We are rarely shown the unvarnished truth.
Photo from Susannah Connaway’s course, Unravelling.
Listen, I have something to tell you: Everyone else is not doing better than you.
Everyone Else does not know what they are doing. Everyone Else does not bring in as much money as you think they do. Everyone Else does not move through life without making errors. Everyone Else does not have it all together.
InÂ our internet world of over-sharing, it’s easy to think that the lives we see spelled out on Facebook are all sunshine and roses. Sure, a few people let us know about the agony of their root canal, or vent about how frustrating it is to have the sewer back up into their bathtub. But for the most part we hear loads of messages everyday about how everything is going so very well. And while it’s wonderful to celebrate with our friends, acquaintances and tweeple, it can also get our gremlins adding imaginary hashtags in our heads:
- “I’m meet with Amazing Perons X,Y, and Z at aÂ Fabulous Location today. Squee!” #drippingwithcoolfriends #notalonelikeyou
- “Just got my 10,000th subscriber on my blog!” #sobig #nowmakingmillions
- “The twins are wearing their matching outfits at the parkÂ and playing with puppies.” #notinfertilelikeyou
- “Week number two in Hawaii. Tanned and dinning on nothing but fresh fruit.” #notdealingwithforeclosure
All of this makes it seem like the lives of people you admire are an open book. But really they are just an open calendar –showing you the events of the day, but not the realities behind them. This makes you feel like you are seeing an unvarnished view of the lives of others — it imitates transparency. But in reality this view of each other’s lives is opaque.
Here are some of the things youÂ may not know:
- Photographers who show you charming pictures of their sunlit kitchen table are wrenched by behind-the-scene divorces.
- Posts about awesome vacations fail to mention the complete toddler meltdowns at the airport.
- Bloggers you admire are scraping by, not making millions. (Well, some are making millions, but fewer than you might think.)
This is not to say the Everyone Else is lying to you. It’s just a reminder: you are not seeing the whole picture.
You experience every aspect of your life — the good, the bad, the neutral. But you only see a slice of Everyone Else’s day to day. And that’s good. We all need some privacy, and there is such a thing as “family business.” But it’s all to easy to forget this reality, to shiver in the reflected glow of our luminaries, to judge our lives as cold when viewed in the burning light of others.
Here are some for-instances from the life of me, your magpie girl:
- Overall, I lost money this year on my online business.
- I have to apologize for snapping at my kids on a regular basis.
- Yesterday, in spite of my gorgeous garden, I ate peanut butter puff cereal for dinner.
- Vacations to sunny climes are prioritized spending in orderÂ to treat intense Seasonal Affect Disorder (depression.)
When you are reading the lives of others on line, remember — you are not seeing the whole picture. Twitter tells just 140 characters of the Whole Story. Facebook is not Transparent. Everyone Else is just like you — putting one foot in front of the other, ‘cuz there ain’t no where to go but together.
What about you Magpies? Do you feel like Everyone Else is doing better than you? What indicators to you have in your body/mind/spirit when your gremlins start telling you lies about the goodliness of your own “one wild, precious life?” How do you have a reality check in the midst of so much glowing?
My blessing for you today is this: May you celebrate the joys of others. May you support them in their sorrows. And may your own varied story always find a place to be told.
(Amen. May it be so.)
*your magpie girl