choosing this story
The internet seems bent on telling me that social media is a breeding ground for comparison. It is said with the understanding that comparison is detrimental. And, okay, I get that. It makes sense - even if I don’t fully believe it.
You’ve been there. You know how it works. You see someone who takes their kids on nature hikes every few days and start to feel like you’re not parenting up to your full potential. Or - just as likely in my case - I see a beautiful kitchen and drift off in a dreamland of marble counters, hood vents over slide-in ranges, tile backsplashes and open shelving. It is easy to take the leap from applauding that other mom and appreciating the beauty of someone else’s home to feeling like what I am and what I have is not enough.
What do I think about this?
I think we get to choose how we take in the world around us. I choose to allow the way other people are living to enrich my life rather than take away from it. It’s a form of addition not subtraction. I choose to remember that my value is God given and has zero connection to my completely average kitchen.
We all do life differently. There is not one right way and each of us get to do things our own way - it’s a choice.
Do I sometimes daydream about that kitchen? Sure I do. But just as often I see that mom doing something great with her kids and it inspires me to be a better parent to my own children.
The issue with comparison is in my own lack of self-worth or discontentment with the way I am living. If I live in a way that is true to myself and if I remember that God deems me worthy, there isn’t a lot of “issue” left to give my attention.
This leads us to the next big thing the internet wants me to know. Almost daily, I am reminded by someone that what I see on social media is not “real life.” People are sharing only their shining moments - their beach vacations, kids’ preschool graduations and the beautiful meal they ate al fresco with a rainbow in the background.
Again, these reminders seem determined to make me realize that social media is destructive to my own being.
I get it. But I think there’s another way - a better way - to look at it.
The story I’ve decided to believe and the story I’ve chosen to tell is that where I am is good. There is love in my story. There is beauty and laughter and joy and learning and growing. I’ve chosen to embrace these things and claim them as my life.
I don’t think I’m alone. I see others choosing to appreciate where they are. They share the beauty in their own life, the funny moments and that hard earned vacation. I don’t see anything wrong with this and I think there is great value in noticing that where we are is good.
Of course, this isn’t the whole story. We know that. We all live in the real world.
Many times, in the past few years, I have found myself on the reception side of this divide. I’ve been told that my house is “always so clean” or other such nonsense.
Um. Nope. My life is far from perfect.
On the regular my living room floor is a landmine of toys, my kids’ faces are covered in jelly, I can’t think of anything to make for dinner so we eat spaghetti yet again and I forget to pay the water bill. Our house is usually clean in the fifteen minutes before guests are set to arrive - and that’s about it. It’s real, real life and it’s where everyone lives.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be our focus. We get to choose how we tell our stories - both to ourselves and to the world. Just because we don’t share every story doesn’t mean the ones we share aren’t real.
I do indeed - most often - share my shining moments. And I’m willing to bet you do too. And it’s okay. Your shining moments are yours. Claim them. Make them your story.
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.”
―Kurt Vonnegut Jr.,A Man Without a Country