Has anyone noticed how life is currently being lived through captions? When I see my neighbor my mind automatically recalls the last image she posted on facebook of her and her hubby at the biggest football game of the season and how tragic the loss was. When I see my friend I instinctively recall her picture-perfect trip to Maui complete with snorkeling, giant ice-cream sundaes, zip lines, helicopter rides and the most amazing sunset you've ever seen. And of course there are pictures of what Sally had for dinner last night, Joan's amazing bedroom re-model, the antics of that crazy little elf on the shelf, and little Lizzy's second birthday party complete with princesses, ponies and the cutest damn table decorating job you've ever seen. Oh, let's not forget the professional portraits of those personalized mini-cupcakes for each of the guests and a puppy in the party favor bag.
No wonder we are all on Xanax and anti-anxiety meds for trying to out-do the last amazing idea we re-pinned on pinterest and making every day look like a scene from Leave It to Beaver - complete with the perfect house, perfect kids and everything in place as it should be. We are truly living our lives 'out loud' for all to see posting the highlights of our creativity, cleanliness and poutiest pic we got in just the right amount of light for our profile page. And then of course we get to deliberate over the perfect tag line, hash tag, and tag the people you want most to admire your photos; not to mention then write the wittiest blurb about yourself and your activities since the Zucker Brothers got together and invented slap stick comedy. Or on the flip side, post the most touching, heartfelt videos and quotes that you find and write something inspiring and selfless that leaves your followers riveted and eagerly awaiting your next post.
It's a strange new way in this technological web to sell your identity to the world and a far easier way to keep your audience 'wowed.' There is a trap here to fall in to and that is that you aren't being enough. It's a killer to think about what we need to do to keep up with everybody else's awesomeness. The whole online fantasy and whimsical dream world we weave is nothing more than a smoke and mirrors parlor trick that perpetuates itself inevitably creating a state of 'never enough.'
"If you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater or lesser persons than yourself." Author Unknown (To me at least...)
How true if we create the definition of ourselves by how we compare to others. Then our own self image will be wavering constantly as it will be projected onto us by whoever we are with. We will have no core to life, no "I am me" center, no "this is my life, I am who I am and I am a valuable human being and I choose to make my life extraordinary." But rather, "compared to you I am a heap o'trash (and by the way I hate your guts and hope your teeth rot and your face breaks out in warts)" or "compared to you I am not too bad."
The problem with this is several:
1) Our happiness is dependent on how we feel we compare to the people around us
2) We are projecting what we think the other person is thinking into their head and respond to life based on bull--it. I mean based on anything but reality.
3) When we are around people we act how we think they think we should act in order to be accepted by them. Then our lives are truly bunk. If we try to please everyone we become meaningless to everyone.
Develop your own inner strength so that your definition of self is from within rather than from what you think others may think of you." My Dad
Variety is the spice of life. Why do we feel the need to pigeonhole ourselves into something amazing 24-hours of our day and keep people posted about it? My favorite part of facebook is the blooper reel or the not-so-impressive moments of people's day-to-day rituals and doings. And how can we really appreciate all the good without the bad? I know those high moments with my kids are much more glorious when compared to the day before moment when one kid threatened to beat the other kid with a rubber garden hose just as the Flander's drove by singing happy church songs in their brand new black Escalade. Bah! Who the hell cares?
So, we could continue on our anti-depressant IV drips or shift our perspective and be excited for Sally's delectable dinner, remember some of Joan's great re-model ideas if you ever choose to demolish your own bedroom (or have no shame in hiring it out and not lending a single, inventive, amazing idea to brag about), give mad props to the moms who are clever enough to create incredulous and dangerous scenarios for their elf who really spends no time on the shelf, and be grateful that you didn't spend half as much as little Lizzy's mom on a princess and ponies party that your own toddler will have forgotten by 5pm that same day. If we look at everything through bitter eyes, everything is going to appear as a competition. If we choose to see everyone else's captions as fun moments to share with them or easy conversation starters next time you bump into them somewhere else besides cyber space, the world just become a more easy-going and happier place for you at least. If nothing else, you can cheer on everyone else that does seem to think it is all a competition.
Now excuse me, I've got to get back to my doily decorating and three dimensional sidewalk chalk murals.