How does one be real and authentic in a #filtered world?


I was talking with a friend the other day who had deactivated their Facebook account. Initially I had assumed I was blocked because this person had been an avid poster with their account full of witty status updates, Instagram pics of a seemingly perfect life, and basically looking like they were enjoying everything that came their way. The life they shared online looked glorious where they got tons of comments and likes on practically everything. (Meanwhile I’m sitting here cheering when I get ONE person to like something.) So it was a rather big shock to hear that their reason for leaving was because they were tired of seeing other people having lives while they weren’t having one of their own due to constantly having to work all the time. I was like “But YOU looked like YOU were having the life!” I would have never guessed that they were jealous of other people because to me, I was jealous of their life. Like seriously, I found myself feeling like I was never going to be seen as cool enough based on everything they posted and found myself trying to post things on my wall to get THEIR approval. In reality, they were only trying to make the best of what was rather a grueling and tiring life.

It’s funny how with social media we get jealous of people for sharing their perfect lives, annoyed with people for oversharing their not so perfect lives, and then with our own personal lives, we just try to hide everything. We’ll either put up a facade where it looks like we’ve got it all together. This can either be on social media or even in person.

Yet inside we’re hurting and wondering if there’s anyone else out there who feels the same way we do.

How do I know this? Because for years I did this. When I was going through the worst parts of the years leading to my divorce, you would have had no idea based on my Facebook statuses or my Tweets or even if you saw me in person. I was determined to hide it and fake it so that no one would know what was going on. I didn’t want people to start judging me so I just hid everything to the point where it was like I was living a double life. You would have never known how much I was struggling during those years and what was actually going on in my real life.

And yet, sometimes there were cracks. Every now and then a rather emotional status would pop up because I couldn’t hold it in. But because I never hinted or alluded to it at any other time, the random statuses look odd and no one says anything, and it does come off as oversharing. If you’ve been positive so much and then get randomly real, it makes people uncomfortable because they don’t know what to do.

Sometimes though you don’t even need to share anything at all and it’ll still have the same effect. People who don’t post anything online but still don’t talk about it in real life either have extremely private lives or extremely boring lives. It’s not a crack at you. You just either don’t want to share things with everyone or you have nothing to share. Though I will say that if you don’t post things online but you continue to look at everyone else’s, well….you’re basically just being a voyeur aren’t you?

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But this is what I currently struggle with now. How can I be real and authentic without oversharing, being too dramatic or appear overally emotional? How can I ask a Christian show both those who share my faith and those that don’t that life is not always perfect but through it all I am getting through it because of my faith? I feel like other Christians tend to hide behind their faith and we don’t want to share the messy because we’re supposed to have it altogether. If anything, we’re supposed to have 100% trust in God and anytime we show doubt or anger or uncertainty, it looks as if we don’t, therefore it’ll appear as if we don’t have strong enough faith.

If I see someone with wonderful pictures all the time of a seemingly perfect life with their kids, significant others, DIY projects, food, car, house, job, etc. my two initial thoughts are “Why do they have it all together and I don’t?” or “Are they hiding something behind all the perfectness?” The problem is I don’t know what the truth is. Even if I know them pretty well. I’ve seen people put up their struggles on social media, not whining about petty things, but real honest struggles that makes them seem more authentic to me only to have other people blast them for being negative. So these people DO want to see a facade?

Yes, I get that a lot of you come to Facebook to escape your own life. You present the best parts of yourself online. You don’t people to see your messy and while you want to see if others are experiencing struggles, you overall don’t want to swim in theirs either. It’s a convoluted process.

All I know is that I want to try to be real and authentic when portraying myself even though it’s hard and at the same time to NOT get jealous or feel inadequate when seeing everyone else. I highly doubt anyone is jealous of mine. Right now it’s all me basically being excited about the new Avengers movie, defending Hawkeye, and all the books I’m reading. It’s my actual life and I’m not being fake about it. Taking myself offline isn’t going to be the answer for me. I’m sure I’ll figure this out…..

