This post was inspired by some recent discussions with friends and some colleagues about how everyone else seems to have perfect lives as they are going through various issues and adversity. We seem to forget the concept of “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” and I really think this is exacerbated by social media. How many posts have you read or written that accurately reflect where you are in life today? I know for me that I tend to post very, very rarely, but when I do, or when I respond to a post it is generally parsed pretty carefully to be positive, nonthreatening, and inoffensive. I do this for a number of reasons, but if someone was to just observe posts by or about me, they would come to the conclusion that life is perfect, when that just isn’t the case.
Now, don’t get me wrong, life is good right now. Sure there are minor issues, but overall, life is good and I have been very blessed. To call it perfect, however, is a very big stretch and I suspect it is the same for each of us. We generally put out best image out there for people to see and hide the difficult and hard things (with the general exception of tragedies). We do this because we don’t want people to see the “less than perfect” side of us, the dark days, the reaping of the results from bad decisions, the minor errors, and the major failures. So, we post the illusion that everything is just fine…or at worst, is just minor.
The problem is that, although we do this, we don’t realize or appreciate that others do too. As a result, we start to operate under the impression that everyone else is doing incredibly well while we are mired in our daily issues both great and small. The longer this continues the more we start to question what we are doing wrong and start to doubt that we will every “do well”. In the end we place additional weight and pressure on ourselves based on a flawed understanding of the reality of others’ lives and an improper and incorrect comparison of our experienced reality.
Once we understand this, though, we can start to recalibrate our thinking and break out of the cycle. So, this week, as you wander through the social media barrage, remember, there are as many, if not more, flaws in most of the perfect lives you see as are in yours and that you are not alone in this state. Have a great week!