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?
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.