I was talking to a friend recently and I asked her if she ever compares herself to other people to determine her own success and she said, “Yeah, when I look at Facebook.”
Maybe it’s because my Facebook feed is filled with people getting engaged, married, pregnant, or worse, looking like they have life figured out, that I’ve come to fear that I’m doing nothing and going nowhere. Or maybe the cards are stacked against us. Maybe Facebook is the embodiment of the common human experience of fearing that the grass is greener on the other side. Maybe the people who really have it figured out are the people who don’t have the time or desire to compare themselves to other people on Facebook or elsewhere.
Typically, we don’t post things to social media that explain what a hard time we’re having or that we just had a fight with our partner, our mom, our boss, or our friend. No, we use it to show other people how much we have figured out and how far we’ve come in life. We got the job, the degree, the ring, the baby – we got everything we ever wanted.
Those who know me outside of social media know that I have an honesty complex. I have never figured out how to answer the question, “How’s it going?” with anything but a thoughtful response about how it’s actually going. “Good” just does not do it for me because it doesn’t feel authentic. Honesty is one of my core values, sometimes to a fault. I struggle to even tell white lies because I value the truth so much.
So that I would create a social media image of myself as anything other than my entire complete self, struggles included, is ridiculous. And yet I do it. I do it because I want to pretend my life is perfect just like everyone else. I want to prove that I’m successful, too. That I cracked life's code.
So here is my admission. Here is my truth.
Sometimes I have bad days.
Sometimes I feel like I’m going nowhere and doing nothing.
Sometimes I get mad at one person when I’m actually pissed at someone or something else.
Sometimes I get cranky when I’m hungry, tired, in traffic, or because it’s Tuesday.
Sometimes I’m incredibly lazy.
I start books I don’t finish, but I’m much better at watching TV shows.
I want things in life I have no idea how to get.
I’m terrified of being wrong.
I want to be liked.
I’m convinced that everyone else has it figured out and that I’m behind and will never catch up.
Maybe the 20s are just a time when you constantly look around and wonder, “Is this who I want to be?” “Is this what I want to do?” “Is this how I want to spend my life?” And with Facebook, we have an all access pass to other people’s successes. We watch other people get exactly what they want.
Including the perfect relationship.
Over the weekend someone told my girlfriend, Lisa, and I that we were super cute together and asked if we ever fight. This got me thinking about the way we look at other people’s lives. [Now let me just say that Lisa and I have a loving, fun, sturdy relationship, complete with our fair share of disagreements. Especially in the kitchen.] We look at other people who we assume to have what we want and believe it’s perfect. It must be perfect! Just look at them smile lovingly into each other’s eyes.
And then we look at ourselves, our relationships, our jobs, our decisions. We see our own truth: that our lives are not perfect. We see our struggles and our frustrations and we believe on some deep level that other people have things we don’t have because we see glimpses of their seemingly perfect lives but we have to live in our own.
Or maybe it’s just me.
So the way I see it, I have two options: quit social media or change the game. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
P.S. I’m just gunna leave this here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexlee/my-house-is-always-this-clean#.hpZDGQOZd