We’ve all done it before – you reluctantly hit the follow button and begin scrolling through the pictures of some blogger or celebrity, thinking of every insult you can as you look at their lavish pictures. Thoughts start running through your head, “How is her life so much better than mine? What did she do to deserve this?” And quickly, our jealousy turns into hate, but for some reason, we can’t stop ourselves from continuing to scroll through their feeds. This, my friends, is hate following.
I’m not innocent here, I have hate followed many “Instagram famous” women. Just like many of you, I’ve spent hours going through their feeds, seething with irritation as I wonder what they could have possibly done to deserve their success, tearing them down with every new picture I pass. However, after every time I’ve done this, I don’t feel any better about myself – in fact, I feel much, much worse.
With social media, the line between a friend and a stranger has blurred, making us take someone’s social media as a testament to their entire lives, causing us to behave as if we truly know them. But here’s a reality check: we don’t. Think about your own social media: what do you post? Do you post about the hard times or do you highlight your best moments?
Bloggers and celebrities are humans just like us; they want the world to see the good. None of us want to show our weaknesses and none of us want to show when we are down, so we post the best of the best. So, when you’re scrolling through someone’s feed, hating on every beautiful, happy picture, you’re only getting a part of the story. No one’s life is perfect, no matter how much we want to believe it is. There is always another layer you don’t know about, and that’s because you don’t know that person. It’s just that simple.
Not only do we assume that we know everything about a person, but often times, as we hate-scroll through someone’s social feed, we start rationalizing that their success didn’t come from their own work. Unlike ourselves, we see them as being handed their opportunities while we sit on the sidelines, working our butts off to achieve a fraction of their success. This, just like our disillusion about knowing everything about their lives, is not reality. In diminishing another woman’s success, attributing it to some external factor, we start falling into a dangerous trap. More likely than not, whoever you’re hate following did work hard to get there, and pretending they didn’t devalues their success. Successful women shouldn’t be torn down, but instead, we should look to their success and use it as an inspiration – not as a threat. Tearing down another woman for her success is no way to achieve your own. Instead, channel the time and energy you’ve spent hate-stalking towards your own goals and look to the already prospering women as inspiration.
At the end of the day, there is always going to be someone who has more than you. Instead of spending your time holed up in your room hating on everything bloggers and celebrities post online, channel that energy into something good that will help you achieve your own dreams. Then, maybe one day, you’ll be that person someone else looks to as inspiration.