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On instagram and grey days: why your normal might be more normal than you think

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 11 Aug, 2020

So here's the same view on a great day and on a grey one. Which would you be more likely to post to SM? Which do you think is more normal? Did you know it's the same when it comes to your emotions? ...

So, I’m writing this in August, and we’re away, staying in a pretty cool top floor flat in Cornwall. And the first couple of days were sunny and I insta’d photos of the view from our windows because, you know, you just do, and hey - you can see the sea!

Then this morning I got up, early, to grab some quiet time before the mayhem of the day, and it was grey. Misty. Like, you can’t make out much from our windows at all.

And I caught myself thinking ‘ah well nothing to insta today’. But then I thought a bit. And so I did. Insta that is.

Because that’s the thing isn’t it - we only ever post our best moments, the sunny times, the impressive views, the airbrushed perfection the ‘yeah honestly my life is like this’ moments.

And they’re not really what most of life is about, are they? That’s why we post them - at least I do - it's a kind of ‘yeah see, I DO have moments like this, YES!’ thing. But most of life is more … well, everyday.

Sometimes when I work with young people I ask them to rate their emotions for me on a scale type graph thing - it’s got a scale from -10 to 0 to +10 and so the crappy emotions, feeling low or sad or anxious and stuff go in the -10 to 0 bit, and the good stuff in the 0 to 10 bit. And I ask them to keep a measure of their emotions over a period of days or even weeks so I can see what their life feels like.

And I ask them sometimes what they think normal looks like. Like - where on the graph would most people’s marks go if they did this, for days or weeks.

And often the response I get is that most people would be in the 8 to 10 one most of the time. And if you look on insta or any SM that's what you'd think because that's what everyone posts - the great moments, the 'lookin good' moments, life's highs and winning moments.

But that just isn’t what everyday emotions look like. Sorry - bad news moment - it’s a lot more boring than that. In fact the normal range is more like something between -1 and 3.

You see, not every day is about fireworks, amazing views or instagrammable brilliance. Normal is much more boring than that. And grey days are part of it - the moments when life is just routine, a bit dull, nothing too special. Or even the days when mist sets in - just for a while.

So remember on your grey days, that’s ok. That’s normal. And the sun will come out again.


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