I used to go on Facebook all the time. It was an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family that I don’t see very often. Over time, I realized that even though I knew who was married, who had kids, who had a beer belly, who was making lots of money, etc., I didn’t know anything REAL about anyone. Everything I knew was based on assumptions made through random pictures and status updates.
Facebook makes it possible to keep tabs on people without actually communicating with them. The issue with this is that people tend to present a false image of who they truly are. Naturally, everyone wants to make a good impression, but it is incredibly easy to sugar coat reality. Here are some examples from personal experience…
FACEBOOK: A friend of mine from high school has always been very free spirited and just lives to have fun… one adventure after the next! I was always jealous of that! I reconnected with her on Facebook recently and saw she was dating a new guy, but appeared to be happy and carefree as usual. She looked great!
REALITY: A few months later, I found out that she had recently been in the hospital because he was physically abusing her. I never in a million years would have guessed anything like that was going on.
FACEBOOK: When I was pregnant with my second baby, my skin broke out like crazy. I was so upset about it, especially after looking at pictures of a friend on Facebook with perfect skin.
REALITY: I sent her a message and asked what products she uses and I almost died over her response: ”PHOTOSHOP. My skin sucks.”
FACEBOOK: Here is a picture of our happy little family at the beach! Obviously, we were having an awesome summer. I was staying home full time with the kids and we were in the process of buying a new house!
REALITY: Mr. Betty and I had 2 little kids and not a lot of money! He was working 2 jobs and was gone from 6:30am-7pm every day so that I could be home with the Baby Bettys full time. It was rough. Even though he was working his butt off, we were still barely making ends meet. Plus, we were living in a cruddy part of town where I didn’t even feel comfortable walking around the block! We were trying to sell our house, but the market was horrible at that time. Basically, things kinda sucked!
It is so easy to look at a few pictures and assume that the grass is greener on the other side. I used to go on Facebook and within 10 minutes start feeling all depressed about my life. I would see what everyone else was up to– what they were wearing (I couldn’t afford to go shopping like I used to), what they were doing (I didn’t have time or money to go backpacking across Europe), what kind of mothers they were (I didn’t buy my kids special 4th of July outfits), what kind of marriage they had (Mr. Betty isn’t super romantic like that)…. etc.
It drove me insane. I would dwell on what everyone else was doing right and pick apart what I was doing wrong! This isn’t to say that I wasn’t happy because I was! I had an amazing husband and 2 beautiful little girls, but life is messy! There are some days that I’m still in my pajamas at dinner time, or nights that I am too absorbed in a book to realize dinner is burning! Sometimes my kids knock displays over at Whole Foods. My husband might not be big on candlelit dinners, but I guarantee that no guy could ever make me laugh the way that he does! Just because things aren’t always ideal, doesn’t mean they aren’t wonderful in their own way.
I love social media most of the time. It keeps people connected and up to date on things that are important to them, but I think it is wise to take a step back sometimes and realize that what you see isn’t always what you get. People are very good at spinning reality. Obviously all people want to make a good impression, but I think Facebook takes it to a new level and I don’t think it’s healthy. You never know what is REALLY going on behind that screen. It is likely more than you know (or would even want to know)!
How do you feel about Facebook and other social media outlets?
Do you bend the truth to make your life appear the way you want it to?
Do people make you feel bad about yourself based on what they post??
Do you struggle with comparing your life to others?
FACEBOOK: Had so much fun taking the girls for an off-road walk at the park today!! Such a beautiful day!
REALITY: I had the girls play in some gorgeous purple flowers, but realized we were literally in a tick nest. I had to strip them down and leave. In fact, I had a tick on my upper thigh and ended up leaving my pants in the parking lot and driving home in my underwear!
Related Post: Socially Disconnected