Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? I often find myself shuffling through the latest posts from my so called “friends” on social media. One person after the next, consistently displaying how awesome their lives are. Pictures with all their amazing friends, eating at the coolest new restaurants, having the time of their lives. After making the rounds through news feeds, pictures and posts; I end up either annoyed at how stupid people are or envious of how cool their lives are.
Yesterday I had a revelation that resulted in a deep sense of peace. Social Media is not reality.
Here are a few Tweets you’ll never see:
“Today I feel insecure about who I am as a man.” #despisingmyself
“My business is losing money” #worriedaboutmyfuture
“I’m afraid to talk to my wife about sex” #losingher
“I hate my job but I’m not good at anything else” #trapped
“I’m broke and in debt but check out my new motorcycle!” #creditcard
“I make funny jokes because it distracts me from the pain I feel” #avoidinghurt
The point is not to air your dirty laundry on Facebook, please don’t. The point is to understand the big picture. There is more to the story that what is shared.
Human beings long for connection. They want to be truly accepted and loved. “If people knew who I really was, no one would like me.” I think that’s why most people only share things that make them look better. In a sense they’re saying, “See how great I am, you should like me.” Even if it works, a blue button never seems to satisfy.
When a person is known as likable, how are they often described?
You hear words or phrases like; authentic, down to earth, comfortable with themselves, caring, compassionate, unselfish or fun. These characteristics simply cannot be authentically displayed through social media. They can only be experienced in person, through true relationship and personal connection. Deep down, we all know this.
So why do we do it?
For one, it’s clean. We can pick it up and put it down whenever we want to. If something bothers us or gets messy, we can simply remove it from our view. It gives us control. We can decide what we want to deal with and what we want to ignore. Easy.
Here’s the problem. There’s a cost. We miss out. If we aren’t willing to embrace the good and the messy, we miss out on really knowing and being known. Vulnerability is the path to true connection and relationship. Without connection, it’s almost impossible to find purpose in life. It’s what humans were made for. For more about how to be vulnerable, watch this Ted Talk by Brene Brown. It’s outstanding and worth taking the time to watch.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others. The stories shared on social media are mostly from the good side of life. They are a lousy metric to evaluate your life with.
2. Be intentional about finding true connection with friends, in person. Be vulnerable. The same walls that hide our weaknesses, hide our passions and our ability to love.
3. When the opportunity to be vulnerable presents itself; don’t avoid it by having a drink, changing the subject or cracking a joke. Embrace it. It could lead to a breakthrough.
Michael McGreevy is a 48Days Certified Coach and founder of Be Real Men. Michael helps men uncover the gold within them so they can face fear and take massive action toward a life of passion and purpose. He and his wife Lydia are expecting their first child in January.