Recently I posted a picture from my Galapagos Retreat on my Facebook page. Under it I had written, “Everyone should try and go to the Galapagos once in their life.” Under that, someone had commented, “Look at your life, Jen. Must be nice. How many people do you think can realistically travel to the Galapagos, Jen?”
First off, I had to resist writing back to the sarcastic poster with, "Should I not post about this magical place and urge people to visit because of all the people that may never be able to go there?" Or, "Everyone on my retreat saved up for a long time to come." I posted nothing in retort. But the thing about this particular comment that got me was the idea that this person was making up a story about how awesome my life is.
Don’t get me wrong. My life is awesome. Except when it’s not. Except when I am dealing with depression or anxiety or am at my sister’s and her son, who has Prader-Willi Syndrome is trying to pull all of his hair out. Or, when I can't hear due to my hearing loss and I feel totally lost and helpless.
I’m guilty of it too, sometimes. I’ll look on another writer’s Facebook and think, Oh, they're publishing their third book and I have published … zero. Or, Wow, I wish I had that kitchen. Look how big it is! That fridge! Or, They seem so happy all the time.
It’s easy to look on Instagram at the pictures of people in crazy arm balances and inversions and feel like you suck at yoga, and that their life must be perfect. (Side note: being able to do crazy arm balances and inversions does not maketh a perfect life.)
Comparing ourselves is dangerous business. Especially when we do it online or with the media. Almost everything we see on the Internet is a careful construct.
As I said in the video above, "Even this is a construct." I pushed the vacuum out of the way, and the sneakers, and the dirty clothes.
Be aware of when you're making up stories about someone based on what you are reading/seeing/stalking.
(Come on, we all stalk. That’s the nature of social media.)
We never know what someone’s life is like behind closed doors. When they're weeping, or in pain. Or when just found out they have cancer. But is it ever easy to deem their life more perfect than ours by looking at the things they post!
It’s a trap.
Do not wallow in your own suckery.
That’s what happens when you start to compare yourself with people. I know this firsthand. I am writing this from years of wallowing in my own suckery experience.
The grass is NOT always greener. Sometimes it’s brown. And needs watering.
I love the Internet. I'm addicted to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but I have become very mindful to take everything with a grain (or a bottle) of salt and to notice when I start to play the “Their life is better than mine” game.
It’s a no-win situation.
Be happy for people when being happy for them is called for. From the depths of your being happy for them place, be happy for them. But don’t assume or compare or make it mean anything about you.
It’s kind of stupefying to stand where you are in your own life and be content. Perhaps even happy.
So, in the name of the grass is NOT always greener, let’s all remember to look inward a little more rather than looking out so much.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com