Don’t go believing everything social media says

Share your own heart stories, my friends

Actually, you can believe this picture.  For some reason the camera actually saw a heart where the moon rose.

Please, dear readers, never let your thoughts convince you that Cousin Lindsey or Friend Derek or Acquaintance Daniella has a better life than you.

Forget their sixteen pictures of babies, tropical vacations, or happy interludes.

Remember that Social Media only shows slivers of truth.

Slivers of reality.

We so often don’t share our aches, our pains, our confusion, our annoyance, our despair.

We’re not lying.

We’re just not sharing the entire picture.

Because we don’t want to.  Or because the words aren’t there.  Or because we’d prefer to share our good news, our shining light, our joy.

Sometimes joy is as simple as seeing horse whiskers up close.

Sometimes joy is as simple as seeing horse whiskers up close.

So often I talk intimately with a friend (who has just posted inspiring and delightful photos or statuses on Facebook) and learn that they’re hurting, they’re suffering emotional distress, they’re afraid or grieving or confused.

I often post a status or write a blog revealing only one tenth of what’s happening in this life.  The other 90% remains unwritten, unshared, unrevealed.

We’re all in this boat together, paddling toward the next shore.  Sometimes there’s a snake in our boat.  Sometimes we’re sipping margaritas.  Sometimes there’s a pain in our gut.  Sometimes there’s an ache in our chest.  Sometimes there’s a confusion in our life that we can’t quite fathom, can’t quite figure out. Sometimes a friend dies or is dying, sometimes we’re afraid of failure, sometimes we’re just trying to make it through another day.  Sometimes it’s just damn hard.

Impatiens blossom falls on front porch

A little bit of everything

So don’t you go believing everything you read, and I won’t either.  Just realize that we’re reading or seeing 10 percent of a person’s life.  The other 90% may or may not be revealed.

Love to all of you during the times you are hurting, aching or sighing deeply beneath the moon…  And love you when you’re singing, blossoming and laughing out loud.


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June 2018 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Don’t go believing everything social media says

  1. Barb says:

    So very very true, Kathy. Most of us share a sanitized and upbeat version of ourself on social media. We choose more carefully those who will get a fuller, more truthful story. I like the horse whiskers!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Barb–exactly. “Sanitized and upbeat” kind of describes it. Strangely enough, I admire writers like Anne Lamott and Brene Brown and others who share their vulnerabilities, their challenges so openly. But, like you, I still go to a few close friends to share the “larger picture”.

  2. dorannrule says:

    Well said and good advice!

  3. GREAT post….. no one lives a perfect life. There are perfect moments but they are usually fleeting. I enjoy reading positive messages and perfect moments described but we all know there is always more to the story. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  4. Carol says:

    You hit it right on. It’s the same as any pictures I post, especially if I’m in them, are not going to show my grumpy, bitchy, rest face, or any picture that emphasizes wrinkles and dark circles under my eyes. Some things are best kept to oneself.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I hadn’t thought about it in the realm of pictures, but you’re quite right. We choose carefully, and we edit, and we share what we consider is “the best”. Whether it’s horse whiskers or ourselves. 🙂

  5. Stacy says:

    So true, Kathy. As you said, witholding the entire picture is not tantamount to lying. Who wants to be Debbie Downer? And, even in this post-your-life century, some things are for only those closest to us to know (good or bad). ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I think we just need to remind ourselves when the voice in our head says someone has a better or more blessed life. Things are not always what they seem. And aren’t we lucky that we have some folks close to us to share more intimately?

  6. This is spot-on! It’s become like a competition to see who can show the best, most Martha Stewart-esque life. Perfect meals, perfect children, perfect parenting, perfect pets…I get weary of all of it! The opposite – and also annoying to me – are the lengthy diatribes (for one hundred or more friends and acquaintances to see!) about illnesses, arguments, foul moods and depression. I think we have all become over-sharers!

    • Kathy says:

      Good point, Cindy. I don’t like the opposite of it, either. The whining, negativity and arguments. I think maybe intimate sharing was meant to be with a close friend or family member. Maybe not with the world. However, I do have mixed feelings about this, because I love to write. So just keep reminding this brain that “things are not always what they seem” good or bad…

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with this Kathy. ‘Everyone has a chapter they don’t read aloud.’

  8. Val says:

    Exactly. We’re all complex individuals who have a lot in common… we suffer, we experience, we live, we die. And all that’s in between, thankfully! Hugs and the hope that whatever’s going on in your life now that might not be quite right, will pass quickly and lead you to better things. Much happiness, Kathy. xx

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad that you agree, Val. Our brains (my brain at least) sometimes tends to try to simplify people and events into a fragment of that complexity. Thank you for the well-wishes, and may it be the same for you, as well. Blessings, Val, and thanks for commenting.

