This afternoon, I’m popping back in to discuss another session topic with you.
(I bet you didn’t see this coming at all… *wink*)
I kicked off a four part series of discussions I took part in over the weekend at a women’s only retreat. In case you missed it, yesterday I talked about Embracing the Here and Now.
I’m so glad some of you found it helpful.
Moving forward, today’s topic is another step into embracing the present and the relationships currently in your life.
*Disclaimer: It’s about to get really real up in here!
Social Media, Misconceptions, and The Comparison Game
I’m so, so glad this topic was brought up and talked about.
Our session started off with our speaker, Michaell, addressing social media and the way we perceive ourselves and each other.
She showed different pictures from her Instagram account that made it seem like she had a happy, fun-loving life with a ton of friends and adorable family. Isn’t that what a lot of our pages look like?
In no way did it come across that she isn’t happy with her life, but she went on to describe what happened after some of those photos were taken.
The biggest example was a picture of her toddler on the beach overlooking the ocean. It was absolutely precious, and made it look like she was having a great day on vacation, right? (Life is perfect.)
It was, but what the photo doesn’t show is her son throwing a tantrum after, a flock of seagulls coming over to their picnic and eating his only special diet-friendly bread they brought just for the trip, the pouring down rain, and him crying from being irritated from sand the rest of the day.
Isn’t that a great example of how most of our photos only share a glimpse into reality? Yes, there are photos and times in our lives that seem perfect, but there are also a lot of them floating around that only captured the good ten minutes out of a horrible day. And that’s what we share.
(Nobody ever would have guessed that this was a hard day for both of us!)
I have touched on the subject of appearing perfect online, and only sharing the good before. If you are newer around here and missed it, I talked about how I/we/all of us aren’t perfect, no matter what it may look like from the outside.
Michaell took it a step further and dove into The Comparison Game. How we see each other… that – most likely filtered – version of us that goes online, and then comparing ourselves to that.
Yesterday I mentioned how the grass usually does seem greener on the other side. This is true in this regard as well.
Someone without kids could see a friend post a cute baby picture and instantly yearn for a family of her own. On the other hand, the tired mother of three could see a picture of her friend traveling overseas and get jealous of her freedom.
We often want what others have, especially if it’s different from what our lives involve at the time.
Embracing Your Role As a Friend
What I took home from her discussion is how pointless all of that is. Why are we comparing ourselves and subliminally entering ourselves into this nonexistent competition in life?
We spend so much time coveting the things and lives others have, that we are missing out on our lives right in front of us. Failing to Embrace the Here and Now, if you will.
Taking that a step further, she entered into the topic of embracing who is around you. Our family, our co-hearts, and our friends.
Friendship is so important. Especially same-sex friendships.
As much as your spouse or significant other can lift you up and fill the role of also being your best friend, it’s equally as important to find a group of women (or men, for the guys reading this) to bond and feel connected with.
This took me right back to a post I wrote earlier called Running In Circles about finding your support system and not being afraid to lean on them.
It’s so true.
Michaell went on to say that we need to have at least three (same-sex) Powerful Friendships in life to lean on:
• someone ahead of you (in age, or in their journey into faith)
• someone beside you (in age, or in their journey into faith)
• someone behind you (in age, or in their journey into faith)
This really made me think about the friendships I have and don’t have.
I had plenty of friendships beside me in Orlando. Back then, the majority of my friends were around my age and I shared a close bond with girls I danced with professionally, and at church as well.
I have always considered Scott to be someone influential and ahead of me (both in age and in faith), but I finally realized I need someone else in my life to fill the same role. A woman.
Since we have moved, the majority of the friendships I have made are with people behind me. My best friends I hang with the most are in their early twenties. It’s great, but also a challenge.
We have a lot in common, but at the same time, I know I see life a little differently, having already experienced the majority of my twenties. I know Scott sometimes thinks the same thing about me at times, given the fact he has eleven years on me.
(Well… in theory.)
All of this talk about friendships and embracing the role as a friend really got me thinking. Am I a good friend?
To be extremely honest, I’d have to say an overall no.
I’m a wonderful friend to the people I see every day, but not-so-great of a friend to the people I don’t get to see on the regular. Realizing this was a pretty hard pill to swallow.
Anyone who has recently gone through a huge change in their lives, whether it be moving across the country, getting married, having children, dealing with a loss, etc., can probably relate the most to this. Keeping up with friendships after life happens takes more work than you ever expected.
And what happens when this post-change life isn’t what you expected either? Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is remind yourself of it by talking to an old friend.
My closest long-term friends know this, but I am going to share it with all of you in hopes that someone can relate to it.
After moving, it took me a long time to find happiness in my new life. I feel like – a year and a half later – I am finally truly embracing the present and living for today.
For some crazy reason in my head, I didn’t want to admit that my life wasn’t how I pictured it for a while, and every time I talked to a friend or family member from back home, I had to put on a smile and act like everything was fine. I hated it. And eventually, I just stopped answering phone calls because I didn’t want to have to pretend, but I didn’t want to tell them the truth either. I was a horrible friend.
So, I shut people out. Not intentionally, but not un-intentionally.
That was my way of dealing with transition, and I was okay with it.
I made new friends, and clung onto every good thing I could find about this new life of ours. But that feeling of being content wasn’t genuine. Eventually, I missed my friendships with both my family and friends.
Today, it’s still a work in progress for me. This discussion and retreat couldn’t have come at a better time in my life, and I’m trying to put my best effort into embracing all of the roles I was designed to have.
