Unless I'm having a therapy session or hanging out with my closest friend, I'm not typically inclined to announce that I'm feeling *off.* That I'm not quite right. My puzzle pieces are scattered, I have a lot on my brain and I'm feeling a little out of sorts. On my personal Facebook page, I probably won't mention that my inner dialog isn't the most positive, I'm about as unoriginal as they come. I won't post that I'm used up, out of ideas and admit I feel like my life as less than average.
Nope. Not gonna' post *THAT* out *THERE*
I think we ALL have a tendency to edit our lives into well-produced highlight reels before we broadcast on social media. We like the good stuff. The glitter. The good lighting. The over the head shot. The smiles. The cute outfit. The fun night out. The community service. The exercise. We want our friends and followers to know what we ate, where we've traveled, what we purchased. And please swoon over adorable pictures of our kids. Or pets. It's like a gift with purchase if you get kids and pets in the same post. We want everyone to see the life is good stuff.
Occasionally we'll pepper in some of the bad stuff to remain credible. But a lot of the bad stuff we post is our attempt to make us relatable. We write things about long lines at the DMV, getting called for jury duty, losing a wallet or a debit card, or dealing with a flat tire. We'll talk about inconveniences. We'll connect with people about bad luck. That's our community. Our bond with others is based on the everyday trials of life. Surface problems. A mile wide and an inch deep.
But community is deeper than that and compassion and empathy is still there but it's effectiveness is blurred by thumb rolling a screen on our phones. Do you allow the world or at least your closest friends know that your life isn't what you thought it would be? Would you dare to write in so many limited characters that some days...really suck?
Posting about the real hurts, the deep cuts (and we all have them) or sharing about uncomfortable realities of being a human might be cheating the system or at least setting yourself up for ridicule and judgement. Because what about the times you're broke? What are your wealthy friends going to think if you tweet - "I'm broke until payday so I'm mining the car and the sofa for change to buy something for the kids to eat." Or what about the anguish of watching someone you've loved your entire life fade away? Do you post a picture of them, frail and thin...The last of their spirit hidden behind watery eyes a million miles away? Do you want to scream on your Facebook post about why people don't understand how lonely you feel? Will they judge your life and blame you for your own isolation? They don't understand what burdens you carry....so do you go through the trouble or decide it's just not worth the limited amount of effort you have left?
Dad has cancer and I'm scared to lose him.
My wife ignores me.
I lost my job.
My daughter flunked out of college.
The bank repossessed our car.
I think my son is using drugs because he's bullied at school.
My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.
We lost our baby. Our third one.
Mom has Alzheimer's. She lives alone but we can't afford the care.
My husband cheated. He left me...and our kids.
My business won't make it. I'm closing it.
We were accused. We may lose everything to fight it in the courts.
Life is messy, but you are not. You are beautifully and wonderfully made even though life doesn't feel so beautiful or wonderful. Our unhappiness breaks the unwritten Stepford rule that we have to project all things good, cozy and expensive. Social media like so many other things help us mentally escape our troubles, even if it's temporary. Like when we go to the movies, go for a walk, or read a book, for a brief period of time, we forget all the suck. But it's important to find our community. Our realness. The people who are fighting the same fights. The support groups. The Mother's groups. The Yogis, the classes, the churches, the synagogues. The online communities for cancer, or Alzheimer's or alcoholism. If you need help, get it. You're never as alone as you feel.
Be brave enough to say, life is messy, but I'm not.
You'll find your tribe and then you can soldier through this messy life together.
Seeds to Share:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.