If you’re on social media, you’re probably seeing tons of photos and posts about people living these incredible lives.

If you’re on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook you’re probably bombarded with photos of people living what they call “their best life.” They’re on vacation a lot, they’re golfing every weekend, relaxing by the pool, bought a new car, bought a new house, lost 50 lbs...etc.

People chronicle their best moments and biggest accomplishments on social media because those are the things they’re proud of and things they want everyone to know about.

Truth be told, some are doing it just to brag, flaunt their good fortune and make other people jealous.

But whatever the REASON they’re posting that stuff, the outcome is the same. We (their social media followers or friends) see all that stuff and it’s perfectly natural to be a little envious. Sure we’d like to be fishing at the lake too. Or we’d also like to be in Europe for a week. Or maybe we wish that we got that promotion at work.

But you know what? Social media gives us a skewed vision of real life. Those pictures and updates about people’s lives are usually only the very best things. People USUALLY only post the best photos of themselves and usually only want to broadcast the most wonderful things happening in their lives. So we see this amazing life and forget there’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes that ain’t so pretty.

We all have our struggles. How many of us put that on social media? Very few. Now we all know that person who puts all their drama and stressful life events out there for everyone to read about. But most of us tend to keep those things private and only let the rest of the world know about the great things going on with us.

But I promise you more often than not, the glamorous Instagram photos of someone lounging on a beach chair on a Caribbean island don’t mean the person lives that life all the time.

That beach selfie looks great but that girl will have to live on Ramen noodles for two weeks when she gets back home. That guy’s awesome new truck is his because his previous car got totaled in a wreck that left him with a long-term injury. The cruise that couple is on might be their last one together. The promotion that lady got at her job is because she busted her behind for years to get noticed by her employers.

And don’t get me started on the posers — the people who are struggling but make their life out to be glamorous and luxurious just to make other people THINK they’ve got it all. These are the people who constantly post photos to flaunt their imaginary wealth but behind the scenes they’re barely making ends meet. I know a few people like this. They’re bankrupt but feel the need to live up to a certain lifestyle. They have to live in this particular fancy neighborhood or they’ve just got to drive a new car every year. Or their kid simply MUST go to this private school. And the entire time they’re losing sleep at night because any day now it could come crashing down around them.

I’m not wishing bad fortune on anyone. I’m just pointing out that there’s no need to fake a glamorous lifestyle just because it looks great on social media. You know you ain’t going on golf or ski trips every other weekend. You just want people to think you are. There’s no shame in living within your means. Don’t go into debt for a beach vacation just because all your friends went and posted their photos to Facebook.

What I’m saying is social media presents us with ONE part of someone’s life that may only show the best moments. But many of us see that and feel we’re not living as well as that person is. Or we become envious of their life. But you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.

We will all continue to share life’s great moments. That’s perfectly fine. Nothing’s wrong with sharing the things you’re happy about and proud of. Share all your trips and toys and gifts and accomplishments. Just know that you can ALSO share the things that aren’t glittering and glamorous. Share family gatherings and the coming together of generations, that’s something very special. Share about positive activities or events in your community.

Share the moments that are truly special with the people you care about. It doesn’t matter if it’s not at some fancy restaurant or a popular bar or if you’re all dressed up. It doesn’t matter if you’re not at some exotic destination.

Share the times when you’re laughing with your friends. Share the times when you’re holding your kids. Share a great health report from your doctor.

Don’t let social media pressure you into an unrealistic lifestyle.

Severo Avila is Features Editor

for the Rome News-Tribune.