(this post was originally published on August 18, 2014)
I was watching a Marie Forleo video about envy this morning. She was talking about envying the lives that we see portrayed every day on social media. This really hit home for me. From what I see and hear, this hits home for most, if not all, of us at one point or another. There will always be someone with a better home, more money, more free time, fewer worries, more awesome kids, a more loving husband… but there will also always be someone who looks at our lives and wishes they were at the level we are.
This kind of goes along with my post about falling down and getting behind. You can read that here if you haven’t already. Sometimes, we can feel “behind” and we haven’t even fallen down or had a setback. That’s why it’s so important to realize that what we see portrayed in social media is not the whole picture. It’s only a small piece of the puzzle. You might see a Facebook friend who only talks about her extravagant vacations or her newest expensive purchases… but what she doesn’t tell you is that she struggles with an eating disorder because she feels worthless. What about that friend on Instagram who is always posting pictures of her family doing fabulous things or her kids winning awards? … but what she doesn’t take pictures of are the late nights she spends worrying about what she’s going to do because her family is so deep in debt that collectors are hounding her. What if we could see the outtakes from all those “perfect” family photos? … the crossed eyes, the dirty looks, the “she touched me/he breathed on me” squabbles between camera clicks.
Every single one of us has struggles…and every single one of us has awesome blessings. While I don’t really appreciate only hearing the bad about someone’s life (We all know those Facebook friends, right? Where nothing in their lives ever goes right and they never have a good word to say about anything or anyone?), there is great value in being real. One week, my newsfeed was full of post after post telling me all the wonderful gourmet meals that my Facebook friends were making for their families. As a single working mom who is homeschooling, I rarely have time for gourmet meals. I started to feel really frustrated with my life because of it. Instead of focusing on the blessing of being able to work from home and still homeschool my kids, even though that meant little time for meal prep, I focused on what I was lacking. One evening, as a joke, I posted that my friends should not be jealous, but I was making an awesome meal of fish sticks and macaroni & cheese. To my surprise, I had comment after comment telling me “We’re having cereal for dinner”, “I’m too tired to cook all the time”, “I’m so glad you said this! I felt bad that my kids were eating sandwiches and I had a cupcake.” (those may not be the exact quotes, but that was the jist of it) I realized that these Moms had been feeling just like me. They were seeing those same meal posts and they, too, felt like failures for not having the “perfect” meal prepared for their families every night. And to be very real, I do not like to cook anyway. I do it because the short people around here have to have food to live. If I could avoid it, I would! This is not to say you should never post about the beautiful meals you have prepared (I always need to get recipe ideas LOL), but it’s ok to also post that you all are having Lucky Charms tonight!
Let’s remember, as we connect with our friends on social media, that none of us has the Perfect Life. We all have hard times and we all have huge blessings. When we know that, we can cheer on our fellow Moms in their successes without feeling like there’s no room to celebrate our own. And sometimes, we need to share our struggles with our joys because more often than not, there are many more women out there who are looking for someone to say “I don’t have it all together. I don’t have a perfect life. I struggle with ________. But I also can look at all the blessings I have and be grateful for them while I work on that.”
I’ll go first – I don’t have it all together. I don’t have a perfect life. I struggle with feeling stuck sometimes, like everyone else’s lives are moving on around me and I can’t get my life going (not all the time, but sometimes 🙂 ). I have dreams and plans and every once in awhile it’s hard to watch as others are seeing their dreams and plans come to pass. Even though I truly celebrate with them, there can be a small part of me that wishes I was at that point, too. But I also can look at all the blessings I have: I can work from home and support my family so I can still homeschool. I get to write, which I love to do. I have a nice townhouse in a safe neighborhood and I am thankful for that as I work toward getting a bigger home so I can stop tripping over the short people and their stuff and the cat. LOL I am well able to buy the things we need and some of the things we want as I work toward increasing my income and expanding my business. There are so many more things I am thankful for, but I just wanted to be real with you to encourage you to put aside that notion of the “Perfect Life” and embrace the one you have while you work toward making it better.
Keep Dreaming ~