I laughed as I looked through the album of photos we took with our little homemade selfie stand on New Year’s Eve. The contrast between the “not ready” and the “READY!” pictures is so hilarious, I had no choice but to devote this entire post to this idea.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a fabulous time.
We caught up on life, we told stories, and we laughed until we peed our pants. We ate, drank and were very merry. We played a hilarious new game. We also went to bed right after the clock struck midnight.
We are no longer spring chickens.
We’re all mamas with piles of stuff on our ever-spinning plates. Apparently so much so, that we even took this whole round of pics while Libba was in the other room! (Lucky for her, her mug missed this exciting post. Ha!) But even we noticed, while we were taking the pictures, the stark difference between “real life” and the smiles we whipped up for the camera. For the record, Jennifer was not asleep, she was just blinking. . . because in real life, we even blink!
But not on social media.
On social media we don’t blink. We’re always smiling. We’re always picture perfect. Everyone is always happy and having a wonderful time. No one is sad or lonely. Clearly, no one has lost their cool and is yelling at their kids because they are so busy being spoiled by all their presents that they cannot bother themselves to take out the trash. (never that!)
Online, we are shiny happy people holding hands.
This world of perfectly edited, filtered, and cropped social media images, makes it really hard for our brains to know what’s real. The images we see on the regular, actually mess with the chemistry in our brains. Our brains believe we are missing out on something. It appears online, that everyone else’s life is beautiful. They are happy. They have more friends than they could possibly know what to do with. Their kids are perfectly behaved little humans. And of course, their marriages are taking place in the perfection of the Garden of Eden.
In reality, we know that real life, even the lives of “celebrities”, look more like that top pic.
But the barrage of images we see online, works hard to convince our brains otherwise. Left unchecked, the constant stream of perfect images has the power to wreck your joy. It can leave you feeling “less than”. Like you are the only one who feels anything other than perfect. It can leave you feeling like there must be something wrong with you. That somehow you’re just not good enough.
Our online connectedness is one of the biggest gifts of this decade, it truly is.
But if you let yourself forget that it’s mostly the filtered, edited, and shined up facade of what’s really going on, it can steal your joy. . . one perfect image at a time.
As you head into this new year, make a conscious choice to stop and recognize that stream of images in your feed aren’t the full movie of real life. Don’t compare your full feature film to someone else’s highlight reel that’s only made for social media.
The good stuff that is real, is made up of both.
The highs and the lows. The soaring and the falling down. The dusting yourself off and starting again. The mama snuggles and the frustrations. The loving words and the apologies. The comfy PJ’s and the fancy dresses.
What’s most important is that you recognize the difference.
Is it real life or just the highlight reel, made for social media?
This week especially, while you’re embarking on this new year, practice giving your brain permission to see the difference.
to more love,
P.S. This is precisely why we do a monthly REAL LIFE girls night out. It’s easy to even make up stories about the perfect lives of your closest friends. You really have to see them in real life to hug their real necks and embrace their humanity. If you’ve had enough social media and need some face to face, rally your besties and meet us tomorrow night at the Dream Catchers GNO. We get real there. Every time.