I don’t have a lot of time to write today. Mostly because I’ve spent the past thirty minutes on other people’s blogs and pinterest. Yeah, this internet thing is such a time sucker! I can justify it in my head, telling myself, and others, that I’m doing “research”, which is mostly true. I can get absolutely lost in the interweb, reading other people’s stories, looking at furniture makeovers and other DIY projects. And don’t even get me started about Craigstlist! I could spend hours trolling through the furniture and free sections, dreaming of paint finishes and other magical ways to transform those pieces into something beautiful. Then there are other photographer’s sites, which can be dangerous since I almost always come away from that feeling completely void of any sort of talent and wondering why anyone would hire me at all.
Just keeping’ it real folks.
But isn’t that sometimes the problem with the internet and social media? We get lost in other people’s lives or our perceptions of them. We see someone else’s home and suddenly feel dejected as we look at our own abode and the furniture that we were fine with just a few minutes ago, but now has us wondering how we can stand to live with it for one more day. Or we look at these beautiful living rooms on pinterest, while ours has toys strewn about blocking every step and cheerios ground into the rug. And isn’t there always that one person you follow on Instagram that seems to live a charmed life. They seem to have the life we want, or think we want. Their kids always seem to be doing the cutest things, their career is taking off in ways ours isn’t, and suddenly I hate this person and am depressed about my own life.
Aaaaaarrrgh! In those moments I feel so hopeless about what I have and even who I am. Why can’t I seem to keep my house clean? Or why can’t my house look like that? Are questions that begin to plague me and leave me feeling as if I’m the only one who can;t get it together. At the least, it leaves us discontent. At its worst, it challenges our very character.
But all it is is our perception. These seemingly perfect homes and people are anything but. All of those photos we see online of those perfect rooms, they’re all staged. I guarantee most of those homes don’t have fresh flowers in every room all the time and that is probably the cleanest they’ve ever been. They probably just cleaned up the coffee cups that were collecting on the counter. In fact, there are probably a pile of legos just outside the camera’s view.
And what we don’t know is those other people’s pain. They have it too. That’s one of the problems with social media; most of the time we only see the good stuff of others lives, so we form perceptions about what their lives are really like. There’s one person I follow on Instagram who is incredibly talented and easy to envy. I see where her career has taken her and how she is traveling all over the world. My perception of her was that she is living my dream. But then I found out about the disabling disease that has plagued her family. How everyday life has been a struggle in her house. And she became real to me. Human.
I am suddenly grateful for my imperfect life and my sometimes messy house. I’m thankful for the people and the love that make this house a home. It is meant to be lived in. I want it to be cute, but more than that I want it to be comfortable. I desire to create a space where people feel welcome. Where guards come down and true selves feel safe. A place where we can be who we are and get messy as we seek to learn and grow. I want to be genuine, transparent about my struggles and successes.
Yes I want a comfy chair to replace the uncomfortable rocking chair that doesn’t match anything. That sounds so trivial, but yes, I’ll admit that I have spent hours trolling the internet in search of the perfect chairs. But the truth is, we can’t afford one at this point. So I will choose to be content with what I have right now. I will be thankful for that rocking chair as is the one I was rocked in as a child. That brings its own sort of beauty and comfort to our living space.
I will continue to remind myself that in the comparison game, no one wins. In fact, I end up feeling worse every time I play. It’s a stupid game. Can we agree to stop. Or at least try?
Where do you play the comparison game? And what are you grateful for?