The other day a friend texted me saying that she’s been staying off of Facebook because it has been making her feel bad about herself. I told her that it’s just a façade and it’s what people want you to see. Nobody wants to share their bad days.
We love to hate social media and hate to love it at the same time. As a mid twenty something, I scroll down my social media feeds to see endless engagements, weddings, and baby announcements.
After I finished undergrad, there were one or two engagements every few months. Throughout grad school I felt like those numbers quadrupled and everyone’s names started to change. Did I miss the train to the next stage of adulthood? I started to think something was wrong with me. At the same time, the long-term relationship I was in was falling apart. I felt AWFUL.
Then I looked at it from a different point of view. I, too, was celebrating my accomplishments: college and grad school graduations, a job announcement, moving to new places, and moving into my own apartment. While I felt insecure about my personal life, I found things that I was accomplishing for my professional life. Just because I wasn’t doing the same things that the majority of my friends were didn’t mean I was doing something wrong. My life is just on a different path. There is no right or wrong path.
Nobody wants to show the negative side of their lives, so you have to remember that we are all human. Nobody lives that perfect life. On the surface you’ll see my posts and photos of travelling, my job, my family, and it’s all smiles. What you don’t see is that I have days where I feel lonely, days where I question everything in life, and days where I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything.
Life is not a competition. The only person you should be competing with is the person you were yesterday. I have slowly…very slowly learned to not care about what other people think about me. That quality is something I try to work on everyday. I changed my competition mindset into a mindset where I congratulate everyone on their accomplishments. It has actually made me feel better being able to celebrate with others. Instead of feeling insecure or jealous, I try to see it from their point of view.
Nothing feels better than finally being able to celebrate something in your life. When I made a job announcement a few months before graduating grad school people congratulated me…and some people even went behind my back and told my friends I was bragging. What those people didn’t see was how I got to that point. For a whole year I applied to everything and anything that was applicable to my resume, I went to numerous job fairs, and I got deferred over and over. I stayed up all night worrying about not having a job lined up. I was afraid of seeming like a failure after sacrificing two more years of my life for a master’s degree.
Before you judge someone or start to feel insecure, remember that you don’t know that person’s whole story. That person who just got engaged probably went through a years of bad relationships before meeting that perfect person. That person who keeps sharing photos of their baby could have lost a baby before. That person who graduated with their master’s or PhD sacrificed a lot to finish school. That person who went on vacation could have saved for a year or two to finally take that trip.
Let’s start celebrating each other and more importantly start celebrating yourself. Your life is perfect as it is. Everything you want will eventually make it’s way into your life.