On more than a few occasions recently, my attention has been drawn to a bit of upset in one form or another regarding potentially “inflated” Facebook statuses. I know it’s an odd topic and what I’m about to write certainly isn’t an indictment against anyone (and I mean that). I just started thinking about it and well, here comes a blog.
When we go out in public, we normally put on nicer clothes; fix our hair and generally do our best to make a nice appearance. No-one thinks we are being fake or takes issue with our best presentation, but rather typically applaud our efforts. At work, we may be having a terrible day or having marital issues at home and we still try our best to put on a brave face and at least appear to be happy.
So, if you really think about it, Facebook is a public place. Folks really don’t want to know how such and such did you wrong or any inference to you somehow being a victim. In fact, most folks will encourage you but still add a precaution that the public space of Facebook isn’t really the format for your delicate personal issues. Really, when you get right down to it, Facebook isn’t a safe place to share your most intimate feelings as there are people on your friend’s list that aren’t necessarily your friends and have been lying in wait to stab your tender underbelly! Haha you know it’s true. The problem is that we often forget that and soon find ourselves embroiled in other people’s judgments, despite them having only a fraction of insight into who we really are. Live and learn I guess…
So, here’s the thing. If someone paints a picture of their life that maybe isn’t 100% true, do we really care? If it’s not true, don’t the people involved already know it? And, if they know it and their life isn’t so great, aren’t they the ones living that life? Further, who wants to promote their problems; their difficulties and their weaknesses? Who even wants to read that? It seems that if someone feels a need to glorify their life, let them glorify it. Maybe it’s fantasy? Maybe it’s the life they have imagined? Maybe it’s an empty wish? Well, good Lord, join the grant a wish foundation and let them say it! Right? People are suffering. People are hurting inside. People struggle. If she is putting on her lipstick and smiling anyway, let her smile. If he just added two zeroes to his paycheck, let him add it on. Hey, maybe if he keeps saying it enough it might actually happen.
I guess what I’m really talking about is compassion. Compassion is sort of like seeing through the story and pretending like you believe it’s true, not for honesty’s sake, but for the other person’s sake. And you do it with the hopes that one day they will trust you enough to let you see the real them. Why do folks inflate their Facebook status? They’re afraid to let you see the real them… A good friend once taught me that at first people are afraid to show you their heart. Picture clasped hands opening very briefly to let you see inside. Then, when trust is established, the hands open a little more and finally they stay open. An open heart is hands that stay open. Until that moment, you don’t get to see the real person. But, funnily enough, they would find that the real version of them is wonderful and really doesn’t need revision.
Some people aren’t really inflating their status, but choosing rather to only share the good bits! If I’m selling you a car, I don’t start with everything that is wrong with it. I tell you all its virtues, then maybe throw in a few needed repairs. On Facebook, because we are all people after all, we are selling people our hearts. Sure, everything in our life isn’t perfect, but for the good Lord’s sake, why would we tell everyone about that? LOL Personally, I don’t mind speaking of my challenges and mistakes because I know deep down you are just like me and I’m okay with that.
I think if you are really honest with yourself, feeling upset about the possibility that someone’s life isn’t as great as they say it is, is really more about you than it is about them. Otherwise, why even care? There are enough blessings and good things in life for all of us to have a healthy share! If I’m enjoying God’s abundant blessings in my life, I want you to have them as well. If you make 5 times more money than I do, God bless you and good for you! We have all felt a twinge of envy on occasion, but really, feeling that way points more to our feeling inferior than having genuine love. It also reveals that we may feel a need to be above others rather than stand shoulder to shoulder with them. I’m proud of my accomplishments in life, though I feel sometimes like I’ve earned 7 stars but am capable of 10 (smile). But, even in my accomplishments, I don’t want to be above you!
Since these are just some good thoughts, I hope I didn’t make you mad. Instead I say, live and let live. If I don’t approve of your life and think you are headed for trouble, then if true the trouble will come. But, with God everybody has a chance to turn anything around and if God did it for me, He will do it for you as well. Life is too short to demand an accurate portrayal of everyone’s life. I just ironed my jeans, you know what i mean?
Just some compassionate good thoughts…