  9. rehill56 says:

    This reminds me of something I wrote a couple of years ago. ☺

  10. I like this post very much. I am not a fan of social media simply because, as you have written, “our friends” post about the latest places they had dinner, or fabulous travel photos or happy pics of themselves all dressed up to the teeth. I really hate seeing all the happiness when I am struggling to get through the day or dealing with one of my kid’s health crisis, etc. But I click like and move on for that is what one does.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad you enjoyed this, Yvonne. It can be very challenging seeing all that happiness on the days when we’re struggling. Facebook (and even blogging) seems to have both positive and negatives. I just keep reminding my mind–whenever it starts judging or comparing–that there’s more to the picture than we’re seeing. Thank you.

  11. dawnkinster says:

    I always stop and consider before I post anything that isn’t totally happy. But there’s a lot in my life that does get posted, grief and all. Still…it’s certainly not 100% of my life. Mostly because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone else. So some stuff stays with me.

    I hope the 90% of life that we don’t see is currently at least 80% happy! I know that nothing is all 100% happy…even horse whiskers.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Dawn, a lot of what we don’t post involves other people. For whatever reason, we sense it would be better to process this quietly or with a close friend. I do sometimes shake my head when friends say, “I know what’s happening with you because I read your blog.” I want to hug them but also say…you know a little bit of what’s happening. (As for horse whiskers, don’t you wonder why you post certain pictures randomly at times in your blog? I have no idea why the Universe chose the horse whiskers picture, lol.)

  12. Sybil Nunn says:

    This is why you blog Kathy. You remind us of things like this. FB can be a marvellous or an awful dark place. I use it as a tool to learn from the groups I belong to and to keep in touch with friends and family … guess my cynical side reminds me that things for others are not as rosy as they appear.

    Many hugs for being a voice of reason my dear.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, your “cynical side” may be a help for you in this instance. It helps you see the larger picture–that things may be less rosy than they appear. Because I tend to view the world optimistically much of the time, I have to consciously think about this and to help myself remember. Hugs back atcha!

  13. debyemm says:

    I learned this when a friend from out of town was posting about a wedding she was involved in. We offered to drive the 2 hrs up to St Louis to help her get from the hotel to the airport as the happy couple had gone off on their honeymoon. Certainly, the wedding was probably nice but what a surprise to hear the real truth of how difficult and challenging those days had been from my friend when talking one-on-one in person. To only see her FB page, one would how thought everything was perfectly wonderful. It was a definite mind-opener for me !!

    • Kathy says:

      What a perfect example, Deb. Thank you for sharing that–it was exactly what I was wanted to get across. I will remember this story when and if my mind starts telling stories about fairy tales on Facebook or blogging. Thank you again!

  14. sherrysescape says:

    Thank-you, Kathy, for reminding me that I am not the only one who hides the flaws and sorrows. It makes me feel more at peace and less alone during times of distress.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherry, I think we’re all more in the same boat (or kayak) than we know. Next time we’re feeling distress, we’ll remind ourselves that we’re not alone. xoxoxo

  15. Bonnie says:

    You are so right, It’s damn hard! Sometimes I share too much, but I write what comes into my mind, with some filters…….

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, sometimes I think we share because we’re so frustrated, or we have no one near us that feels right to confide in. It can be damn hard…to figure out this thing called Life. How come we can’t just follow an Instruction Book?

  16. Reggie says:

    Spot on, and sooo wise, Kathy.

  17. Lori says:

    Only a sliver of truth. So true. I’m not one who can fake how I’m feeling, and don’t put up happy photos when I’m feeling a down. But, it’s true that when I post my hurt online, it’s likely only a sliver of the larger pain.

    Hugs to the hurting.

  18. jazyjeffblog says:

    I think,Its a good an awareness to everyone.

  19. Your comments are so true (of course) and hit the mark. I must admit, I love reading the good/happy news that my friends post on FB. They make me smile. When they’re hurting or upset, I prefer to hear that news from them individually, personally. On FB, we want a happy place, I think. One in which we can believe that in the end, we’re all enjoying life the best way we can, with family/friends/nights out/vacations, But if we believe that those photos are the WHOLE story, then we are bound to end up unhappy in our own crazy/normal/upside down lives.

    • Kathy says:

      Your comments make me smile so often, too. I love that you’re so assuredly you, stating about how you prefer the happies on line. I, too, like hearing the hurting and upset side on a personal basis, to sit and listen and hold hands and just be present. Joining with you in these crazy/normal/upside down (and sometimes backwards) life.

  20. Excellent article, and totally hit home for me. I struggle with not getting “sucked into” thinking that everyone else’s life is rainbows and unicorns, because that’s all they choose to show the world. I have to remind myself that they are not posting everything about their lives, only a small fraction of it. It’s so easy for me to start comparing my life to theirs, and then feel like mine is significantly lacking. Sometimes I wish FB had never been created.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, comparison can be so painful. Our minds make up stories to try and convince us that others are living a wonderful suffering-free life. But that’s not true, and I guess it’s our job to remind our minds that simply isn’t the truth. Thank you for stopping by to comment and share of yourself.

  21. iconicmama says:

    I love the statement about seeing a horse’s whiskers up close. This is true and a great analogy!

  22. I agree…. The written details on social media do not always mirror the truth

  23. Pingback: Feeling under the weather–for four months now | Lake Superior Spirit

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