41 In Blogging

Take Instagram With a Grain of Salt

Sunday night I was talking to a friend of mine, and she said, “How was your weekend? I stalked you on Instagram and it looked like you just had a fabulous and perfect weekend!”

I chuckled a little, and agreed that yes my weekend was indeed great, but also thought, “oh the power of Instagram…”

It made me think about one of my favorite quotes, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and how comparing our lives to one another through social media can suck the life right out of you!

I wanted to make a point that Instagram is a funny thing. You can share a teeny, tiny, moment, a brief snippet into what you’re doing, and all of your followers are left to imagine just how fantastic that moment was, and wish they’d had a similar one themselves. Am I right? We only share the best, the happiest, the most fun, the brag, the biggest, the proudest, the most exciting, the cutest, and the prettiest. Why would we share anything else? An Instagram picture is a 640px X 640px glimpse into one moment in time, and nobody has to know what’s really going on outside of those dimensions, because that would make things less glamorous, and perfect.

So, remember that while you’re scrolling through your social media accounts, and especially Instagram, one picture doesn’t tell the whole story. It only tells what the user wants you to see, and wants you to assume. Be cautious about judging, comparing, and wishing your feed looked like their feed. You don’t know what was going on when the picture was taken, and you’re wasting your time wishing  you did.

Take Instagram with a grain of salt.

Let’s play a game…here are some of my previous Instagram photos, and what was really going on when I took the picture!

1. A sweet man who was with his family took this photo for us. At least three times. We may have held up everyone else at the top of the mountain so I could get a good picture. Guilty.

pinnacle mountain little rock arkansas

2. When I took this, I was simultaneously yelling at the neighbor’s dogs through the window to stop barking. Which they do 24/7.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.51.56 AM

3. Two days after I took this photo, she chewed off a corner of the rug. And a day after that, she threw up all over it. Needless to say we don’t have this cute rug anymore!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.01.50 AM

4. Lacrosse at the park with Truckee was a one time deal. 30 minutes after I instagrammed this, a cop drove by and yelled at us for having her off the leash.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.02.21 AM

5. I never actually ran this. The morning of the race it was monsooning rain and cold, and I didn’t want to walk to the start in the rain. We were living downtown at the time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.09.22 AM

6. There were like 10 people in my age group 🙂 Still fun though. But maybe not all that impressive haha

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.54.13 AM

7. This was taken outside of Wal-Mart. Enough said.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.57.09 AM

8. I was so sick this Valentine’s Day. I went to bed as soon as I got home from work and didn’t get to enjoy my chocolates until a few days later!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.04.32 AM

9. I was with my husband and in-laws at the Farmer’s Market, but you wouldn’t know I had a TERRIBLE rash/allergic reaction all over my legs and feet, and had to leave the market early to go to the walk-in clinic.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.58.36 AM

10. We had a ridiculous, petty argument about an hour before he gave this to me. We resolved it, but I still felt bad.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.53.57 AM

11. I probably took about 20 of these on my phone before getting a cute one. All the while Adam was trying to concentrate on driving.


12. We only made it half way up Pinnacle this time, Truckee was so hot and so tired that I had to turn around and take her back to the car to cool off. She sure looks like a mountain dog though!

photo (46) copy

13. Two minutes after I took this, the burlap “I” fell on the ground, two days later the gold “I” fell off and broke, and the wood “I” is still missing to this day.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.00.18 AM

14. At the City Museum in St. Louis – Adam cut his hand bad while we were outside climbing through all of these tunnels and we had to go inside and hunt down the first aid people. It was fun while it lasted 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.04.11 AM

15. It took about 8 adults behind us to get the kiddos to smile! Cute group photos like this don’t happen often!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.57.34 AM

16. We stopped at Whataburger in FL on our way to the airport on the last day of our beach trip. I was looking down trying to conceal the fact that I was about to cry because I was so sad to be leaving my family early! I’m such a sap, I know!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.56.45 AM

17. It may look like we had a fun time running this race, but it was terrible. The temperature plummeted throughout the race, it was raining, windy, and to make things worse, we got a flat tire on the way to the race, about 30 minutes before we had to be at the starting line. We both ended up being sick later this day!

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.53.03 AM

18. Right before I took this, Truckee humiliated me by having one of her freak out spells, jumping on me, and trying to bite at her leash, in front of a bunch of people in the parking lot behind me. I finally got her to sit and be still for two seconds.

photo (1)

See, there’s always a fun back-story to every photo 🙂

What fun stories do you have from some of your Insta-photos that no one would know?


