Living in a Facebook World When Your Life Isn’t Picture Perfect

If you spend any time at all on Facebook, you will see beautiful happy couples, moms and their sweet children, pets with playful happy lives and DIY projects that look way better than anything I’ve ever made out of toilet paper tubes!  Beautifully prepared recipes and stories that make you cry.

My Favorite Facebook Cat – Oscar – who of course never makes a mess at my house! 

Why is Facebook so powerful?  Because we can share the pictures of life that we want to be our reality. We can show the glimpses of life that look wonderful and gloss over the tough times.  Times when we aren’t getting along in our marriage.  Times when we are really frustrated with our darling children.  Times when the cat throws up on the carpet.  Wait!  Did I just tell you that?!  Times when my life doesn’t match the pictures other people post on their wall?  Sometimes I look for pictures on my camera roll just to post to Facebook because I’m trying to hold my life together.  I want my marriage to look happy and strong even when we are facing challenges.  I want people to see me smiling with my kids even though my arms are empty and my house is quiet because my kids have grown up and I only see them once in a while.

Life has become so much more complicated than just keeping up with the Joneses down the street.  Now it’s the 700 (or more) “friends” I’m comparing my life to and trying to make it seem as good or better!

So how do I balance the reality of life with the rosy glassed view on Facebook?  We all have beautiful moments in our real lives.  Sometimes these moments are more frequent than other times, but the more I look for the beautiful moments in my own life rather than comparing my ugly or blah moments with the beautiful moments of others, I find more beautiful moments in my life.

Painted Hills – John Day Fossil Bed National Monument

I recently heard an interview on TV between a reporter and a celebrity.  The celebrity had had years and years of successes and in everyone’s eye, their life had been nearly perfect.  But when the reporter asked the celebrity what comments had had the most influence on her life, she said that early on in her life, someone had reported some negative things about her and that had stayed with her the rest of her life.  So often our brains latch onto the negative or the “less than” comments and feelings and they can easily turn into something that define us if we allow it.

Focusing on the positive and happy things in our own life can actually change our brain patterns.  The more we look for our positives, the more we will see.  Some of this is because of a change in our attitude, but it is also in partly because of our focus.  The more we look for good, the more we see.

So, as I scroll through my friends’ pictures on Facebook, I have changed my attitude.  I am happy for the happy moments in my friends’ lives and try to remember that these are moments they are sharing.  We all have happy moments.  My friends also have bad days just like I do.  Their kids get sick, they have a tough time paying the bills, they get frustrated with situations in life too.  The happily ever after is truly a fairy tale.  Yes, we can be happy ever after, but there will be sad times and challenging times too.

If I take a few minutes to scroll through my own timeline, I see those same happy moments and I’m thankful that those moments are more than just moments.  The pictures in my timeline show my special times with family, friends, pets, excitement, joys, tears and life.  They show relationships that are more than moments.  They show love, security, and happiness.

Puget Sound overlook from Orcas Island, Washington

Today, I would like to challenge you to take some time to look through the Facebook scrapbook of YOUR life and focus on the happy memories, the blessings, the loves that you have in your life.  Then take a few moments to be thankful for the happy moments in your friends’ lives.  Life is too short to live a life of comparison or regret.  Take a moment right now to be grateful for a moment in your life.

Drop a comment and tell me about a happy moment in your “Facebook life.”  I’d love to hear about it.

31 thoughts on “Living in a Facebook World When Your Life Isn’t Picture Perfect”

  1. Maggie |

    Facebook is such a double-edged sword. I love it for keeping up with far flung friends and family. Thanks for the reminder to keep a balanced outlook about it 🙂

  2. We all have been there, gotten caught up in comparing our lives to others. I’ve just over the last 5 or so years stopped comparing myself and post the real me

  3. I also find myself searching for a Facebook picture to post that will make my life seem better than it currently is. Even though I know that life is much more colorful and insanely disorganized, I love to look through Facebook pictures and remember the beautiful moments that usually tends to remind me of the not so beautiful moments that probably happened 10 minutes after that picture was taken.

  4. Sometimes I feel like the least “picture perfect” moments end up being some of the happiest! One Christmas, my mom and I were having a frantic, semi-stressed time getting the dinner ready with no other family around to help. I had to prepare a casserole and so did she, clean, shower, get the dog outside, etc…I prepped my casserole and left it uncooked on the stove to await her casserole – they would go in together. She started making her casserole, so I used the time to take the dog out, and when I got outside, I heard a crash. My casserole (creamy green bean and mushroom) had fallen when she tried to put them both in the oven! It was disgusting…all creamed into a woven rug AND we didn’t have any ingredients left to make a second one! We carried the rug outside to dump off the porch, the dog was following us to catch the drippings, and we took a few photos of the scene as we laughed hysterically. Luckily my aunt saw the pictures on facebook and doubled up on the salad for dinner:-)

  5. I agree, we should not compare our lives with someone else’s. We don’t know what they had to go through to get there.

  6. I’ve often thought the same thing about Facebook. It’s so easy to portray what you want others to see and not what you want to stay hidden but it is a good idea to look through our own pages and see the happy memories. It’s really a wonderful type of online scrapbook of some of the best moments in our lives…since FB started.

  7. Very insightful, and you’re right…life is too short to carry regrets, ‘what ifs’ and ‘I should have’s’. Every moment, picture perfect or not, is something to be grateful for.

  8. I try to be positive always, so that is why my Facebook is all the “Great” moments. Not because I care what others think. I am just personally happier when I focus on the positive. Great post.

  9. Yes, Facebook can be a place that makes you feel down. Same with Instagram. It helps to remind your self that no one is perfect – and we all have personal issues!

  10. So so true. On the days you feel the jealousy or sadness taking over you when looking at others pictures, that’s when you need to go to your own pics and smile those babies faces or the video of them riding their bike for the first time of them graduating and remember that things are good.

  11. My latest one is my daughter’s 3rd birthday party! She had so much fun. All the grandparents were there and she enjoyed being the center of attention.

  12. I like to think that people post happy moments on FB not to personify a “fake” image, but rather to embrace the happier moments that do occur. Thanks for posting!

  13. I try to conciously post “not perfect” moments on Facebook just to balance and counter-act the picture-perfect vibe that Facebook can give. Of course I also post happy things. But I want my wall to show the good and the bad because my life has both. Even better is when we can commiserate and laugh at the bad ones. Misery loves company as they say and when we are all laughing about it together, the bad has less power over us.

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