Opinion: The struggle with comparison


Ava Bert

Teen scrolls through social media

Ava Bert, Contributing Writer

Growing up, the media and television put so much pressure on the “high school experience.” As movies romanticized these rather stressful four years and people on social media posted the highlights of their high school life, they neglected to mention the mass amounts of stress that has come with it. The more I grew, so grew my desire for the life of my much older sisters. I wanted nothing more than to be the highly advertised, independent, and free spirited teenager seen on screen.

Despite the relatively optimistic anticipation around our teen years, once I got here, that anticipation left me feeling rather empty as I was met with a much less exciting high school experience. I found that instead of spending my Saturday nights partying, I locked myself in my room as a poor attempt of recharging my usually depleted social battery.

I’d spend countless hours scrolling on my phone mindlessly because for me, it was an escape. Ironically, the very thing I sought for comfort, was keeping me at my lowest. Although this routine made me feel almost ashamed of my life, still I sat helplessly allowing complete strangers to shove their seemingly perfect lives down my throat.

Regardless of the obvious conclusion that these were nothing more than snippets of what could truly be an unremarkable life, I found it nearly impossible not to compare it to mine. I wasn’t funny enough, not pretty enough, not happy enough. For the life of me, I could not get out of my head.

One day though, I posted a video reminiscing about my summer. My friend told me, “Ava, you have such a beautiful life.” Suddenly, it clicked.

It’s fake. Everything is fake, and I was contributing.

Despite the unhappiness I felt towards my life, to others, my life was beautiful. After what some would consider over-analyzing what she had said, I began to realize she was right.
Hardly ever do we talk about the effect that social media has on teenagers’ perception of their reality. With these videos and pictures manipulating the life of influencers, teenagers often find disappointment in both their lives, and themselves.

While it is easy to say that this is the fault of the media, we are the media. With that, comes a certain sense of responsibility. The expectations we place on ourselves, and each other are unrealistic, unmotivating, and unfair. It is up to us if we would like to change that.

In life, we face challenges, and losses, and sometimes we are forced into situations that we don’t necessarily want to be in. And although gratitude is still something I struggle with, I’ve come to understand that in order to recognize the beauty in life we must cherish the little moments we may otherwise forget.

The laughs we share with each other, the funny shapes that clouds make, or the comfort of a warm drink while the Texas heat begins to turn cold. It is these moments that we must learn to treasure.