by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I recently ran into an old friend I had not seen in a couple of years. As I gave her a quick hug and asked her how she’d been, she blew past my question and said to me, “I see you on Facebook, I know you are ALWAYS doing good.” As she emphasized the word “always” I sensed a touch of jealousy. After our pleasantries, I walked away baffled by the exchange. Why would she think I was “always” succeeding in life?
Truth be told, last year was very challenging. I have had an ongoing medical issue, professional and relational struggles, and have been grieving the loss of someone very dear to me. But that’s the private me. That is definitely not the Facebook me. Facebook is where I go to encourage others and talk about how awesome Jesus and dogs are. And food. I like to share recipes. What I don’t want to share is my down days. Those days are between me, Jesus, and my therapist.
So, unknowingly, I have created a fake Facebook face. I have unwittingly become one of those people that others watch and think, “I wish I had her life.” I remembered my “End of Year” video put together by Facebook and I have to admit, even I wanted to be me. That video showed a year of fun, vacations, and triumphs.
What it didn’t show was the in-between times when I had to go to therapy for anxiety, battles with people pleasing and chronic overthinking. Or my marital struggles. It also didn’t show that sometimes, when I have helped someone process some horrible trauma, I have moments when I doubt the existence of God.
In other words, I’m normal. No better, no worse, just average. We all have highs and lows, triumphs and defeats. Good days and bad days. When people share their bad days on social media, they are considered drama queens or attention seekers. When they are like me and keep that stuff to themselves, they are those “fake Facebook people.”
So, what’s the moral of the story? Quit believing everything you see on social media! And quit taking things so darn personal. Chances are, those drama queens and fake Facebook people are just ordinary folks who have no idea they are affecting others. I certainly had no idea I was.
Does this mean I’m going to change the way I use social media? Nope. I’m still going to use my space for encouraging others, swapping recipes, and talking about how much I love my family, my dogs, and Jesus. You know why? Those are the things that make me happy. Besides, what other people think of me is none of my business.
You know what? What other people think of you is none of your business, either. That concept right there has the power to set you free, and I encourage you to tell yourself that as often as possible. It will save you so much grief.
I’ve been dedicating January of 2019 for tips that will improve your mental health and keep you off the crazy train. Here are your takeaways from today. Don’t believe everything you see. All of us are going through struggles we are not sharing. Quit comparing your life to those you think have it better, and don’t worry about what other people think of you. If you take those tips, you won’t have to fake a smile for your next selfie!