On social media we usually see only the “picture perfect” ideal. We must learn to embrace reality for all its glorious imperfections.
Have you ever scrolled through social media and felt horrible about yourself? With so much pressure to portray a certain image, social media too often becomes a platform not for connecting with your friends but for outdoing your peers and appearing flawless. Elder Gary E. Stevenson shares advice on how to react to this problem in his BYU Women’s Conference talk, “The Knowledge of a Savior.”
He warns us of two main dangers with social media: “idealized reality” and “debilitating comparisons.” Many social platforms show perfect images that we compare ourselves to, but they often only show a tiny fragment of what is perfect in an overall messy situation.
As an example, Elder Stevenson shares the behind-the-scenes story of one of his own seemingly perfect family pictures. What looks like a perfect family on the surface turned out to be a perfectly constructed pose hiding grass stains, blood stains, runny noses, white socks, and an angry wife. Through this horrendous experience, Elder Stevenson gained a lovely family photo but learned an even more important lesson: life is not perfect.
So if you’re wondering how to achieve the “picture perfect” or even “Pinterest perfect” life, the answer is that you won’t. Nobody has ever been perfect except for our Savior, and the only perfection we should be striving for is to be like Christ. Let us use our technology more for sharing light and less for pitting ourselves against each other. In the words of Elder Stevenson, “Hopefully, we can learn to find more humor and less discouragement when confronted with images which may portray idealized reality and which too often lead to debilitating comparisons.”
Watch the full performance of Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s family picture fiasco in his full BYU Women’s Conference talk “The Knowledge of a Savior.”
—Noelle Conder, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY VALERIA BOLTNEVA
Find more insights
Learn about the realistic blessings of imperfection from Tiffanie Abbot’s article “Imperfections are not Limitations.”
Read Abby Pace’s article “Four Qualities Perfectionists Need to Develop” for more insight about dealing with perfectionism.