I have a confession to make: my actual life looks nothing like my social media posts. I’m pretty sure yours doesn’t either.
I’ve posted plenty of pictures of my daughters hugging and looking like they’re having the time of their lives. What you don’t see is how, five minutes before, they had been screaming bloody murder at each other. Their father and I had to physically restrain them from scratching each other’s eyes out.
Nope, all you see are two girls who are obviously the best of friends. The fight? Was not captured for posterity’s sake. Frankly, I needed both hands free to deal with their willfulness.
Very recently (just a couple of days before I wrote this), the girls had activities at separate locations and at different times. My husband and I were trying to get them out of the house, but the younger one suddenly took issue with how her cleats were fitting. I decided to get a photo of her meltdown, then took a picture of her with her sister a few minutes later. You know, just for comparison. Did I share the meltdown? Nope! Only the bribe-sponsored smiles. All for you, friends.
A couple of summers ago, we took the girls to the zoo with some friends. I won’t get into any details here, but that day is well known in our social circle as The Great Wagon Incident of 2015. My husband and I almost divorced over that blasted wagon. Looking back on it now, we can laugh, but it sure wasn’t funny back then.
If you, an outsider, were looking at my posts from that day, do you know what you would see? That’s right — a lot of smiling faces. There’s one — ONE — picture of the cursed wagon, but you wouldn’t know to look at it that it almost broke my marriage apart.
I know I’m not alone in filtering my life through what I present on social media. In fact, only a few weeks after The Great Wagon Incident, I witnessed my good friends go through The Great Corn Maze Incident of 2015. This, too, almost led to their divorce. But once again, you won’t see any of that on Facebook, only happy kiddos and smiling grown-ups.
We all have this idea of how our lives are supposed to look to the rest of the world.
Social media is meant to bring us closer together, and to make this huge world feel a little smaller. But how easy is it to feel connected when we all envy what our friends and neighbors are sharing and don’t feel like we can measure up or even relate? On the other hand, how do we know we aren’t making someone else out there feel the same way with our own picture-perfect posts?
It’s hard to share the things in life that paint us in a less-than-perfect light.
It’s also hard to pretend to be perfect all the time. Maybe we need to start being more real and relatable in what we put out into the world. It might be exactly what someone else needs to see to realize that we’re all fighting similar battles. So show your dream vacation, and the loving hugs, but also show me your unfolded laundry, spilled paint, and cursed wagons. I want to know all the parts, not just the pretty ones.
What do you like to share on your favorite social media sites? Do you think you’d be able to post things that are a little more true to life?