The Importance of Being Real

I love Facebook. Anyone who knows me knows I spend way too much time on that website. Since moving over a thousand miles away from family and friends, and then 5 years doing it again, I can tell you right now that Facebook has been an amazing way of keeping in contact with loved ones. They can read updates about our new life on the east coast, see photos of the kids, and be able to still be a part of our lives even though we can’t see them in person anymore.

That said, there is one thing that I really, really, really dislike about Facebook. It is so easy to be fake. And likewise, it’s very easy to read only the good things about other people’s lives and thus naively (and incorrectly, I might add) make the assumption that this person’s life must be perfect. Conversely, when all of someone’s posts are negative, it’s easy to draw the assumption that the person must be a Negative Nelly. I can attest to this, because I have been on both sides of the fence. There was a period of time in my life that was not easy for our family so just about every post I made was some form of a rant, and it interfered with real relationships because people were only seeing me complaining. Once I was confronted with that, my pendulum swung the complete opposite direction and I was then told more than once that my life must have been so perfect, I must have such a wonderful marriage and well-behaved children, etc etc etc – all because I was trying to make up for my previous mistake of always being negative by always being overly positive. I felt like I couldn’t win!

Thankfully, I have had some time to grow up a little when it comes to the online world. I have realized that no one is perfect. No one’s life is supposed to be a dream. (And, really, how much fun would I be if I never made a mistake I had to learn from, or never had parenting mishaps to share with you all to make you laugh?) Here’s how I see it. My online me is just an extension of the real me. The real me is very human, very flawed, and very in need of a Savior. I have highs and lows, just like everyone else. I have awesome days when I want to sing for joy, and I have days when I just want to crawl into a hole and be left the heck alone. I think it’s awesome to have a place like Facebook where I can share these highs and lows with those people I know actually care.

The challenge I have given myself is this: I am committing to being “real” when I’m online. When my day stinks, I shouldn’t be afraid to vent. It’s okay. We ALL have those days, and it’s amazing how comforting it can be to simply have someone say, “I’ve been there, I understand.” When I just had the best day ever, I don’t want to feel like I shouldn’t share that because someone who is having a rough time might read it and feel even worse. I have been there too, and the truth is, I often find it uplifting to step outside of myself and my own problems and to simply be happy for someone else. It’s some seriously awesome therapy, let me tell ya! I am putting to rest the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” No more always try to make my life appear perfect. Instead of focusing on painting the perfect portrait of a life for others to see, I will think about how I can be more encouraging and uplifting to others. I don’t know about you, but I need a healthy dose of REAL in my life!

Will you join me in this challenge?