  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Amen! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this and discusses this with friends. No one wants to post or see boring or mundane things in our lives. Everyone wants to like the cute stuff. The other topic we discuss is over-using social media. If you complain about someone posting too much, then there is ALWAYS the “unfollow” option. However, social norms now dictate some of the social media norms. I love that quote and my girlfriends and I send it to one another every once in awhile, when we are feeling low about something. Social media makes it way too easy to compare what you see in that little square picture. Thanks for the post, love it!!
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    This might be my most favorite post EVER. I love the idea of sharing back stores behind instagram pics! I think I might do this soon 🙂 But seriously- comparison is the WORST. I debate almost daily on whether I should delete my facebook- I am “friends” with so many people that make me feel like crap for my life! Thankfully my instagram is full of supportive people but still, it can make you feel a little bummed out when you think that everyone is off doing way cooler stuff than you 😉
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  • Reply
    Katie @ running4cupcakes
    May 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I love this post. And always sucha great reminder. You never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. And I really got a laugh out of your behind the scenes stories – thanks for sharing!!
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  • Reply
    Chrissy @Pink Polish and Running Shoes
    May 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Great post. This is SO true!
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  • Reply
    Leslee @ Her Happy Balance
    May 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    LOL! Loved this post. You are so right, IG and FB are only everyone’s highlight reel…I mean who really wants to capture when they’re sick/grumpy/tired etc. But that’s something that is very important to remember and not get sucked into the comparison track. BTW- the last photo with Truckee, when I saw that on IG I was totally like “wow, that’s an awesome picture, she looks so calm!” and it is an awesome photo but it’s fun to hear the actual backstory too.
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  • Reply
    Renae @ MissFit Mixed Chick
    May 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I love that you posted this. It’s so true. Pictures can be misleading. Instgram as well as all other forms of social medial are to be taken lightly. I think that’s why I only own a blog. I constantly felt myself comparing my day-to-day activities with others. That is no way to live.
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  • Reply
    Greta @ fueledbyfresh
    May 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    What an excellent post! I think that we as bloggers can find ourselves getting wrapped up in social media “perfection” but as my husband likes to say “life isn’t Pinterest perfect”! This is a really good reminder to try to not compare our own lives in their entirety to someone else’s highlights reel. Live you life as best as you can and share the great moments!

  • Reply
    Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life
    May 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Lol Sarah this is why I love you! I was dying laughing at some of those, especially the ones about Truckee! Instagram can definitely hurt my feelings sometimes when I wonder why my life can’t be perfect or I can’t be on exotic vacations or I do not have the flattest stomach. Thank you for reminding me of the truth behind those pictures. I may need to do a similar post to this one if you don’t mind! Got to keep it real! 😉
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    This was a superb, thought provoking post. Loved it. Found myself laughing at the “truth” behind the photos. I’ll keep this in mind.
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  • Reply
    Kristin (@SweatCourage)
    May 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Such a great post about the whole Instagram thing! I find myself getting into ‘social media depression’ when I’m on FB or IG. It’s so easy to get jealous of others through just a little snap shot of their life. I mean come one, no one posts photos of crappy moments in their life… typically only the good stuff! I know I’m guilty of ‘instagram bragging’… but I need to stop worrying about other people in my social media world! I also love the photos of your dog and your hiking… we hike with our dog all the time!
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  • Reply
    Presley @ Run Pretty
    May 20, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    This is legit the best thing I’ve ever read. So funny, because it’s so true.

    PS: RIP cute carpet.
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  • Reply
    Jessica @ RunYourMuttOff
    May 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Love this post!! Sometimes the reason I post the snippet of “joy” without the backstory is purely to help cheer myself up! A few likes in a photo when I’m otherwise feeling down can be a little pick-me-up. I think that falls under the “fake-it-till-you-make-it” mantra. Pretend things are perfect and maybe they will seem a little more-so.
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What a great post! I have not succumbed to the Instagram world but realize that I am missing out on opportunities by not having an account. Against my better judgement, I may have to join yet another social media site!
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  • Reply
    Nikki@will run for pizza
    May 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I love this!!!! SO true! We are all guilty of “romanticizing” IG, FB, ect…I’m totally going to do a pingback post about this because I have stories too! haha
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  • Reply
    Molly Rose
    May 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Love this, so true! Way to be honest with those photos, I think we ALL try to capture a moment and make it seem perfect, when really … none of us have all our shnit together 🙂
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  • Reply
    Anna @ That DAMM Runner
    May 20, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    YES TO THIS. I agree with every single point. As someone who doesn’t instagram much, but gets FOMO when looking at others’ posts, this is so true and so important to remember. I have one friend who makes everything sound like THE BEST time. Then if I ask her about specific instances she goes, “Oh that night sucked.” It’s only about, like you said, showing people that you’re having a good time and your life is fabulous, rather than just being honest (i.e. not posting if you’re having a crummy time). It’s stupid, but I’m sure we’ve ALL done it once or twice, or 1000 times. 🙂
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  • Reply
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate
    May 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    This is a fantastic post haha! I might just have to steal this one from you 🙂
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    The stories behind the photo is awesome, I love it, makes it more real. Thanks for sharing.
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Love this post! I couldn’t agree more! I always says everyone is promoting something on social media, whether it’s their business or themselves, and let’s be honest I don’t like to see people go off on tangents and spread drama either so I like to keep it happy, but let’s always keep in mind that “comparison really is the theif of joy” Thanks for sharing!!
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  • Reply
    May 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    How true is this?!? I feel the same way about blogging. While I am totally myself, I only share a snippet of my life on my blog. It may seem like I share everything, but I still keep many things private (as I should).
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  • Reply
    GiGi Eats
    May 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    OMG I LOVE THAT QUOTE!! “Comparison is the thief of JOY” – it could not be MORE TRUE and so many of my friends REALLY need to THINK ABOUT THIS!!!!
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  • Reply
    Heidi @ Idlehide
    May 21, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I love that thief of joy comment. I have to tell myself that quote a lot though, because I totally let comparison steal my joy sometimes. You certainly did have an awesome weekend! And you placed in a race…that’s amazing!
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  • Reply
    Kels @ Blonder Side of LIfe
    May 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

