Facebook, the most popular social media in the country. People get to invent themselves in all different ways and portray the pictures of their lives in just the way they want to. And what about your children? The best, most beautiful, smartest kids ever. Where posting SAT scores has become commonplace, along with college acceptances, prom dates and vacationing on every beach worldwide.
Today someone posted, “Vail or Aspen”? Gee, what a dilemma, trying to figure out where to go on your next vacation. And what makes you think that anyone might care what your grandchild ate for breakfast or look at a picture of your home cooked meal? The daily inspirational quotes are quite inspiring, as well as the declaration of love to your spouse, significant other, and pet.
I don’t think that Facebook was ever intended to cause so much depression among those who don’t really live an exciting, decadent life. After all, how many people post a picture of their spouse sleeping on the couch after a major blow up? Facebook, the land where everyone has the perfect life- the perfect marriage- the perfect children.
You wake up and check your FB newsfeed, only to watch everyone’s wonderful life going on around you. It seems that no one has a boring day, or is in a bad mood, or isn’t off to some exotic party or impressive trip.
Here’s the bulletin. Facebook isn’t the real world. It is the internet world.
I recently saw a post which said “Being popular on Facebook, is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria in a mental institution.” How many of the hundreds of thousands of collected friends could you put down as a contact number in an emergency? We are a voyeur into other peoples lives- but only the part they want us to see.
More and more clients are coming to me mentioning that everyone else has a much more exciting life than they do. How do they know? They bought into the imaginary Facebook world. How do I know? I see these people in therapy- the ones who are posting how great their lives are. The stories are imaginary. We invent stories to accompany the pictures. The stories are a perfect fairytale life.*
It doesn’t exist. All the people on Facebook are just like you and me. They have good days and bad days. They fight with their children, friends, parents, and employers- just like you. They want to portray to the world a sunnier life than they possess. Maybe it makes them feel better to let other people see how “great” their lives are. Maybe it makes us feel better to post pictures and events in order to convince ourselves that our lives are better than their lives.
I recently had a birthday celebration. It was more than I could ask for.People asked me what I wanted for my birthday. All I wanted was their “time”. It was a gift they could give me that they could never get back. I was more than accommodated. I had celebration after celebration. I felt gifted and blessed. I, too, posted these fabulous events. But, I did not post them to make me look better than someone else. I posted them because I was so grateful for the time shared with these people who celebrated me. I felt so lucky and appreciated.
Now, I am back to my not so exciting existence. Am I still posting pictures of my life? Yes, once in a while- but the posts are about me- not about my fabulous children or my life which is, at times, better or not better, than yours.
So, next time you wake up and look at your newsfeed on Facebook, remember that we never really know what struggle someone is facing for that day. Try to look at it as people posting their celebrations, and keeping the disasters private. Some have more celebrations than others, and some look at events as celebrations that we may not. I post pictures of going to the beach with friends. To me, that is a great day. Sometimes, we have to look at the small pleasures in life, and let them make us happy.
We all know that around the corner, there is always something that will come along that we will have to deal with. As we get older, the celebrations are fewer and farther apart. So, today when you wake up- find things to celebrate. Life can be difficult at times. So, let’s stay with the things that put a smile on our faces for as long as we can. Even if it is just a picture.