Have you ever envied a Facebook friend? The one whose life seems picture-perfect every single day? Do you wonder how they juggle their amazing jobs, intriguing hobbies, unique date nights, straight-A kids, immaculate houses, and well-rounded lives?
I measure myself against that mom who shares her creative homeschool lessons on Facebook, feeling like what I do is boring. I see another friend’s post-salon Instagram headshot when the ponytail has been my hairstyle of choice for three days straight. I allow the highlights of someone else’s life to taint my everyday joy.
Then I wonder if I’m doing the same thing to someone else.
A quick flip through my own Facebook wall is pretty telling.
I see our daughter with friends around a weekend campfire. Yet the picture doesn’t show the struggles that came with that weekend.
I see an exciting business accomplishment with congratulations from many friends. Yet the post doesn’t reveal the exhaustion and tears that went along with it.
I see information about a fun event. Yet the event pictures don’t reflect how tired and cranky we all were when we got home for a hurried bedtime routine.
Are my Facebook posts showing you the real me? Or are they convincing you that my life is all highlights all the time?
Real life isn’t Pinterest-perfect or filtered like an Instagram snapshot. Life has natural highs and lows, times when I want to show a victory via photo collage and times when I ask friends to cover a need in prayer. It’s fun to share the highlights of life. But it’s important have someone – or a group of people – to share the reality of the struggles, the messiness of the day-to-day, and the imperfections that make life beautiful.
I recently had a real-life conversation with a friend I met on Facebook. (I love when that happens!) We chatted for a bit about homeschooling and crazy family schedules. But then we got down to the nitty gritty and talked about some of our parenting struggles. We realized that we both struggle with the same type of attitude, one that needs to be changed. It was refreshing to have a truly honest conversation like that! My friend knocked my socks off when she looked at me and said, “Thank you for being real about that.”
I want my friends to see the real me. When I let the walls down and expose both the beautiful and the messy parts of life, I can relax and be myself. If I let friends see the real me, it gives them permission to be real too. Then we can all stop worrying about ruining the images we’ve created.
So maybe it’s time to leave our Facebook envy behind and realize that what we’re seeing online is only a snapshot of someone’s life. Maybe we can celebrate a friend’s proud moments while knowing that those moments are sprinkled throughout the ordinary of their lives.
And maybe we can find safe places to just be ourselves, messy and all.