“You’re life is so perfect.”
I met the comment with a curious half smile and confused twisted eyebrows. My life? Perfect?
“What in the world gave you that idea?”, I replied.
“I’m always looking at the pictures you post on Facebook and you’re always so happy. Your family and life is just…perfect.”
My heart sunk when I realized what had happened.
Facebook made me flawless.
At least appear to be.
I had unintentionally created an image of myself, my family and my life that does not exist. I didn’t mean to misrepresent myself, but I did. It’s so easy to display an edited, more viewer friendly version of yourself; skimming the top of your day without getting into the depths of the messy details.
So here’s the truth.
I only post pretty pictures of myself. If my muffin top is hanging over my pants in a photo, I either crop it or delete the photo altogether. If the angle or lighting is unflattering, not a problem…I’ll just use a filter. I’m even guilty of digitally correcting a blemish and lightening the bags under my eyes. Yup. I’ve done that.
I only post happy family photos. Facebook is a great way to stay connected to loved ones who live hundreds of miles away. But the pictures I share are usually the kinds you keep in your wallet. I’ve never posted one of my toddler peeing on the floor or having a mega meltdown because I won’t give her 7 cookies…or let her eat the dog’s food. I’ve never posted a picture of both my daughters scream crying for 10 long, looooong minutes while I also breakdown and cry like a baby thinking to myself, “How can I balance it all today?” Those are not happy wallet worthy photos, so they don’t make the cut.
I only post positive status updates. I’ll share a Bible verse that has encouraged me that week, but rarely will I mention that the reason the verse hit me so powerfully is because I’ve felt empty for weeks- emotionally depleted, physically worn. I question whether I’m qualified to make a difference. I battle self-doubt and insecurity in my appearance and in my journey as a mother, a wife, a woman. But none of that is consistently seen. You just get the pretty glimpse, not the ugly stare down.
Behind every pretty, happy photo that’s posted, there are a dozen other life-snapshots filled with toddler tantrums, tired makeup-less faces, arguments, self-doubt and muffin tops.
That is the real me. That is my real life. My messy, imperfect, love-filled life.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick
So let’s try to remember that the hearts on the other side of the computer screens have a lot going on. And heaven knows how many outtakes it took to get one good photo to share with the digital world. If we want to know the real person, let’s stop observing them through a glass screen and grab a cup of coffee with them instead. Face to face, heart to heart. Not to try to find their flaws, but to get involved in the realness. Because that’s what life is about, connecting and loving each other in our beautiful messes.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”