If you were to walk into my house right now… right this very instant, this is what you would see.
CLEAN! Right? This is the type of picture I’d totally post to Instagram or Facebook to show off how impressed I am with myself that my house can look this nice. You might even post a similar picture and I’d see it pop up on my feed and I would think “HOW is their house that clean?! Why can’t MY house look like that? I’m so envious”.
Or maybe you post pictures of your children running through a sprinkler, laughing their little hearts out and, as both my girls sit at my feet having full-blown simultaneous meltdowns, I would maybe think “WHY can’t my children just be good/happy/better behaved, ______ (insert ANYTHING here) like THOSE children. I’m so envious”.
Or maybe you post pictures of you and your partner on a ‘date night’. And if I had just gotten in an argument with my husband, or things aren’t as peachy as I felt they should be, I would be thinking “why can’t MY relationship be like that? I’m so envious”.
Oh but wait, I think I just posted a picture of my own children laughing their little hearts out just recently, maybe even running through water.
And wait, I just posted a picture last night about a special 4 day trip my husband has planned for us to celebrate a belated 5 year wedding anniversary.
On my Instagram feed, you’ll see me dressed up to go out for an event. I do not get dressed up like that every day (and sometimes not even every week or couple of weeks for what it’s worth). These pictures make me feel good about myself, which I don’t always feel. So, I share them to put out there that I’ve put effort into my appearance that particular evening or for that particular event, or whatever! I’m much less inclined to post photos of what I look like when I roll out of bed, and so are most people. A good reminder that what I see from others is usually also effort put into their appearance and, as I sit in my ripped jean shorts, hair a mess, also an important reminder that I’m seeing the best of their best moments. A highlight reel of their life.
What we see on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc) are the good times. The special moments. That’s why they’re up there for everyone to see and for us to remember. Those pictures make up our highlight reels. They’re the moments we want to relive and to cherish. They are not EVERY moment of our days and weeks and months.
Those sweet little girls I show you pictures of, they challenge me to no end. Sometimes I yell, sometimes I cry and sometimes I run as far away from the house as possible the minute Brian walks through our front door at the end of the day. That picture of my clean, organized house, in an hour from now, I’ll wonder why I even bother cleaning it. And the pictures of my husband and I kissing and seeming perfectly in love and all things just lovey-dovey… highlight reel, my friends.
This is the danger of social media. One of the dangers. We are comparing ourselves to unrealistic ideals. It’s so easy to imagine what someone’s life is like based on their Instagram feed, and boy that life often looks beyond glamorous. We cannot do this to ourselves. We need to live our lives free of envy from the lives we THINK others are living.
I vow to try and keep it real every now and again, to show others I’m right there with them in their times of panic, but also to remind myself that life has its ups and downs, that the downs will pass… and the ups, well, they’ll be documented on Instagram for all to see. 😉
Ps. This is what my house looks like most of the time. #keepingitreal