The public persona of social media… and the demons they bring out.

I love Facebook and social media. I love the power that it has harnessed to bring people together – find long lost friends, share with people half a world away, make it feel like you never missed a step. I love blogs that let people share stories and inspire people, sowing love and peace.

But I really dislike how much self-hatred it can impose. You see all the amazing vacation photos and blog posts about how awesome life is – you’re friends with the supermom! You know – the woman who works full time, has three kids under the age of 7, hand makes the birthday party invitations for 35 people, weighs 123 pounds soaking wet, decorates her home for every holiday, has a successful (at least from what you can see) marriage, has time to Instagram every meal, professional family portraits done on a regular basis, and just overall has the life we all just wish we could have?

It makes me feel terrible, sitting here, staring at the dishes on my desk as I type, looking at the Christmas lights we never bothered to take down in the living room (Okay, okay, I’ll admit it – we didn’t take them down because we liked the way they look where they are!). My one child went to bed in her clothes because I was to tired to fight with her to take them off.

A group I am in on Facebook is 8,000 members strong. It’s a place to talk about being healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and any other form of health out there. It’s an awesome group. Super supportive, full of positive energy, and a very safe place to open up to the people about health successes and failures, challenges and obstacles, and come up with a plan to over come those. I consider myself a relatively healthy eater – I could definitely make a few changes, but all in all, I don’t snack much anymore, I don’t drink as much soda as I used to, I make a conscious effort to move around my office more, though my job can be relatively sedentary if I let it be. My mom even told me once recently (and for anyone who knows me and my relationship with my mother around the topic of my weight and health knows how huge this is) that she doesn’t think my physical health has anything to do with my eating habits, as she has seen the way I eat and doesn’t think the two are related.  And yet, when I look at this group I am in, rather than feeling uplifted, I become depressed about all the issues I’m not resolving. Today I got home from work, and rather than doing anything productive or helping my husband with the recent home renovation he started, I fell asleep on the couch. Not because I was lazy, but because I had just come home from swimming 26 laps at the local pool and was exhausted.

It just feels like in order to get the life I want, I have to give up the life I want. I don’t understand how to make the puzzle pieces fit.

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One thought on “The public persona of social media… and the demons they bring out.

  1. bearonthecouch

    A thousand hugs to you. You are amazing and wonderful, and I’m sorry you’re feeling down right now 😦 You’re right, you know, there’ve been many studies about Facebook and social media having exactly this effect, that people are comparing their full lives, with all ups and downs, to “everyone else’s highlight reel” And when comparing to a highlight reel, is it any wonder that you focus on your downs? I think the only way we can combat this is by keeping it real, so I applaud you for being brave enough to post this. Please don’t be ashamed of being real, as hard is that is. Do you know how often I beat myself up for not being a perfect teacher? Not perfect feels like not good enough. And that is, quite frankly, bullshit. We do the best we can. Hope you see some positives soon! I love you.

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