel flow for you, it truly isn’t necessary.

I’d love to know more about your thoughts on this! Please come and start a chat over here:


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