Your Life is Real. Social Media is Not.
“Everybody’s life is so much better than mine, I mean I just look at my phone and get so depressed!” a friend said to me.
Claudia (she’d kill me if I used her real name ) is single, beautiful, has a great career, a group of friends that are more like family, travels frequently and is healthy. But every now and then she gets depressed about her life. It always happens after she looks at her social media and postings from her “friends” (remember, for many of us our social media has a lot of people we don’t even know).
True, feeling negative or feeling like everyone else has it better than her happens to be one of her issues she’s working on, so she’s more susceptible to feeling this way – but looking at social media absolutely makes her issue worse.
And it’s not just Claudia.
Social media can bring out the “not good enough” feelings.
How many of us can relate to these feelings?
I went on Facebook recently and saw these beautiful postings from children to their dad’s on father’s day and I thought, “My dad isn’t even on Facebook!” and “I suck as a daughter — I couldn’t even think to come up with words like that.”
For graduations I’d see heartfelt postings from parents to their children about their 9.5 GPA, applauding their creation of a clean water system for people living in poverty, and their acceptance into Stanford on a full scholarship. All of this while having a loving and close relationship with their children whom they’ve never argued with and have always shared their feelings in a healthy and spiritual way.
Um… certainly not my life.
And because I am human, and I too suffer from a “Not Good Enough” issue at times, after reading and looking at these postings I felt not good enough! If I didn’t look at social media I would still have these issues. I’m working hard at healing by practicing being aware of them daily, and flipping the feeling (that’s next weeks blog) — but social media can definitely make it WORSE!
Social Media is One Sided.
Now, let’s look at the other side.
Social media is designed to present only one side of someone’s life; the side the person wants presented.
When was the last time you ever saw on any social media a picture of a mother in a fight with her son, captioned: “I hate this ungrateful brat and I can’t wait till he moves out!”
When was the last time you saw a posting from a husband confessing he just got into a huge fight with his wife. Again.
Or even better, someone posting a picture of themselves in a bikini with cellulite. No filters. Yes, I’m sure they’re out there but in general, no one does that. Hell, I love the way I look in filters and I am definitely not ready to show the world the cellulite that goes down to my ankles!
So, this presentation of our lives to the world can be a false presentation, or a presentation of a slice of the good parts of our lives. This can give people the idea that it’s not a slice of our lives but rather it’s our entire lives.
Social Media is a Slice of Life.
I don’t think social media needs to change.
I think we need to change how we look at it.
I told my friend Claudia I could totally understand why she felt like every one else had it better than her. I told myself I could understand why I felt I sucked as a daughter and mother after looking at Facebook and Instagram.
But then I reminded both of us of the positive, the non-sucky parts.
Claudia has friends who really and truly love her, a rewarding career, a healthy and rock solid body, and gets to go out with whomever she likes and doesn’t have to worry about someone leaving dirty socks on her beautiful Italian marble floor.
I reminded myself I have a terrific family, and I’m not the mushy gushy daughter who feels comfortable telling the world her deepest feelings (I save that for the blog) — and that’s okay.
I’m a good daughter, I enjoy visiting my parents, carrying on their loving traditions and laugh about their funny quirks behind their backs. (Hi, Mom)
I also reminded myself I’m a good parent. Well, I’m the best parent I can be in the moment. My kids are healthy, well-mannered, smart, loving, creative and the cutest kids ever born. Maybe they don’t have a 9.5 GPA and haven’t developed a new water filtration system for the poor, and that’s okay because I don’t need them to make me feel good enough. I’m good enough just by doing my best. They’re good enough just by doing their best.
So, the next time you see a post of someone’s perfect life just know it’s only a slice of their lives. Everyone has their stuff and challenges. Watch that “Not Good Enough” feeling that comes up when you feel everyone does it better than you — then go to the positive in your life.
And when I post a picture later today of my family vacation… I’m gonna crop my cellulite out and use three filters.
It’s a slice of a my life.
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