If we are honest, when scrolling through the endless stream of photos and status updates on Facebook, it may appear that everyone we know is thriving. Friends are winning awards, accomplishing lifelong dreams, giving shout outs to the best spouses and kids ever, hailing their culinary successes, and enjoying bucket list vacations.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy celebrating the successes and milestone moments of friends and family. However, I can’t help but wonder how seemingly innocent and well-meaning posts may be perceived by those struggling to survive.
This realization evolved during a season when my Facebook page was being inundated with posts celebrating, what seemed to me, like thousands of babies meeting their developmental milestones brilliantly early. These innocent proclamations of parental joy proved painful for a parent of a special needs child, who was walking a slow and challenging journey rarely seeing the smallest of progress. Rather than entering into the celebration of those posting, I found myself avoiding such updates for they only seemed to create seeds of jealousy and bitterness. When I started feeling this way, I couldn’t help but imagine what others in similar situations may also be experiencing. I know the people I brush shoulders with in the day to day seem more open to share their struggles to keep hope alive within very fragile life situations; failing health, infertility, hurting marriages, dead-end careers, undesired singlehood, etc. Is there a place for empathy in social media or will it always be a sea of selfies?
I am not here to take away the fun of Facebook or any other social media, nor propose a deep analysis of each and everything we post in simple joy. I am, however, compelled to ask myself, how I can be more honest and thoughtful in my engaging with it. Am I only willing to share my successes and further perpetuate an appearance of thriving when in reality I, too, may just be barely surviving?
If we are honest, when scrolling through the endless stream of photos and status updates on Facebook, it may appear that everyone we know is thriving.
I have come to recognize that the last thing I desire to do is unknowingly create a stumbling block for someone else. I do not wish to add to the distractions that not only rob others of their precious time (because we all know how a few minutes on Facebook can turn into a few hours), but also may steal any sense of joy or peace within the season one may be currently journeying through. So, I am left to not only filter that which I encounter in cyberspace for my own good, but to also do the same for the words and images I offer back to the world.
I try to ask myself if what I am offering has substance, supporting the cause to highlight that which is noble, good and right to a broken world which needs to be gently reminded. How can even a seemingly insignificant Facebook post be worthwhile and encouraging if even in some small way? How can I portray living a grit and grace life?
Don’t miss Mom’s Imperfect Perfection or Dropping the Social Media Cape