Name: Jessica L.
Profession: Comedy Writer
Location: Los Angeles, CA
“I feel like what I’m doing in life is not enough — comparing myself to the accolades and achievements that flood my timeline, I start to feel insecure about my career and personal life.”
Meet Jessica — well-spoken, sophisticatedly dressed, self-made, 32-year Hollywood comedy writer for Golden Globe nominated shows. Her calm yet uplifting demeanor could unnerve the most confident of people. How is she so poised? How is she so graceful in all that she does, yet remain so humble and centered regardless of her successes? And (most importantly) how is her skin so flawless? Her interview revealed that even the most “perfect” of people feel insecure with the constant comparisons and sense of inadequacy these platforms have created. But what is she insecure about?
SMMMA: What do you feel most anxious about on Social Media?
Jessica: While scrolling through Instagram or Facebook (I’m ancient), I can sometimes feel like what I’m doing in life is not enough. I’ll start to feel insecure about my career and personal life comparing myself to the accolades and achievements that flood my timeline. As a single woman, I’ll feel anxious that I don’t have my own family life – partner, home, baecations. Career wise, I feel inadequate that I haven’t achieved certain points that my peers have.
SMMMA: How do you feel when you see other people succeed at what you are trying to achieve?
Jessica: It depends on the day – there are times where it fuels my motivation to write, and other times it can send me down a weird place where I completely doubt my abilities as a writer and whether this is the right career for me.
SMMMA: What helps you stop feeling anxious?
Jessica: Listening to music. Working out. Talking about it with a friend. Reminding myself that this isn’t real life – everyone posts their highs and people know their angles or have mastered Photoshop and filters. I used to dance, so I love to watch the videos of talented dancers on Instagram. There's something oddly soothing about that for me.
SMMMA: Anything else to add?
Jessica: I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I’ve been able to connect or reconnect with people. I’ve found style, workout, food and restaurant inspiration. And I’ve also felt insanely insecure from some people. I think it’s important to mute or completely unfollow the accounts that make you feel less than. And I think it’s okay if you take time and completely get off Instagram. Trust me, you won’t miss out on anything but might gain things like spending that time to read a good book, or watch an inspiring TV show or just reconnect with yourself. I think it’s important to take those breaks and know that you’re not dependent on social media. There was life before this.
There you have it — even smart and successful people feel insecure and compare themselves to others. But how does that fact alone help us calm that spreading sense of inadequacy that tinges even the most seemingly satisfying of moments? Instead of feeling a stabbing sense of lack, how can we use social media as a platform to propel our passions, diminish our fears, and find solace in the common threads of human nature? Amid the sorrows and joys that connect us - independent of our sex, religion, race or class - revealing the truth behind the social media masks helps us find an honest place of peace, linking us in a way that dissipates anxiety and loneliness.