“They are always happy!”
“Oh, she has the perfect family.”
“I wish my husband was like hers.”
Social media gives off a façade that everyone is living out their dreams with their perfect families free from all cares. People don’t normally post in depth about marriage struggles, health problems, or children woes. It is not a place most display their lowest of low points, or share the stress life can bring. Instead people choose to highlight and display the positivity in their life. Which is great, and what I feel social media is about. No, I’m not suggesting everything on social media should be rainbows and unicorns, but I do feel it is not the platform to air out specific, intimate information. What good would that do? How is telling the world going to help the situation?
So, is this being fake? Only giving out the good and keeping in the bad? No, it’s being mature. You have the power to choose who you share with. Choose wisely. Not everyone wants you to succeed, not everyone has your morals, not everyone is emotionally mature enough to handle the things going on in your life. Share with the people who will give you comfort, share with the people who you know have been through similar things and have had a good outcome. Share with the people you trust to guide you in the right direction.
The truth is it is not social media giving off this facade, it is people. People that we interact with everyday. Suffering behind closed doors, but smiling in public. The person who has a cubical by you, your neighbor, people at your church. People who you consider friends. How do we see these people on a regular basis and have no inkling that they are suffering? What about your brother, your children, your mom, your best friend? The ones who are dearest to your hearts. Yes, they too could be suffering and covering it up with a smile. Scary thought, right? It is easy to process Facebook, IG, etc. friends suffering and you not knowing, but harder to process the ones you interact with daily and the ones you would consider ‘your people.’
How does this happen?
- Life– You get caught up in everything that is going on in your life and don’t notice the small signs.
- The person does impeccable at hiding the suffering. — We have all done this, right? Hidden our emotions. Gone into class, or work with a smile on our face hiding something that just happened.
Why does this happen?
- The sufferer is embarrassed. — This person is not ready to share because they are ashamed about what is going on.
- The sufferer doesn’t want to overload you. — When the person feels like you have a lot on your plate already. Maybe you have shared struggles or stresses going on in your life with this person so he/she chooses not to put more on your plate, thinking it will be too much.
- The sufferer doesn’t feel like you could relate. — Why tell someone if they have never been in that situation? You have never shared anything like this with them so you can not relate.
- The sufferer doesn’t want to be judged. — No one wants to be judged. The person’s fear of you judging the situation is stopping her/him from telling you.
- The sufferer feels like you’re not available. — You are always busy with family, work, children, life. You have no time to listen to what is going on in her/his life.
How to prevent this from happening?
- Check up on your people– life gets busy. Super busy. Sometimes we lose sight on anything that is not right in front of us. Set reminders to call the people you’re close with. Check up on them. Let them know that you care. You can’t save someone from suffering if you don’t know what is going on in his/her life.
- Be Open, and honest! — Share. Share. Share. If you’re close with this person. What is stopping you from sharing your experiences? If it will help them, be open and honest about things you have been through. Everyone has been through things. No one is immune to pain or heartache.
- Make yourself available.– Give the precious gift of time! It is so valuable and so very much needed.
- Be a safe place!– Be a place the person knows she/he will not be judged! You do this by not judging others. If you judge other people’s situations why would someone trust you with theirs?
My belief is you never know everything about a person, you know the things they choose to share. It is better not to share everything on social media, but I fear that people are starting to do the same in their personal relationships. Only sharing the positive and leaving out their struggles. I pray that we can all be more transparent and genuine with the people we love. We all are in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to enter one. Be aware, and available for your loved ones. Keep in contact and pray often for them. Know that I am here for each one of you and am open to share and listen!
XOXO– Perfectly Imperfect,