In a world filled with social media, it is hard not to get caught up in the perfection of every one else’s life. You look at statuses and posts all about how wonderful something is, how happy someone’s marriage is and how great their kids are. Work is perfect for some people… easy and financially rewarding. You see selfies and photos of picture perfect, happy, smiling people. I have to admit- I am guilty of only showing the good and easy side of my life to the world. It is exciting to share the glories of life… who wants to show off the unfortunate parts of it? The problem is that this sets people up for comparison and most often, disappointment. I have come across a few friends, family members, and even a student of mine, who are going through some tough times right now… I can’t help but think that social media has got to make this worse. When comparing my own life, which often seems good… even great… I feel inadequate. When things go wrong in my life, I feel like I haven’t matched up with what it means to be “successful”, like somehow, struggling equates with failure.
Things aren’t perfect… sometimes my life is a mess. I can tell when things get the worst because my daily organizational systems start to slip and falter… I care less about the laundry and the dishes and making the bed. I let things go because I am too busy to care. However, it’s when my personal life takes a tilt and internal battles take place that I find myself clinging to my lists and micromanaging even the smallest of details. Take the desktop of my computer- five minutes ago I changed the wallpaper and organized all the file icons. Seriously… I organized my desktop. Then came my inboxes, which as you can imagine, have an incredible labeling system already in place. Cleaning them out was a breeze… one more thing checked of my emotional basket-case list. It’s times like this morning where social media can be a beast. And here I am posting on it, myself.
So you find yourself in a place of loss, hurt, stress or struggle… what can you do? You can talk to people. There are so many, and thanks to social media (hah!) it is easy to reach them. Start to break down the walls of picture-perfect and let people in. Let people see the mess. I have spent so much of my life trying to appear perfect, so here I am, breaking down a wall… or at least punching a little hole in it, letting people take a peek. Here I am saying that things are not perfect. Things are hard. Work is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenthood is hard. LIFE is hard. If you are struggling, reach out. People can’t often see that you need them. On the other hand, if you do sense that someone needs you, take a chance and step in to help. Those in need will appreciate the gesture. Take a moment and really ask someone how his or her day is going. Take a chance. Make someone’s day.
For those hurting right now, take a deep breath and get off Facebook… it probably will make things worse (I say as I hit the “post” button). Go take a yoga class. Go for a walk. Write someone a hand written letter. Make a journal entry. Go sing for a little while. Have a dance party in your living room. And if all else fails…you can always organize your desktop… it’s therapeutic.
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