Scrolling through my Facebook feed on a holiday weekend is pretty much a disaster. In fact, it’s usually every weekend that it’s a disaster but I just keep scrolling and keep my mouth shut. Today, though, it warrants a post; an awareness, if you will.
I have a friend who messaged me today. We both detest how some people post how ridiculously amazing their lives are. It is one thing to post happy things and put out the positive vibe, but it’s a different thing when people insist on making life look like one big party when it isn’t. Especially when onlookers are lonely.
After the third friend messaged me about the same thing, I had to stop and ask myself why this keeps happening. There really is no answer that we can come up with other than people want to the be looked at as exhibiting a good life. Afterall, posting a picture of extreme happiness would clearly get more likes than would, “Yep, I’m alone today and no, there’s nothing going on and no one around.” I mean, that just sounds sad, doesn’t it?
I happen to have a voice and a platform (and gajones, clearly) to simply say it. To the mom who is at home supporting a husband who picked up hours and is working, this is for you. To the mom who doesn’t have any family where you live, and very few friends, this is for you. If you have limited funds and have to hang tight at home and find ways to entertain yourself and your kids this is for you. This is also for you if your Facebook feed is making you sad, jealous, envious and possibly discontent – even if just for a day or a moment. No one’s life is what it seems. Social media is a liar.
How To Deal: Five Ways
As a pilot’s wife who lives in a small town where I have few friends and hardly any family, I personally understand how so many people can feel this way and I especially understand why no one admits it. There are ways to combat this and there are positive steps I take in order to not let it fester in my brain.
1. Delete all social media apps
If seeing people’s supposed perfect life makes you feel left out, then you have a choice to not view it. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and gluttons for punishment. Just walk away!
2. Don’t let your mind wander.
Seriously. Maybe you’re the type to be upset with the person. “Why didn’t they invite us?” may cross your mind. The truth is that it’s not personal! It can be people we haven’t seen or spoken to in years and yet we still somehow would feel left out. It doesn’t mean it’s not supposed to hurt, it’s that maybe some perception can help. People post their lives and it’s rarely with intent to hurt someone’s feelings so try and avoid being upset at the person, if it wasn’t intentional. Nothing is as great as it seems. Nothing.
3. Make plans to stay busy
Look for things in your area that are free or inexpensive to do in your area. Plan to get out of the house in many ways. We go to the movies and we looks for walk-in classes of some sort. I google “children’s theatre” multiple times a day because they are generally affordable and they promote fun and dreams. It’s okay if you sit there and half listen. Loneliness doesn’t go away just because you’re out. But it helps! I’m not the crafty mom so you won’t hear “start a project” from me. That’s just another mess to clean, if I’m being real with you.
4. Call that one friend who gets it, and stick together.
I’m pretty certain you’re not alone in how you feel. Call that friend who lives on the other side of the world. That friend whom you know that if you lived closer, you’d be together. Talk openly and honestly about how you’re feeling. If you reach out, you have the power to bring someone the relief of understanding.
5. Do the inviting, and learn from this.
No one likes to feel left out. Be the change and look for those who may be feeling the same as you do. Maybe you can create your own network and support system. When you’ve found this network, regardless how little or large the number is, remember how it feels to feel left out. Always be on the look out for someone who may feel the same.
This will pass.
You will be okay, I promise!