    What a fun (not fun?) game to play with your instagram. You’re so right though, a quick snapshot of someones weekend or life can hardly tell the whole story. It’s the same with blogs as well I think. As honest as I am on my blog, no reader will ever know my whole life.
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  • Reply
    Katie @decoratemylife
    May 21, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2014 at 10:38 am

    All great photos! I guess that’s a good thing about Instagram. You only let people see what you want them to. I actually do not have an Instagram account. Your dog is adorable and very photogenic. I have a yellow lab who loves taking pictures too. It must be a lab thing:)
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  • Reply
    May 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    haha love this post! it’s very true, instagram is just a bunch of pretty filters. i love taking instagram pics, but i’m not going to pretend my pictures are anything super special. anyone can do it!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork
    May 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I love this post! Some of the comments on your pics cracked me up! Isn’t that the truth–some moments looks so serene, but they’ve been crafted.
    I couldn’t agree more with this post! Sometimes I look at pictures on Instagram or on blogs and think about how amazing these peoples’ lives must be. Then I look at the picture on my Instagram feed and mine look kind of similar. It IS all about what you post. It’s one tiny glimpse into someone’s life. I do try to keep it real on my blog, though, because my favorite blogs out there do that and I’m all about being as transparent as possible. I find it refreshing when people are completely honest, just as you did in this post. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Reply
    May 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Ha – I love this! I try to remember that people only post the good things when comparing their life to mine! Its hard to do with social media these days.
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  • Reply
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
    May 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! I’m SO glad you brought this up. I think any social media platform can be this way. Just one of the many reasons why I think it’s crucial we all back away from the social media from time to time. It’s easy to fall into that comparison trap.
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  • Reply
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie
    May 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I love hearing the stories behind photos! It’s easy to forget that photos just capture a second of the whole story.
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  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    This is such a cool entry! I loved it!!!

  • Reply
    . link love 5/25 . - . running with spoons .
    May 25, 2014 at 8:01 am

    […] Take Instagram With A Grain Of Salt via Sweet Miles. “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” […]

  • Reply
    Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime
    May 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    This post made me laugh the whole way through! I love the honesty and the reminder that we are all human. I have two golden retrievers so I was especially giggling at all the dog photos – particularly the rug one! 🙂
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  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Oh yes, so agree! Definitely sharing this. I recently unfollowed a few people because they were making me feel bad about myself. I always recommend my clients to carefully choose who they follow and avoid those who use words like “toxic” or who body-shame. Just seeing pictures can unconsciously affect our moods, body image, etc.
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  • Reply
    Renee @ Bendiful Blog
    May 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I feel like there is one of these stories behind each and every one of my IG photos. From the the worlds worst movie ever, a quote: “photos only show the happy times”. I think this movie was called Just Married haha! It’s bad but the quote always stuck out to me because of how true it is.
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  • Reply
    May 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I love this! It is so true too. It is weird how our brains work. I’ve noticed a lot of fraud on Instagram. It is completely over flooded with “It Works” and beachbody reps to name a few. I remember about a month ago, some girl posted a pic of her, her husband, and their baby which was completely photoshopped into this amazing resort. If you quickly scrolled, you would have believed it. But I took a closer look and it was so fake. Her caption was how AMAZING Beach Body was and thanked them for providing her and her family with this awesome trip. I was so annoyed. She got like over 100 Likes and tons of comments about how lucky she is and how beautiful it was. I am not sure if people just comment to get more likes or what but there is some shady stuff that goes down on Instagram. Sorry about the long comment but you have a good point. Lol!
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  • Reply
    Amanda @ A Latte Learn
    June 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    This is awesome and so true! Things are usually a mess outside of what’s in my square little frame!

  • Reply
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
    June 4, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Such a great reminder! And I love the back story on all your pics! 🙂
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  • Reply
    Five Things Friday 6.6.2014 - Treble in the Kitchen
    June 6, 2014 at 5:32 am

    […] Taking Instagram with a Grain of Salt via Sweet Miles  […]

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    Nikki@will run for pizza
    June 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I finally got one of these posts done! Took me long enough! But I think I might start doing them more often, because I think it is SUCH a good “reminder”.
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