As grateful as I am for the opportunities that being involved in the social media community has brought my way, there is a side to it that I never really acknowledged until recently. Chatting with a friend about why they have disconnected from social media and deleted their online presence, I decided to really think about how the constant barrage of “good news” people share could be seen as damaging to some.
Most people do not eagerly log on to their social media accounts to report bad news or stressful things that are going on in their day to day life. “Struggling to make ends meet this week, I hope I can pay the rent.” “My relationship with my partner is falling apart behind closed doors.” “Being a new parent is harder than I am making it seem through my pictures.”
Going through a grey period in your life, and then logging on to see that everyone you’re connected with appears to be ‘living the dream’ may cause feelings of hopelessness, self doubt, jealousy and anger. As much as we attempt to not compare our lives to the lives of those around us, if we do find ourselves at a low point, doing so seems almost unavoidable. “I wish I had that happy marriage” “I wish my baby would sleep and smile constantly too” “I wish I had the money for all of those gadgets, trips, and toys.”
It is important to remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side. The grass is most green where we water it. If you want that happy looking marriage, you must remember that not every marriage is perfect. Regardless of how things appear (or how people would like things to appear) it takes a lot of work to make a marriage happy and successful, and comparing your marriage to someone else’s is like comparing apples to oranges. Every relationship varies greatly, and every person has different standards for what constitutes a fulfilling relationship for them.
And if you are a parent, you know the truth. There is no such thing as a baby who is happy and smiling 24/7. A baby cries as a way of communicating to their parent that they need something or are uncomfortable. No one wants to take a snap shot to record the time their baby had that “epic meltdown”. They work hard to get those baby smiles, and that’s what they want the world to see. As parents, we must work to make sure our children are happy, healthy, and thriving. Making sure we take time each day to be physically and emotionally present with our kids will ensure that our children are the happiest they can be.
Those people who bought that huge new house or car or boat? You don’t know what they had to struggle through to get there. They didn’t share the arduous journey that involved disagreements, scrimping, and saving. You got to witness the final product – thus, leaving you with the impression that it was effortless.
This is why it is so important to never take things at face value; especially online. You don’t know the story behind the pictures or posts. Most accomplishments do not come easy for most people, and most accomplishments do not come without their fair share of disappointments along the way. Appreciate what you have, be grateful for who you are, and water your grass! 🙂