Sunday Thought …

I realize there is not alliteration going on with this post, but I have been thinking about something I have advised others NOT to do and yet I have found myself doing – that is, “snooping” on Facebook (not really “snooping” as much as just LOOKING) and inadvertently comparing myself and my life with others and their lives. I stand by my advice that it is a BAD IDEA to do this; I do not mean to say that Facebook is at all bad or to stay off of it, only that WE should avoid using it as a means of gauging the lives of others ESPECIALLY in comparison with our own lives. I brought this “analogy” to my mother’s attention a few weeks ago and she used it today when I mentioned that looking at others’ Facebook statuses contributed to my lack of seep last night – that is, that the way most people “frame” their lives on Facebook is very much akin to the “Christmas letter” some “families” choose to send over the holidays. What I meant when I first made this comparison (and what my mother meant when iterating it back to me) is that what you see on many social media “sites” and ESPECIALLY Facebook is only the “best of the best” that people want others to see about their lives. Very rarely are the dark secrets and misfortunes and difficult days “written” about or photographed; we don’t see crying eyes very often (I suppose I am an exception in that regard as well) but we see happy pictures of newly married couples; perfectly coordinating bows on infants’ heads; sometimes professionally photographed images of wannabe models with stage makeup posing on staircases or by the pool, often with hands on hips … you get the idea. Not many people talk about the fact that they only married the other person because she was beautiful NOW and that they have no idea what they are going to do because their partner is too busy “being beautiful” to bring in any legitimate income; not many people mention they never wanted to have kids but their partners did and so here they are using their hard-earned cash on coordinating outfits at Babies R Us; not many people admit they have always wanted to be that model but they now realize they’re just not “young enough” to achieve that goal anymore. We don’t see photographs of the temper tantrums and fights between partners; we see photos carefully chosen from the already exclusive “happy” moments, many from years and years ago before things became “real.”

I do not mean to insinuate that all people and all couples and all couples with kids are miserable – that’s not at all true. But those are the things that COME WITH all of those “happy moments” most people share with the world, trying to convince others as well as themselves that they are, in fact, not only leading pleasantly meaningful and contented lives but that everything they have chosen to do has been “just the right thing.” I know that is not true, and that is not only from the perspective of someone who has had to deal with so much literal pain and suffering for so many years. I know the “back stories” behind so many of those “happy” pictures that I know they’re just iceberg-like veneers of reality; that the “truth” is much deeper and darker than what is chosen as “the stories” of their lives. I cannot say this is a negative “thing” in and of itself either – who would chose to publicly disclose the drug addictions and spousal abuse or cheating and the deaths and diseases they have gone through when those things are not the things they have been “conditioned” to show the world? We have very much been conditioned to show only the good and that perpetuates itself infinitely once we allow ourselves to be “bought and sold” into that kind of showcasing. I do not mean that it is necessarily a “bad” thing that others only show the best of themselves and those close to them on platforms such as Facebook; I mean only to clearly articulate that those of us who are very clearly suffering need to realize those who seem to be the happiest of the happy are only showing a tiny fraction of their lives – that they have their own sets of challenges, whatever they might be behind closed doors – that, once again, you can NEVER know what other people might REALLY be going through. And with that, we must remind ourselves time and again NOT TO COMPARE OUR LIVES WITH THE LIVES WE SEE OF OTHERS – not only because it is detrimental to our own sense of self, but because the lives we SEE on things like Facebook are not “lives” but the outside frame of the puzzle, as it were. It is very much like the “family Christmas newsletter;” it is very much like a watered-down rated “G” children’s book adaptation of the internal struggles articulated in something like “Crime and Punishment.” What we see is not the whole picture; I have only stated the antithetical “negatives” here to sketch out what COULD BE a whole picture; perhaps some of these people are leading quite happy and contented lives – but even if that is the case, we are only seeing the “best of the best.”

So once again, I implore you and MYSELF NOT to look too closely at things like Facebook (and other social media sites). It is especially important NOT to look too closely at the pages of those who have betrayed us or stabbed us in the back or simply haven’t been there for us in our times of need or in general. It only triggers further negativity in our brains and that, in turn, triggers our very “human” compulsion to compare – and ain’ NONE of us be needing any of that!

I hope you are all having a wonderfully happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world, whether or not you choose to show as much of the full reality of your lives as you can. And on that same note, I wish you all happiness and health to the best of your abilities – we all have down days and dark days and incredibly difficult times (sometimes times when we legitimately feel like we can’t make it another hour) and times when we are very, very ill – and I just truly wish and hope that you all not only experience the most happiness and health possible, but that even in the bad times, you can find some shimmer of hope in something that keeps you going and moving forward in your lives – and I do, very genuinely mean that. A great deal of what I write about here is intended to help you dig out the deeply buried “stuff” that is difficult to deal with and to show you some of the darker things I have seen and do see just so that you can at the very least come to terms with and learn to ACCEPT those realities of life and go on to greater levels of happiness and health. And with that, I will bid “I do, adieu” … for now….

❤ Always, Beth


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