The past two weeks have been full of challenges – emotional anxiety, dealing with the loss of a pet, and caring for a sick child, whom I’ve now learned has asthma. A toddler taking albuterol treatments = wild child…but that’s a story for another day.
Sunday I decided to shake it off and snap out of the blues. What better way to cheer up than to spend some time perusing Facebook, right? WRONG.
Graduation photos, birth announcements and the faces of smiling couples littered my news feed. Jessica burned 195 calories on the Stairmaster at Planet Fitness. Matt got a promotion at his firm. Ava lost a tooth. Look at Leslie’s new hair cut. Josh updated his cover photo – he and his family went to the Bahamas last week.
I paused in thought. What can I depict on Facebook to make it appear that I have my life together? Honestly, I was grateful just to make it church that morning before the choir finished the first song. To me, that was a decent accomplishment, though not exactly Facebook worthy.
Facebook gets the best of the best. Sure, sometimes you see prayer requests, political posts, news of national disasters or local tragedies, but for the most part, Facebook is the place where many people put their best face forward. Pun intended.
I decided to update my profile picture. It had been nearly seven months and according to unwritten Facebook protocol, it was time for a change. I planted my toddler next to me, extended my arm to the optimal selfie angle and told him to smile for chocolate. Sixty-four pictures (and two KitKats) later, I had one image that was profile pic worthy…well, after I applied a few filters and changed the lighting and basically the whole structure of the photo, but who cares? Presenting your best self on Facebook is serious business.
I posted the picture and went on about my day. Within hours I had dozens of “likes”, comments and private messages saying things such as, “you look so happy”, “beautiful picture” or “it’s good to see your smiling face”.
Wait. What if these “friends” knew that it took me sixty-four tries and a forced smile to find a photo I thought would be a good representation of the happy life I’m trying to portray on social media?
Why has social media become a form of validation and acceptance? After some personal thought and reflection, I decided that maybe I shouldn’t be so self-critical. When it comes to Facebook, I don’t have to highlight the highs and hide the lows. I don’t need filters to be beautiful. I may not always make it to church on time and I may (occasionally) bribe my son with candy, but I am real and real is both acceptable and beautiful.
Facebook is merely a tool to keep people connected. At least that’s what it is to me. Maybe I will try to worry less about how my “friends” on Facebook see me and worry more about how I see me.
So here goes. #nofilterneeded
Sometimes life experiences such as the loss of a job or a heartbreak can leave us second-guessing ourselves or questioning our own self-worth. If you need help seeing the REAL and BEAUTIFUL you (because you are!), please consider giving us a call. We want to help.