Facebook Versus Reality

I spent this week helping two friends who were really struggling with life.  Their struggles were different.  One was struggling with a business issue and one was struggling with a personal issue. But what they both had in common was the belief that they were alone in their struggle.  One believed that a certain set of people, an entire community actually was beyond the struggle. Their lives were A-Okay. The other believed that their small business owner friends had all the answers, everything came easier to them.  Unfortunately, because of social media, too many of us compare our real lives to the Facebook lives of our friends. 

Facebook Feed Versus Reality

In 2012 and 2013 my Facebook life  was full of Ironman achievements, my son at West Point, my daughter scoring goals and our family taking vacations.  In reality, our lives were falling apart.  My beautiful daughter was struggling with depression, my husband was scrambling to find a new job, my son was signing his papers to leave West Point and I was falling apart in a very spectacular way.

Facebook Feed - A Moment in Time

What we see on Facebook is a snapshot, a moment in time, the best of what's happening in our lives.  And if we are honest with ourselves we are okay with that.  Because don't we cringe just a little when someone airs their dirty laundry on Facebook?  

I have a friend who recently started a Facebook journey in which she shared her childhood abuse. She shared stories each day about what life was like as an abused child.  And while many of our friends were supportive many more commented or messaged her to say she was over-sharing.

When I wrote Psyche Ward Annie, about the moment I finally asked for help in 2013, I received the same sorts of messages.  "Be careful," they said, "You may be oversharing."

I look back at those early posts and realize they took courage to write. I don't regret sharing them but I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I shared.  I remember wondering how many people would judge me.  But I also remember making the decision to continue sharing after receiving so many messages from people who told me they felt alone until they read my post.

Facebook or Reality 

I am not saying you need to share your lowest of lows.  It's not for everybody and I can promise there are some who will not be happy.  You may even lose friends. I have. But I am asking you to take a minute the next time you are feeling down, the next time you are comparing yourself to someone else, to take a minute and think about the difference between that person's Facebook feed and their reality.  

You Are Not Alone

I can guarantee you, that you are never alone.  If you are struggling in your personal life, chances are your friends have been there too.  If you don't feel like you are good enough in business, I can guarantee you that most business owners feel the same way on a weekly basis.  You are human and unless your friends and business associates are hiding something, they are human too. 

I like to remind my friends of that moment they discovered I had committed myself to the psyche ward. The surprise they felt because I had kept it all hidden from even my closest friends.  I was Iron Annie for crying out loud. 

The only thing you can be certain of in life is that everybody struggles, even when they don't show it.