We all have our troubles. We all have the hard seasons we go through. Friends were directly put into our lives to help us get through it!
I’m going to wrap up this post with quotes from Michaell:
“What we see on Instagram (perfection) is not reality, or what the real situation is.”
“We are getting so involved in what we look like and what we might look like, we are missing out on what is actually happening in front of us and our real lives.”
“We often settle for someone to like us instead of someone who can help change us.”
“Begin to let people in and let yourself be vulnerable.”
“Stop comparing and see each other as creations from God.”
A wise woman, she is! And I don’t think I can sum it all up better than that.
I am going to leave you with a few questions we had in our pamphlets to discuss in our cabin huddles. Feel free to comment below, or keep your answers to yourself and reflect in private!
• We talked about areas that prevent us from having intentional friendships as women. Which area to you struggle with the most? What are the reasons?
• Who is someone in your life that you know you have the ability to invest in?
There are two more session discussions coming at ya next week. See you in the morning with Friday Favorites!
I love this post! I had planned on posting a similar topic – “keeping up with the Jones'” loved this!
Glad you could relate, feel free to share the post when it goes live! 🙂
This so hits home for me… In the past year I have graduated college, moved to another state and gotten married (and currently am in the process of buying a house!). All these things have brought both my husband and I a lot of joy, but the two of us have been removed from a lot of friends in the process. We often get so caught up in our “new” lives, that the bits from the old are often pushed aside. We’ve already met so many fantastic people, but as a woman engineer it’s often hard for me to make same sex friends because I’m always surrounded by men. Praying for guidance in this part of my life, I could use a best friend that lives in the same state as me!
You’re so right. All of those big life changes can certainly be overwhelming! I can imagine that it is difficult meeting women in your profession, but what an interesting job! Enjoy the time you get with your new and old friends, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get close to even newer ones that come into your life. I have a feeling the right person (or people) will come into your life when you’re ready for them!
Moving away from the friends and family you’ve always known is extremely difficult. I too, have been bad about phone calls. But it goes deeper than that, because as an adult who moves you have to really TRY to make new friends, and it’s not easy. I really enjoyed this post, and appreciate you opening up. Nothing’s perfect. But pretty pictures are always going to be fun to share. 🙂
I can really relate to this. Making friends when you’re married and in your twenties isn’t easy! It’s nice to know we aren’t alone in this. I’m excited to get more involved in my church community and am excited for the day when I can teach classes again. I love the personalities that come through studio and gym doors!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
This post has SO much great stuff in it, I don’t even know where to begin. As a society who is constantly wrapped up in social media, it’s important to be reminded to not get caught up in the comparison trap. I’ll admit, it can be difficult as a blogger, especially who is regularly reading blogs, looking over Twitter & Instagram, etc. I have to tell myself to just back off sometimes and allow myself to enjoy the present with the people in my life. Working in some “office hours” for myself has really helped. I try to back away from the social media on the weekends and most of my evenings to devote my time specifically to family and friends.
And then there’s the whole moving/life transition thing… I can certainly relate to all of your feelings there. We just made a big move to Arizona from Utah, and I’m still sorting out all my emotions and feelings that have come along with it. Figuring out how to juggle all of those relationships is really difficult. I’ve kind of just come to the conclusion that I can’t keep in touch with EVERYONE otherwise I’d spend every waking hour on the phone or computer keeping up with them all. I really had to evaluate who it was that I wanted to make a priority and go from there.
Whew, lots to say, but great post. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
Thank you so much for your comment, Ashley! I totally agree… it’s very hard not to fall into comparing yourself to others, especially in the blogging world. I find that “office hours” has helped me as well. I used to get so wrapped up in responding to everything and going through my daily sites at all times of the day, and it just got exhausting. Now, unless I have nothing else going on or if Scott is doing something else, I turn the computer off and leave my phone somewhere else to unwind. I totally agree with you!
This post resonates so much with me! I too had some major life changes and as a result was in rough spot emotionally, pulled away from my friends, and was always comparing myself to everyone else’s seemingly great lives.
One day about 6 months ago I finally decided I’d had enough and deactivated my Facebook, which seemed like such a big deal at the time. That small move made such a huge impact when I realized how much happier I was without the constant comparisons. Slowly I started to build my life back up, and now I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, which is funny because nothing significant has changed in my life except my attitude as a result of finally quitting the comparison game. I am back on Facebook and other social media, but now rarely play the comparison game. I’ve also gotten back in touch with my good friends and make a genuine effort to stay in touch and visit them whenever I can.
Sorry this is such a long comment, but I related so much to this post and just wanted to share and also say I’m so happy that you too seem to be out of the darkness that comes with comparing and unexpected life changes 🙂
I’m so glad you overcame those obstacles! That takes so much courage. Social media can be an awesome, but very dangerous thing. Good for you to know when it’s right for your life! That’s wonderful to hear about you and your current relationship with your friends. Keep on shining, lady!
What a great, honest post. Thanks for sharing. I needed to read this today and I’m so grateful for your words. Great blog – love it even more now!
Thank you so much Holly! 🙂
I went through the same thing! Moving to a new place, becoming a homeowner, adjusting to new surroundings, new way of life, new friends, getting married – it was a lot! All positive changes, but I realize now those can be overwhelming in their own way and I lost touch with some old friends and my old self. I am finally coming out on the other side now and it’s a work in progress for me too. Thanks for such an honest, open post on a difficult topic. 🙂