I remember visiting a friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in years. This friend was very visible on Facebook regarding her kids. She would go on and on about how they were a constant source of joy, always perfectly behaved and always smiling. So when I visited her I was actually looking forward to meeting and engaging with her friendly, well behaved and funny kids. Maybe even pick up a couple of her parenting skills. Needless to say, the experience was nowhere near what I had anticipated.
If you ever spend time on social media, particularly on Facebook, you will notice that almost everyone you know has a perfect life. Your friends have perfect spouses that love them perfectly; perfect kids that are always winning awards and are perfectly behaved; perfect beauty at all times of the day and night; perfect jobs/careers. In short, perfect, perfect, perfect everything! 😀
Some people will even show off big cars, big houses, big holidays etc. but they are deep in debt, struggling and can ill-afford the “big things.” The image of the life they are projecting is an illusion. Which is fine, I guess. No judgment from me. But my concern is with people who observe from a distance and then lap it up. Worse still, they even use it as a basis for comparison and an excuse to despise and belittle their own life.
Am I saying not to show off the great attributes of our lives to others? No, I’m not. In fact, I’d encourage that any day over airing dirty laundry in public. What I’m saying is for the benefit of those of us observing these “great” lives from the other side. And here’s what I believe is balanced advice: Don’t celebrate the “successes” in other people’s lives more than you do your own. Particularly in marriage. I’ve seen people heap compliments on other people’s spouses when they have barely acknowledged their own husband or wife. Not good. Yes, your husband or wife has flaws. But so do your friend’s “perfect” spouse. You don’t know the full story; it has been deliberately hidden from you. Therefore, placing a demand or an expectation on your own spouse based on what you have observed – real or imaginary – in someone else’s marriage is not wise.
Yes, celebrate other people’s successes. But more importantly, don’t neglect to shine some light on your own life too. Make a deliberate choice to see, appreciate and celebrate the good things in your own life, everyday.
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