Have you ever scrolled through your social media feeds, flipped through the pages of a magazine or read a blog post that has made you think, “Wow, do they have it good. I wish I was there doing that!” If you’re human, the answer is an overwhelming yes because we’re bombarded with perfectly curated lives on blogs and through social media. All of this can make us think that our life circumstances can’t compare and that where we are doing what we’re doing is somehow lesser and not good enough. But that’s not the case at all and the grass is not always greener. Social media has changed how we view ourselves in relation to others and the effects aren’t always positive.
The grass is not always greener
Recently, Christine of C’est Christine wrote a refreshingly honest post on the topic of authenticity online after receiving an email from a reader who started out her email to Christine with, “You’re living my dream life.” She was taken aback. Christine eloquently writes:
It was flattering, and yet, a bit jarring: am I even living my own dream life? Because, in all seriousness, the life I imagine in my dreams does not involve fluorescent lights and subway rats and forking over most of my paycheck to rent. I live in one of the world’s most expensive cities, a metropolis that’s crowded and cultural, stunning and dirty, the best on a good day and the worst on a bad day. I work in an office that’s housed in an architectural gem with expansive views, but I’m still surrounded by glowing computer screens and HR policies. I trudge in with the morning commuters and rush home on the evening train, working for those two glorious days of freedom (and yet, spend most of my weekend cleaning the bathroom and buying groceries and squeezing in a workout).
She perfectly frames what big city life is like for most of us despite the fact that we’re only getting half the story online. We’re only getting the story the author writes for us and shows us via pictures. It’s a carefully crafted story and we all do it. We post pics of ourselves having fun, going cool places and taking five seconds to ensure our dreamy Instagram snap gets enough likes to make us feel like it was worth the effort.
We have to realize that the small sliver of what we’re seeing online is exactly that — just a small portion of what’s really going on and not the full reality.
There’s no ugly or sad or mad. Who wants to see or read that?
Christine beautifully closes her post with the following:
I guess all I’m trying to say is that romanticizing and idealizing my life (or any other slice of the internet) isn’t going to improve yours: only you can do that, because only you know what what your behind-the-scenes looks like compared to the highlight reel.
So true and beautifully stated.
Sometimes as expats — or those looking to escape their current life/career/family situation — it’s easy to peer into others’ lives and feel a sense of envy or even sadness that you’re not there doing that.
If we’re always looking around for greener grass, we’re completely blind to everything we do have right in front of us.
So how can you stay grounded and not feel like you’re doing it all wrong and missing out on all the good stuff that everyone else seems to be doing?
Keep these points in mind:
No matter where you live and what you’re doing, something else will always look appealing.
Right now I’d give anything for some froyo. Does that mean I want to move to the US? No. It just means I’m missing a delicious blend of frozen yogurt from Red Mango with dark chocolate and coconut and a few sprinkles. I’ll get over it. Is life in France amazing all the time? No. And neither was life in NYC. Or anywhere. Life is a collection of experiences and hopefully if you do it right, you’ll look back and be happy with your choices and the things you’ve gone through and triumphed over. Go and do what appeals to you and remember you’re never stuck.
Remember that what you see online is what people choose to show you.
Me included. We put our best selves forward online and curate what we want others to see. It’s real but it’s not the full story — and it’s not supposed to be. I try to keep it real around here and show you the good and the bad, but more times than not I show you the fun day trips we take, the pretty pictures and the aspects of France that are positive. No one wants to hear about family issues, illness, personal problems and all the other very real aspects of life but that maybe no one would “like” while scrolling through a Facebook feed. We show others the best.
Do YOU & the hell with the rest.
The grass is NOT always greener somewhere else. It’s just different. And don’t forget the grass is pretty damn green right where you are. On days you forget that, force yourself to look harder. On that note, I really do have to go mow my lawn…