Hello again, y’all! I hope whoever had a three-day weekend thoroughly enjoyed the extra time off.
This week, I’ve been thinking about a theme that keeps coming up over and over again in my life. You probably know it well too: It’s that oh so painful comparison of where we are in life versus where someone else is. #kwim
Social Media is a Highlight Reel
As many of you know, football season is upon us (WOOHOO, it’s my FAVE sport to watch and it also means cooler temps are coming!!!!!). For any sports fans out there, you know how there’s a big difference between the actual game and the 30-second highlight clips the announcers show after the game’s over? I think the answer that just flicked through your mind here is something like, “Um, duh, Michelle!”
So what’s the major difference between the real game and the highlights? All the waiting, the slow but steady march up and down the field, and the counting of minutes and seconds as they go by, all the while hoping your team will win. But then, every once in a while, KABLAM! There’s a spectacular play made that gets touted to kingdom come afterward.
You may already know where I’m going with this, but I think life’s almost exactly the same. We spend hours and days and weeks and years slogging after what we want, fighting the good fight, slowly but surely chipping away at our lofty goals and dreams. But then, every once in a while, KABLOOEY! Something amazing happens, and BLAM! We post it on facebook, twitter and every other social media loudspeaker we have access to. #amiright?
You’ll notice, however, that you likely didn’t post all the dreary updates in the meantime. Like, “Day 73: I know my abs are in there somewhere. … Day 89: I ate three cookies. Abs have further hidden themselves behind more butter-rich fat. … Day 104: I’m almost there! I wore my skinny jeans to dinner, ate way too much (since I did my big workout this morning), but I could still breathe AND I didn’t have to unbutton said jeans! WOOO!!!! One more inch to shred!”
How Long Did That Cookie Take to Bake?
With that in mind, the next time you see someone post something that would normally send you into a tailspin (e.g. the girl you know who’s always been 20 pounds overweight suddenly looks like a Victoria’s Secret model in her teensy string bikini on a beach in Waikiki) FORCE YOURSELF TO STOP. Take a breath.
Yes, she has accomplished that amazing feat (we hope without any sort of unnatural help — COUGHliposuctionCOUGH), but for how long did she have to work to get to where she is now? Make yourself pause and think about it. Like an amazingly delicious and perfectly baked cookie, a lot of unseen time and work went into giving you the delicious morsel you’re enjoying — from the development of the recipe, to buying and mixing of the ingredients, to the baking and cooling of the cookie… You get my point.
Pay Attention to Extreme Emotional Reactions
If, when you saw the aforementioned lady’s post, you had a surprising surge of anger or sadness or what have you, don’t just write it off as a “weird reaction.” Take a second to consider where it’s coming from.
For example: Did you feel a huge rush of jealousy when your distant friend posted that her book was picked up by a big publisher? If so, why is that? Is it because you’ve always wanted to write, but you’ve never been able to find time to sit down and start chipping away at it?
Or, were you irrationally upset by a picture of someone on an amazing vacation? Is that because deep down you’re a vagabond who’s dying to take off and see the world, but instead, you’re raising three young kids, working your rump off during the week, and only ever get a change of scenery when you have to drive to one of the kids’ games or take them to a friend’s house in the neighboring town? #slowlyraiseshand
Whatever it is, these intense emotional surges can help inform us regarding what it is that we REALLY want from life. Pay attention to them. Trust that they’re happening for a reason; so that you can learn from the emotions and start enacting change in your own life instead of just growing more and more bitter over time from watching everyone else’s highlight reels play out before your very eyes. In short, turn your jealousy into motivation.
What do you do to keep all things social media in perspective? You KNOW I love to hear from you!