I read an article a few weeks ago that said, "We compare 100 percent of our own life to the best 5 percent of everyone else's." It struck a cord, because I think we all forget about that other 95 percent too often.
How many times have you heard, "Oh, Jane Doe is on vacation again. How does she get so much time off from work and still have the money to take trips?" Or, "John Smith just made another home-cooked meal ... I don't have the time or energy to grocery shop, let alone cook."
What are intended to be positive interactions with friends end up leaving many people feeling resentful and down about their own lives. We tend to base 100 percent of our reality on the 5 percent of our friends' "realities" we see online.
I have news: The social media 5 percent doesn't show our daily struggles. Often, it doesn't show our failures—big and small, the discontentment and restlessness we feel, or even the mundane tasks of every day life. It's easy to get caught up in the sparkly perfectness of your friends' jobs, love lives, families, adventures ... and start to believe your life is lacking as a result.
This isn't a post with tips for sharing. I certainly can't tell you what's right or wrong to post about your life. My point is that through the pretty clothes, endless vacations and declarations of love—remember that everyone goes through struggles, just like everyone else. The problem doesn't lie within what you're sharing; it's in how you perceive your friends' posts.
When you see that Jane went on another vacation, it's OK to feel a little pang of jealousy; it's not OK to feel that your life doesn't hold the same value as hers because you don't have the money or flexibility to travel as often. If John is always posting pictures of his homemade, four-star meals, it's OK to drool; it's not OK to think less of your life if you don't have the cooking skills or the energy to use them after work.
Instead, try to use your friends' happy moments to your advantage. Start a vacation savings jar or set your bank to auto-deposit a small amount of money from each paycheck into a "travel" account. Use food pictures and recipes as inspiration to try something easy after work that isn't in your comfort zone.
As for my own sharing habits, I enjoy posting my happy moments socially, but I rarely share my exhaustion, boredom or self-doubt. And that's OK! It doesn't mean I don't experience those things. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that the only thing I know to be real is what I experience firsthand.
All things considered, I'm blessed to live this life—100 percent of this life. And I promise, the 95 percent that I don't share is real, too, just like yours.
Written by Katie Mundinger, media sales consultant, Serendipity Media.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Toes Resort.