In the meantime, posts like this bring me back down to earth: The Reality Behind Instagram Feeds.


Hey Jealousy

It’s so easy to get jealous. And it’s also crazy the thing small tiny things we get jealous over.

Shawn Lantz, the speaker at the women’s retreat, spent a lot of the first session talking about this. Because as women, we tend to get jealous a lot. And it’s become a stereotype for us. I personally do believe that men get jealous as well, but they are less willing to admit it, at least not publicly. But for women, it’s so present in our lives every day about how we compare ourselves to each other and feel like we can never measure up. It’s a never ending battle we have with each other and with our own selves.

To highlight some of the things Shawn talked about, everything she said specifically will be in quotes.

Four core issues that a jealous heart wrestles with

God, can I trust you?
God, do you love me?
God, are you good?
God, are you just?

“There is no shame in admitting I struggle with jealousy.”

One of the things Shawn mentioned is how it can be easier to admit you have an anger issue than a jealousy problem. And I think that’s true. We’ve been ingrained throughout our entire lives that jealously is wrong and we shouldn’t be feeling it. But yet it still happens. For example, Facebook is the best way to make yourself feel inadequate. Look at all the things other people are doing! They got engaged! They got married! They bought a house! They are pregnant! They had a boy! They had a girl! They went on vacation! They look perfect! And then we feel like we have to one up them….or just give up and admit defeat that we will never have lives as good as theirs look. I probably should just stop using Facebook for a while but I’m not ready to yet.

Maybe there are some people who never have to deal with jealousy. And kudos to them for honestly feeling that way. That’s awesome that you have found a way to never compare yourself to others and want things others have. I’m jealous of you for being that way. HAH.

I had a discussion with one of my girlfriends about how jealously in western culture tends to be visually based. We get jealous of material items and body images because that’s what society throws at us. I do believe however that jealously is universal though. In other parts of the world there’s a different type of jealousy. I think humans crave emotional affection and attention so if we don’t get that, there’s always going to be some sort of envy.

A personal confession? I get jealous. It can be a struggle right now with all my friends who are in relationships and I’m not after attempts to have relationships keep failing. Every time I receive news that a friend gets engaged, while I’m extremely happy for them, I break down into tears. I’m jealous that they have found someone who chooses to love them. And I want that so badly and it hurts when it won’t happen. I feel like something is wrong with me and wonder what they have that I don’t.

But the thing is I also know that even if I get this one thing fulfilled, if not handled correctly and I don’t fix where my heart is, my jealousy won’t stop there. Because people who are dating get jealous of people who get engaged. People who are engaged get jealous of those who are getting married before them. People who are married get jealous of those who are single. People who aren’t pregnant yet get jealous of those who are pregnant. People are pregnant are jealous of those who have easier pregnancies than they do. People who have boys get jealous of those who have girls and vice versa. People who have kids get jealous of those who don’t have kids. People get jealous of those who have bought houses, cars, vacations, etc.

There are so many things we get jealous over. And it’s never going to end.

I wonder sometimes how could anyone possibly be jealous of me? I don’t have my life together at all. I never have anything interesting happen in my life. I’ve had really bad things happen in my life. What could you possibly think is awesome in my life that is not in yours? Not trying to be cynical here.

Comparison – we become disgruntled with what once made us content

We believe that our obedience entitles us to more than what we were promised

We want God’s blessings to us to match our desires and/or sense of justice.

Since I struggle with this from time to time, I know at least for me I have to just admit I feel this way vs hide it under a rug and ignore it. And when I admit it, then at least I can face the problem and try to fix it. What usually ends up happening is when I feel it’s getting too bad, I pray a lot.  God shows me what I can be grateful for, but not in a way that makes me feel guilty.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

Jealousy is ugly. It’s not becoming and it’s not a quality trait. I’m not going to lie and say that I never have it. I just need to deal with it in a more positive way.

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