Facebook gets a bad rap for being a place full of phonies. And for the most part, that’s probably true. It’s all too easy to put your best foot forward on social media, sharing only those choice moments where the world can marvel at how awesome your life is. Sure, those fabulous things you post may really be happening, but not 24/7 the way it appears online.
We aren’t always permitted to see the truths. We don’t see the colicky baby, just the pictures of the sweet, slumbering infant. We don’t see the empty bank accounts, just the fabulous vacation photos. We don’t see the house that’s located in an “undesirable” part of town, just the recently remodeled kitchen. We see what people want us to see – their best and most successful moments. And all the while we look at our colicky babies, our empty bank accounts, and our less-than-fabulous homes and feel like the entire rest of the world has got their junk together.
Of course, we don’t want the world to know that our life isn’t “together,” so we, in turn, also post the best. And so it goes, on and on. Of course, there are plenty of negative people on Facebook, plenty of people who love to post their day-to-day drama and love to engage the world in their life’s disappointments. But the fact is that it’s all too easy to choose the parts of our lives we want people to see in order to impress… or to ignite envy… or to sugar-coat the truth.
Every so often I go back and I reread some of my old Facebook posts, and it occurred to me that I could easily be accused of the same thing – being a phony. I, too, mostly post the good… those happy moments that mark a moment in life where everything seemed perfect. I post my cute kids, my family’s adventures, my job successes, my workouts, my happy marriage.
Thinking it through though, I can honestly say that I have no intention of fooling anyone. I’ll be the first one to point out my struggles (I’ve even done it on this blog a bunch) and to share the disappointments that happen from time to time in my life – which include my “perfect” friends, “perfect” family, “perfect” husband, “perfect” kids. But I have good reason for posting what I do. It’s a choice – and not a choice made in order to deceive others or even myself. I don’t post the good to make others feel envious or as if their lives are lacking somehow… I post them for a few reasons:
- Feeling like a failure is easier for me than feeling like a success…
I’m good at lots of things, but it’s so much easier for me to see my kids watching TV and feel like a lazy mom than it is to remember that we just spent the previous day at the zoo together – sans TV. Posting the happy moments in my life helps me to remember that there are a lot of things I do right.
- I’m not a fan of unsolicited advice…
Posting things like, “Jay and I have been struggling to connect lately,” is undoubtedly going to result in lots of people either feeling sorry for us, offering to pray for us, telling us what books they read that helped, or even giving us bad advice that could make things worse. Those topics are not the ones to share publicly. Jay and I do go through our “roommate” periods of marriage, but you’ll never see me post it for the world to comment on. I have a small circle of friends I reach out to for advice and prayer, I don’t want it from everyone else.
- I’m protecting my children…
This is a very real thing now, and I’m always aware that the things I post about my girls could one day be the fuel for someone’s teasing. That’s why you won’t ever see photos of my children without clothing on (unless they are babies and bubbles are tactfully placed). You won’t hear about my potty training experiences on here. I won’t post about Emily’s troubles with her friends or any failures she might have at school. I won’t tell you what Julia put in her mouth yesterday. I know that they are just kids, and that everyone goes through these things, but I was bullied as a child – before the internet was even around – and I know that nothing is taboo when someone wants to tear you down. I’d rather post their successes and take a chance that someone will distort those things than post their failures and guarantee that someone will.
- It’s easier to remember the bad than the good…
When I was a kid, I think I remember my dad saying something along the lines of, “You can do a hundred things right for someone, but you do one thing wrong and that’s what they’ll remember.” And from personal experience, I’ve seen this to be true. So why not fill my life with as much positive as possible for me to reflect on? For my girls to grow up and reflect on? Someday, after a heated argument where one of them overdramatically tries to say, “We never did anything fun when I was a kid!”, I’ll be all too happy to prove them wrong with a quick walk through old Facebook photos. 🙂
As I looked through the photos on my laptop to find images for this post, I realized something else – it was almost impossible to find pictures of the bad moments. No screenshots of diminishing bank accounts, no candids of arguments with Jay, no photos of a bad grade. I’m not in the habit of taking those pictures because they aren’t the images I want to remember. I’m pretty sure no one else has those pictures either. And I don’t plan on taking them just to appear more “real” on Facebook. I’ll keep on posting the things that I want to remember. Call me a phony if you want to, but I prefer to focus on the good in my life. And save it as future ammunition. 😉