A while back I read a blog post that struck a chord with me. Several variations of this post have gone around, but the general thesis is that people should stop sharing the airbrushed versions of their lives on social media and should be more authentic. The author talks about how these idyllic pictures and status updates breed envy, comparison and a false idea of what our lives are really like. Yeah, there’s truth to that, and I’m all about being “real” and not just projecting edited versions of ourselves. But there’s something deeper that I feel is the real issue. It’s not how we portray our lives to others, but how we perceive life for ourselves that really causes our dissatisfaction and trouble.
All of us have beautiful moments and rough moments that fill each of our days. What’s wrong with focusing on the beautiful moments? Not to get ‘likes’ on social media or give the sense that things are better than they are, but to have a genuinely positive outlook of the life you’re living?
As a new mom I could probably get as many ‘likes’ for either the airbrushed version of my life with a beautiful baby or the raw version that includes messy diapers and sleeplessness. (I personally think that I shouldn’t be posting at all if external validation or lack thereof is going to affect how I feel about my life.) How I portray my life to others is less important than how I portray/perceive my life to myself.
The same experiences, seen with and without rose colored glasses, look entirely different. Why NOT wear rose colored glasses when looking at our own lives?
Here’s an example of my day today:
Georgia slept until 6:30am!
I was trashed by 10am but took my first nap in years
Georgia and I took a walk by the river with lovely weather
RJ came home for lunch AND we had an hour together at dinner before his Church meetings
Georgia enjoyed bath-time for the first time and was soo sweet all day without being too clingy/needy
I wore yoga pants and no make-up and felt zero guilt about it
The whole day flew by-I’m not sure where it went
My outlook was fairly positive already, but when I put on rose colored glasses I could also add:
Dear friends and family checked in on us today
I haven’t worried about work in weeks
RJ and I had wonderful conversations about our family, future, and random stuff
Our amazing pediatrician responded quickly to an email to assure me all was well
The simplicity of my current life is surprisingly fulfilling
I am in love with motherhood, and Georgia is an ideal baby
I’m passionately in love with my husband
The generosity and kindness of others has fed us for weeks, outfitted the baby’s whole life, and taken a huge burden off of us physically, time-wise, financially, and emotionally. We are SO supported.
Now here are the less pretty parts of the day:
Georgia blew out of her pants. Twice.
I have to change my own clothes as much as baby’s because all of her spit-ups and diapers get on me
I live in a run-down neighborhood in an old drafty house which makes it hard to keep the baby warm.
I don’t have a dishwasher and I hate doing the dishes.
The river we walk by is so polluted the city workers wear hazmat suits when they go near it.
My clothes still don’t fit.
I didn’t shower until 3pm.
My body is still recovering from birth and adjusting to nursing. We’ll leave it at that.
RJ has been horribly ill for 9 days, coughs like crazy and feels horrible. Therefore he can’t touch the baby (more diapers and holding a crying baby for me and a less happy baby and daddy)
My memory/brain seem to have transformed into mashed potatoes. I can’t remember or accomplish anything on my to-do list, and my capacity to form complex thoughts is diminished.
I personally like what I saw through the rose colored glasses today and making the list of the negative things made me less happy about a day that felt wonderful before. It’s easy to think of our days in terms of what we ‘do’ or in terms of what was good and bad. Maybe not so easy, but perhaps better, is thinking in terms of what we see throughout our day. And personally, I prefer what I see through rose colored glasses.
People have different reasons for what they put on social media. Maybe they are asking for support, seeking validation, wanting to share their happiness, trying to keep up with friends, or just bored. Whatever their reason, if we receive their posts with a compassionate heart, we’ll probably be less irked or envious. Instead, we can rejoice with those that rejoice and mourn with those that mourn. But beyond social media are all of the posts that are never public, but are written on ‘the fleshy tablets of the heart’. Let’s look deeply at those around us, and offer our support “likes” and encouragement “comments” there, as well.
This essay was originally published at https://thedispencery.wordpress.com/.