What Is Living My Best Life?

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Though firmly embedded in pop culture, there is still something wrong with how we use this expression.

If you scroll through the 5.1 million posts of #livingmybestlife on Instagram I’ll wager you'll see an abundance of landscapes - sunsets, blue oceans; adrenaline-filled activities - skydiving, jet skiing; post-gym smoothies and shakes, the list goes on and on. But, these posts only show a perfectly curated positive outlook of a person’s life, revealing only what that individual wants you to see.

The overwhelming twisted truths of the pictures and posts compounds the idea that living our best life is only real when it shows evidence of what others think is enjoyable. When we fall in line with the ideals of the majority, conforming to uniformity rather than subjectivity.

The Fear of Missing out (FOMO) plays perfectly into the hands of the infamous hashtag. It’s human psychology, we want to be involved, connected to others, so we create our own perfectly curated posts on the social software that is embedded in our lives showcasing the ‘fleeting’ moments, subconsciously believing only social acceptance will allow us to be living our best life.

In 2017, clinical counsellor Rebecca Turnbull spoke to CBC Radio specifically about the issue, summarizing the "best life" criteria; highlighting some of the key flaws the online world has ruled #livingmybestlife. She argues that the elusive ‘best life’ is one of a large amount of free time and financial privilege, one which a $9 juice, a $25 yoga class, organic grocery delivery service, and shopping spree will seemingly solve.

Her main concern, however, stems from the concept that the presentation of the self, i.e the individual posting, is wildly inaccurate, unhealthy almost. Comparing ourselves to unattainable lifestyles is not only troubling but in a society where anxiety and depression are on the rise, this idea only breeds perfectionism.

Turnbull’s outlook might seem a bit pessimistic. But her opinion that social media doesn’t influence our lives, is not a wild accusation. We consume so much content in a day, whether it be from news outlets, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Podcasts - potentially exceeding what our brains are wired for. Furthermore, amidst the new algorithms ‘feeding’ us what we supposedly like, we are unconsciously falling into the traps that social media has unknowingly created.

While her words do highlight problems with the infamous expression she does provide a solution to mitigate the conformity. Being able to differentiate a clout chaser posing with an expensive Champagne bottle at a beach bar in Ibiza from a genuinely happy person who is thrilled to open their first bottle of the night is a skill that we all need to refine. In addition to this, understanding just because we don’t do the activities we see on our feeds, doesn’t mean we are living a lesser life by any stretch of the imagination.

So #livingmybestlife what does it mean?

The most important aspect of the phrase isn’t ‘best-life’ it’s ‘my’. Strip away the filters, false smiles, fancy clothes, material items and exotic locations, instead of looking at our own values objectively and with honesty. By figuring out what is most important to us, what really matters, we can begin to form an understanding of what satisfies us in our lives. Once we inspect the environment and situation we find ourselves in, we adapt, taking small steps to inject attributes of what we consider to be our best life into our experiences.

Inspect & Adapt

#livingmybestlife is seen as the epitome of what to achieve, minimising the unavoidable struggles to attain those Oscar-like moments in life, which we then feel a burning desire to post. The phrase leaves no slack for the mundane, smaller moments, seeing them as filler for the large accolades and accomplishments, when in fact this outlook could not be further from the truth.

Think long and hard, whose story are you trying to fulfil?

Yours, or someone else?

The goal of life has never been an end state. The goal is the journey. The trials and tribulations of reality as we navigate the ocean of our existence. Striving each day to pursue a 1% positive improvement in our lives. Getting up after a fall, learning from the experience and pushing onwards for our dreams - that is #livingmybestlife.

Are you living your best life? Let me know in the comments or drop me a message on any of the following social networks. I would love to hear from you! — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Youtube.