Comparison is the death of joy. – Mark Twain
It must be that time of year because I seem to be having the same conversation with everyone. How do we compare? Its natural for all of us to look at our neighbors and wonder, How do I measure up? or How does my life compare?
When the show Friends was on, I remember thinking, How do a coffee shop waitress, a masseuse, and a chef afford a 3 bedroom apartment in Manhattan? Answer: They dont. Its a set. These arent real people.
I have to say that I think being content with life was a lot easier before social media. Imagine going to a friends much bigger house for dinner. You walk in and the place is immaculate. Your host jokingly comments, Sorry the place is such a mess. I just didnt have time to clean it after work, my book club meeting, and my yoga class. You think to yourself, Wow. My house looks like a hurricane blew through and left garbage all over the floor, and I didnt make it out of my pajama pants until 3 PM. Plus, I think I wore my socks inside out to work yesterday. You start to feel bad about yourself and your unfortunate lot in life. Now imagine going to this friends awesome house EVERY SINGLE DAY. Thats social media.
What you dont realize is that she actually had to take the day off of work to clean the place up. She hasnt been to yoga in a month, and she hated every single minute of the book club meeting because she didnt have time to read the book between her childrens middle of the night puking sessions. Why not just say that? Because its not in our nature to admit that we have flaws. And its not in our nature to share those flaws with the world via social media.
On multiple platforms, you can show the world how amazing you are. Sounds great, unless you get sucked into the thought process that everyone is doing way better than me.
Sure, some people may have a charmed life and everything seems to go right for them, but the reality is that no ones life is that charmed. Im sure youve heard the quote by a North Carolina pastor – One of the reasons we struggle with insecurity is because were comparing our behind the scenes with everybody elses highlight reel.
On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I give you my highlight reel. I present cute photos of Mia and Fynn, but I dont take photos of Fynns temper tantrums or Mias many appointments or my messy house. Those arent pretty. They arent fun to talk about. No amount of pretty filters on Instagram are going to make those better.
All of the social media sites are a nice way to stay in touch, but they arent a nice way to bench-mark our lives. We rarely let people into our darker thoughts or our truly embarrassing moments. Theres a good reason for that. Some things are private and should remain that way.
Social media sites are small talk at a cocktail party.
And small talk is just fine just as long as we dont assume that were getting the full story. If I spend all day comparing my messy life to everyone elses Facebook life, I will always come up short.
So enjoy the status updates, the photos, the shared videos and fun quotes, but dont let the highlight reels get you down. Im sure your highlight reel looks pretty good too.