In the last few years I’ve seen quite a few articles about how spending too much time on Facebook can negatively affect a person’s happiness. And for the most part I agree. If all you do is lurk around on there, then I guarantee you’ll be bombarded with image after image and post after post of your friends’ amazing lives and yours, in comparison, will feel inadequate. I think the phrase floating around is, “Don’t compare someone else’s highlight reel with your behind-the-scenes.” I couldn’t agree more. But I want you to think about the highlight reel in another way, and hopefully see your own life in a beautiful new light.
My small university “FINALLY” got Facebook in 2005. And like so many others, we were hooked. Posting witty status updates. Check. Posting pictures of the awesome thing we did with the awesome friends we have. Check. Poking. Che– eh not so much. Actually I don’t think I’ve ever “poked” anyone, is that still a thing? And without giving it too much thought, I posted this and that and time flew by.
If you were to look at my Facebook page in the last few years, you’d have seen a typical Oklahoma girl who traveled the world, got married, and had some really amazing experiences along the way. In November of 2012 you’d have seen a smiling couple announcing a pregnancy set for June. You could say on paper, or in this case, on Facebook, my life looked good. My highlight reel was strong.
At eight months pregnant I was hit pretty hard by the fact that I would be going at it alone. Um, wait. What!? Divorce was NEVER in the plans. Like I said, my highlight reel looked good. I don’t think anyone could have guessed what my first year as a mom would really look like. I certainly never saw it coming. Being a new mom is a beast even in the best of circumstances, throw in trying to figure out how you’re going to do it by yourself? Yeah, you’re going to have some pretty rough days. And while I am truly happy for all the good things that have happened to all my friends and loved ones in the last year, there were times I had to just stay off Facebook and Instagram because it was too hard seeing everyone else’s highlight reels.
There is an amazing woman who has done so much for me in the last year, but on one occasion she just blew my mind. I was having a really hard day, I mean week, I mean month. Okay, fine, year. And she looked at me and told me something I will never forget. She said, “This is not your whole story. This is a chapter.” It struck something in me then, but really rang true recently.
In the last few weeks I’ve reflected on the year behind me. One night I went through old posts and pictures. And do you know what I saw? Chapter after beautiful chapter. It was as if the blessings in my life were counting themselves before my eyes. It was almost overwhelming to see a life filled with so much love, so many facets. A life where the good far outweighs the bad. Again, I agree with the highlight reel analogy. But every now and then it can do you a lot of good to mentally set aside your “behind-the-scenes” and just enjoy your own highlights.
If you’re going through a hard time, I encourage you to “scroll” back through your life and look at your whole story. This chapter might be rough, but it’s only one chapter. Who knows? This may be your best chapter of all. This might be the chapter when you discover who you really are and what you are truly made of. It is certainly that chapter for me. So keep posting the best parts of your day, store up those happy moments. Instagram 15 billion pictures of your kid, post the obligatory shot of your feet by the pool, the dinner you are so proud of making, the sweet thing your spouse did, anything and everything that makes you happy. Because, and trust me on this, there just might come a day when you need to be reminded of these blessings.