Facebook Versus Real Life
I’ve had this conversation with a few of my friends recently and I can’t help, but think other people are dealing with this as well. Many people are on Facebook and sometimes it’s a wonderful thing. You can keep in touch with old friends and stay connected with multiple people at the same time. However, there is a temptation to scroll through Facebook and start comparing yourself. Does this ever happen to you?
I’ve talked with my friends about how Facebook can portray a false sense of reality. Of course people post the BEST pictures of themselves, the highlights from their vacation and the adorable photos of their babies. And if you are caught writing something that resembles reality you may be deemed as ‘too negative.’ I’m guilty of this myself. This is hard for me to admit, but I sort of like getting comments and likes on Facebook. I mean don’t we all like praise?
However, sometimes I start to question my motives and I feel guilty. I don’t want to hurt someone else by sharing my highlight reel with the world. Trust me there are many times when my life is far from perfect. Izzy does cry and sometimes I do too. I just don’t share this publicly.
I remember when my husband first graduated from medical school and many people I knew said “Isn’t it great your husband is a doctor, now you can buy whatever you want.” Yes there many positive and wonderful things that come from having a doctor in the family. At the same time there are many sacrifices that most people don’t see. Two years ago my husband had to work on Christmas day. He is often exhausted when he works on the wards and will fall asleep right after dinner. Many doctors are also in a lot of debt after medical school and don’t get paid well during residency. Which means yes, we are on a strict budget. But again people may not realize these things and may base my life off of the pictures I share.
I’ll also admit that I sometimes play the comparison game myself. It’s a dangerous thing to do and almost instantly you can feel like you aren’t enough and you are doing everything wrong. When this happens I need to remind myself of the truth I hold in my heart. So I grab my Bible and recite the following verses:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NLT)
What do you do when you feel yourself playing the comparison game? I’d love to hear how you deal with this matter. Suggestions on staying grounded are welcomed! My prayer is that you would know who you are in Christ. I want to share this article from Joyce Meyer with you – Knowing Who I am in Christ. My identity is in Christ and sometimes I need a reminder. I’m not seeking the approval of the world, but approval from the creator of it.
How do you deal with Facebook? Do you ever struggle with comparing Facebook versus Real Life?
I love this post. I often find this happening to me more so on the business end. Being a stylist and being a part of such an amazing group of women is so empowering, but it’s very easy to compare yourself to those shooting for the same goals as you. The wonderful part is, each stylist is capable of achieve the same success, but when someone reaches a goal before you do, it’s easy for comparison to be the killer of joy. I have truly have found that the best way to deal with others highlight reel, is that I’m truly happy for them and for them posting happy/positive posts it keeps me happy and positive. I also think it may be their way of “looking at the positives” in their life when they could potentially be dealing with some very hard times. Which makes me happy to see their uplifting posts. I do think it’s very easy to compare but like you mentioned, realizing that it’s someone else’s highlight reel is the best way to keep it in perspective and not let comparison be the killer of joy.
I absolutely love that you addresses this and I love reading your blog.
Ps. Please excuse the massive amount of typos. I tried to proofread on my phone, but since the screen is so small, I definitely missed some. Haha
I absolutely live this post. It’s so fitting of our conversation and a beautiful and wonderful reminder we are loved and unique In the eyes of God.
“Isn’t it great your husband is a doctor, now you can buy whatever you want.”
–haha! yes! Maybe in 15 years when we’ve paid off that 6-digit debt!
I think I’m pretty good about not playing the comparison game, at least as far as the “little” things go–I limit what I post on Facebook, and I try to always keep in mind that everyone is posting their highlight reel. There are a few people I notice myself being jealous of more often, so as far as Facebook goes, I unfollow their posts and then if I want to see what they’re up to I can check their page on my own terms rather than having it pop up on my newsfeed. I also find it helps to remember that I don’t know what struggles they have faced, or what crosses they will have to bear in the future. Maybe at one point things are going well for them and not so much for me, but sometime in the future it may be the opposite for one or both of us.
I think we all struggle with this sometimes. I just remind myself that it’s never the whole picture. Just because one person really excels in one area, doesn’t mean that she excels in all of them. I’m sure there are things I’m good at that she’s not too.
I have actually pulled myself off my personal Facebook for the most part unless I am REALLY in the mood – for lots of reasons, but this is definitely one of them! And your family is gorgeous!
Years ago, my niece set me up on Facebook. I found people that I never had a chance to say goodbye to (because I moved often.) I caught up with people who use to be my best friend. I closed a lot of loops.
Now, I choose not to be on Facebook. I don’t need/want to the world to know every aspect of my life. My account still exists. And about once a year, I will scroll through a few people’s accounts to catch up on what I missed or check in on the kids. [My nieces will ONLY communicate though Facebook. Period. Some of my in-laws are the same way.]
Friends and family – people that care about me – will take the time to get together for coffee or have a phone chat or send a letter through the post office. Email works too.
What I really resent today about people – they say, “If you want to know what’s new, read my Facebook page.” Really, you can’t take two minutes to bring me up to date???
What I really resent today about companies – there are SO many companies (like my bank!) that the ONLY way to participate/enter into a contest or a drawing is through Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you are not allowed to partake.
I am not about to advertise to the internet world where I bank, my opinions, the stores I shop, what I suppose, what I oppose, who my friends are, and my family tree.
I don’t/didn’t do the compare thing, but I have seen and heard it happen over and over and over again from those on Facebook. “Oh, so and so went to Iceland and posted pictures! I have to go there now!”
Don’t forget the hurt feelings. “Oh my sister was in town and didn’t call me! That B****”” I asked how she knew. She said that pictures were posted on Facebook. (I have one SIL who is ONLY Facebook and posts EVERYTHING to Facebook. The other SIL is on Facebook but will do face to face time. So I heard about this from incident from SIL, nieces, sons. AND my 80 something PIL’s!) Can we get a group eye roll please? I don’t need or want this drama in my life.
If you and I were friends and I was on Facebook, I would love to know the bad stuff too. I would love to see the pouty pictures of Izzy. I would love to know that DH has just worked the last 14 days and is totally, utterly exhausted. Better yet, I would rather have you come over, have some tea/coffee, let Izzy play on the floor and we catch up. Then I can see it all real time!
PS – in our household, NO cell phones allowed during face to face conversations or meal times. Kids disagree, but reluctantly follow the rules.
Just my two cents.
Thanks for posting this. It helps highlight one of the negatives about Facebook.
Very well said. We are not all perfect and sometimes Fb can dhow us the wrong idea.
My sister and I were just talking about this the other day. It is the reason she rarely goes on facebook these days. For myself I choose to have a very small number of friends. They are limited to family and a few friends (10-12) that I really care about. Altogether I only have 35 friends and don’t have to play the comparison game. I can see how it would be a problem though.
I personally love to hear the mundane details of people’s lives that I care about – the good parts and the yucky parts too! That’s reality. I think sharing it with our friends brings us all closer.
I do the same thing way too often! I try to add in a sprinkle of truth here and there as a reminder both to myself and whoever reads that the pictures don’t tell the whole story! (By the way, I love the face in the 2nd pic – would totally share that one too!)