The other day I overheard someone say that they have any social media accounts (I KNOW!) because, “Everyone is always so fake there. People just brag about how amazing their life is while hiding their real selves. It’s like a permanent high school reunion.”
Not knowing the person, I didn’t bother to explain that social media is far, far more than that. Of course “everyone” isn’t always fake…some of the most real conversations I’ve ever had have taken place on Twitter. People bare their souls on Facebook. Instagram is full of images sharing very real and raw emotions. I could go on and on.
But it did get me thinking, because there is some truth to her sentiment. But it doesn’t relate only to social media.
The thing is, as a society and as consumers we are constantly bombarded with media displays of idealized and happy people. From sitcoms with perfectly imperfect parents and witty neighbors to ads with families laughing joyously on a picnic blanket to ads with impossibly slender models. There are some ridiculously high expectations “out there.”
It’s no wonder social media somewhat mirrors that. I mean, we all tend to post things about our personal life that are favorable to a certain extent. We share the more flattering photos, maybe don’t bother to mention the 17-point parallel parking job, or leave out the burnt dinner. Even when we do share the “negatives” in our life…it’s often done selectively and with humor.
However, that’s no different than people you meet face-to-face every day. People generally put on their best face forward and don’t broadcast to a crowded room about how their sciatica is acting up or their finances are grim or…or…or…
All of this is to say…stop comparing yourself to others.
People aren’t always happy, they aren’t always perfect, nobody is. Behind closed doors everyone has their struggles. It’s the human condition.
It’s also human nature to hide some of those flaws. Like an animal with an injury who hunkers down to nurse it, we often keep our imperfections away from the pack, so others can’t witness it.
Remember this when you get down on yourself because your house is messy- really messy- or your kid fails a test.
Remember this when you’re online and you see a friend from high school posting a photo of her gorgeous kitchen and handsome husband.
Remember this when you see an article about a celebrity who talks about getting back to pre-pregnancy weight one month after giving birth.
Remember they are all human and have struggles, even if they don’t admit it.
A wise friend once said the person who compares themselves to others for validation is doomed to fall short. So treat yourself kindly and only compare yourself to you.