My (Not So) Perfect Life .... on Facebook

Last week I came across a blog post called The Facebook Effect.

It's about how women can be so unaware of and ungrateful for their own blessings, thinking that the grass is always greener because of the "perfect" lives that others show on display on social media sites. Specifically, Facebook. You should totally read it after you finish this post. You can find it here.

I loved everything about it. It is so true that we often accumulate feelings towards someone based on assumptions. Based on what we merely THINK their life is like. But we really don't know anyone's individual struggles. I also really liked the last part of the post. The author says:   

 "You see, Facebook is not the place to air your dirty laundry, and most people recognize that. Just because your Facebook friends only post about the "perfect" parts of their life, it doesn't mean that their lives are without imperfections. More than likely, they aren't trying to be misleading. It's just that Facebook is a public forum, and is not an appropriate place to share things of a private or more sensitive nature."

So this got me thinking. I always post about great days we have. Fun things we do. How blessed I am to have married my husband. How awesome my kid is. ;) Sure, I load my blog down with stories of exhaustion and struggles, and let's face it, the not so pretty days. But I reserve these stories for my blog because this is where I've chosen to do so. I know I don't have a ton of readers and most that do read are close friends and family, so I'm not sharing the more private side of my life with all of my facebook friends if I choose not to.

That brought me to the question: Do people think I'm pretending to have a "perfect life" on Facebook? I thought about it long and hard. Am I one of those people where others read about my marriage and roll their eyes, say GAG under their breath, and keep scrolling? Am I one of the people where others read about how much I love being a stay at home mom and on a hard day for them they say "yeah right! like it's that easy!" and get annoyed? 

I mean, we've all seen those funny Ecards that get posted all over the internet and one in particular I remember seeing was - " I hope your life is as PERFECT as you pretend it is on facebook!" .. always followed with comments from the posters like - "Exactly!" or "FOR REAL!" and you can read the bitterness right there in their words. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that .... well, if people feel that way, that's really not my problem. I'm going to post the sweet things my son does during the day. I'm going to post what an amazing family I have and how wonderful my husband is. And I'm going to post how much I LOVE being a stay at home mom. I'm going to post it, well, a lot. And there are people who are going to get tired of reading about it. Does it mean my life is perfect? Ha! Well, just take a minute to read my other adventures on this blog and you can see that I have my bad days too. But one thing I have learned as I have grown up and grown as a person is that you can either be jealous of other people's happiness and always try to compete with them and bring them down -or- you can rejoice in their successes, be happy when they have a great marriage and career and when they have fun with their children. Trying to bring others down doesn't bring you up ... making them look like a bad person doesn't magically make you look like a good one. Showing them in an ugly light doesn't make you look any more attractive. And making them feel rotten for their happiness doesn't make your life any better. In fact, all of these things do the exact opposite. As my grandfather used to say - "Blowing out another fella's candle doesn't make yours burn any brighter." Some of the most Godly people I know are those that love to see happiness in others, especially when they are facing trials of their own.

I'm reminded of a quote that says: "Most people do not see the world as it is. They see it as they are." So maybe if we assume that someone is writing something for the world to see, not just out of love and excitement but with different implications behind it, maybe we should ask ourselves ... do I feel this way about them because maybe that is what I DO?

And PDA. That's a whole other subject. I had a friend post a survey once about how people feel about public display of affection toward their loved ones on Facebook. His argument was that you don't have to post it for others to read if your spouse is in the next room. Just go tell them. And that the people who post those things must really have awful marriages and they are trying to mislead everyone into thinking they've got it so good. Though most people disagreed with that position, the ones who agreed were so bitter toward those that do post these things that it almost made me sad. I mean, by all means, if you don't want to wish your spouse a happy birthday and tell them that you love them on Facebook, then don't. But the way I see it is, I tell my husband all the time in private how thankful I am to have him and how much I love him. But as we all know, men need respect and honor from their wives. They need to feel adored and looked up to. What better way to show honor to your husband than to not only tell him in private what you appreciate, but to also let others know what a good man he is and how well he leads your home? Has anyone ever complained about a spouse bragging on them to others? It's always a good feeling to know that your husband or wife is proud enough of you or appreciates you enough that they risk the embarrassment (especially men, am I right?) of posting something mushy on the web. We live in a society now where it's cool to talk badly about your spouse. If you've ever watched Everybody Loves Raymond for more than five minutes, you see that the entire premise of the sitcom is to show what a screw up the husband is, and how annoyed the wife is by him. She bad mouths him to everyone, family, friends, and strangers. Instead, we should lift our spouses up to those around us. And unless we have our own insecurities and are jealous of the love and admiration that others display publicly, it shouldn't bother us when other people do this, even if it's not our thing. If the first thing we assume when reading that someone's husband brought them flowers or cooked them dinner is - they are just trying to act like their life is better than everyone else's - well, I would suggest we question the deeper meaning behind those bitter thoughts and feelings. Do we really just wish our spouse did those things for us? Does it make us mad that people brag on their spouse? And if so, why? Do we secretly wish our spouse bragged publicly on us?.... Does it mean their marriage is perfect? Of course not. (I mean, raise your hand if you have the perfect marriage! Let's see ... there's ...uh... oh, nope? No hands?) And assuming that people are only trying to put on a front by posting things that make them happy on social media sites would be just as wrong as assuming that the reason that those who DON'T post how much they love their spouse is because they don't. And assuming that if they aren't posting how happy they are, it's because they aren't.

Here's the thing. At the end of the day, the person who hurts is not the one who exaggerated how amazing their date night with their spouse was and how delicious their $200 meal and dessert overlooking the ocean was because they were still on a love and chocolate high when they posted it on Facebook. The only person who is hurting themselves, is the one sitting at home grumbling about so-in-so's posts and their "perfect life" with bitterness in their heart.   

So what conclusion have I made from all of this analyzing happiness on Facebook? Here goes:

There are SIX types of people when it comes to Facebook....

1. There are those who have perfect lives and they want you to know it on Facebook.

1. There are those who are going to post about joys way more than struggles on Facebook. Be happy for them. It's great that they have a good marriage, healthy children, a good job, etc. God has blessed them beyond measure and they want to share it. They don't believe their life is perfect and believe me, they aren't trying to persuade you that it is.

2. There are those who are happy for the people who post their successes and blessings on Facebook, but it's just not for them and they would rather keep those things to themselves. Totally understandable. 

3. There are those who post spiteful jokes about people's "perfect lives" and tell all of their friends how they can't stand hearing about so-in-so's new car and how funny their husband is, and how adorable their kid is. Pray for those people. They are more than likely unhappy with their own lives.

4. There are those people that just don't want to hear it! Ugh. Give them a break. They don't want to hear all about when your child gets first place at the track meet and your husband leaves you a cute surprise in your car. Come on. They would much rather just follow Paris Hilton on Twitter and hear about what she's wearing to dinner. Is that too much to ask? 

5. There are those who hate when other people post those "perfect" things on Facebook, and are totally unable to take a look within and see that while they are complaining about others, they are also posting how great their life is! And probably way more often than the people they complain about! Oops! 

6. There are those who are going to read this and say, you know what, maybe I could be a little less judgmental with those people. Good for them who share their joy with the world. They are proclaiming God's love and faithfulness with every mention of another prayer that has been answered. And why should it bother me? I'm blessed as well.

So which one of these people are you?

{photos from wehearit.com}
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