You love social media, you hate social media. You find it so useful, you find it so tedious.
You have a million things to do, but before doing them you quickly scroll through Facebook and Instagram, and then boom. There it is. The picture. You know the one. The one that brings out the ugly green monster. But but, that was supposed to be me on that gorgeous family vacation, coming in first in the race, or with all those girls at the party. Trust me. I know. It happens all the time.
How do those we follow on social media always seem to have all the luck, the most beautiful and perfect lives? And alternatively you have social media connections that are always so full of animosity, spewing all sorts of hatred toward one thing or the next. It’s enough to make you want to run for the hills and go off grid. Yet you stay, just like I do, you stay. It’s such an odd thing to even think about since social media only came into play within the last decade. We scour through the newsfeed looking for nuggets of the comical, the inspirational, the uplifting and familial, but are often left having critical thoughts and not sure how to manage it.
Let me tell you a little something personal since you’ve been awesome and have followed me along on this website journey. I haven’t taken a family vacation. Ever. Well, not as a parent. My husband and I haven’t been on a vacation for just the two of us since my firstborn was one and I was pregnant with baby two, that was 7 years ago. I have set countless “races” for myself and have never come in first. I’m speaking metaphorically about the race, but I hope you get my point. I’m almost never participating in the “it’ event, you know where it seems like EVERYONE is at the same place toasting and laughing and having the best.time.ever. I’m not asking for your pity, I do lead a fun life for me, it is just different from a lot of my friends. And at times I question what the hell am I doing? Why haven’t we taken a family vacation to those gorgeous white sand beaches everyone goes to every summer, why hasn’t that been a priority of mine? And then I remember oh yeah, because that is THEIR lives. I am not them, if I try to keep up with that, I just might go crazy.
I also have a confession. Around 6 years ago I un-followed a friend with a seemingly perfect life. This person has done absolutely nothing wrong to me. I don’t see this person often, probably once every two years, but the perfection was enough to create thoughts that I was not proud to have. So I did what I had to do, I un-followed. I am embarrassed to even admit my actions, but it helped clear my mind and it wasn’t staring in my face anymore.
I’m going to share what I decided probably 6 years ago as well when I was scrolling on Facebook and realized that un-following wasn’t going to work as a practice. Every time I saw something that stirred a little bit of jealousy and I wanted to scroll past. I stopped. I scrolled back up and hit “like”. Because you know what? That friend of mine was experiencing something that was awesome. That family member, that acquaintance, that colleague was rocking it and I was happy for them. Really and truly. I realized I wasn’t jealous, I was truly in awe of what they were doing and that simple social action of liking it let them know that too. Expressing recognition for someone else doing something that I wished so dearly to do is as heart fulfilling as apologizing can be. Does that make sense? To me having to say you’re sorry can be a daunting thing, but when you do it feels so amazing to admit guilt and hope the other person accepts. That exact same feeling happens when you stop, scroll back and like or comment on a friend’s picture who is clearly having a “moment” they felt was meaningful enough to share with everyone else. You are supporting them and in turn it brings good energy back your way.
And finally, here’s my last social media survival tactic. If there is something REALLY BIG and great that I want to do, a wish as it were. I will either post it on my personal Instagram and comment that I want to do “x” and set a timeline, or I will post it to Facebook and share it only with myself as a reminder of what it is that I truly want to do in my life. Facebook can work as your story. It’s where you can publish most anything that is meaningful to you and allow everyone to see or no one but yourself. When my son turned eight this year my husband asked me why I post our children’s birthday breakfasts every year, he thinks most of what I do on social media is odd. And then I showed him the “On this day” app and was able to scroll back through years of birthday breakfast posts all in a row and watch a slideshow of our son. Each picture illustrating the shocking growth that happens every year. I think watching my children grow in these yearly slideshows shows me just how quickly time passes by and how important it is to not compare myself to someone else’s story. This is my life and my story. It’s not perfect, it’s certainly not like everyone else’s and I’m ok with that. I hope you are too.