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ON LIFE BEING ONE BIG COMPETITION

11.18.2015


The 25 Things You May Not Know About Me post I did on Monday got me to thinking. Particularly the part where I said "I'm not outwardly competitive... but feel like most things are a competition". Now I know I'm not the first to talk about this, nor will I be the last, but I still feel like throwing my thoughts out there. 

In a world where we are completely immersed in other people's lives via social media, the line between the virtual portrayal of one's life and real life can be kind of muddy. Is there anyone who participates in social media who's not guilty of putting something out there that may be just a little deceiving? Okay, sure, there probably are a few people out there. But I'd venture to guess that the majority of people skew things from time to time in order to create a social media image that suits them. I'm certainly guilty of it sometimes. I don't think it's always intentionally deceptive. It's natural to want to present yourself in the best light. Even if that light is rose colored.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with documenting the very best moments of your day or your vacation or whatever. That's how it's always gone, right? I mean, who wants to take photos of their crabby and whining child at the pumpkin patch? No, you take one or two photos while they're actually smiling (or at least not crying) and you leave those whiny/crabby moments to be recorded only in your memory (hopefully to be forgotten ;), leaving you with only pleasant memories to look back on fondly in the years to come. It's a good system. The only difference now is that we're not only changing the way we remember things years later, we're sharing it in real time with everyone we've ever known, everyone they've ever know and maybe even a few complete strangers.

Between Pinterest-perfect photos of everything and seeing only the tiniest snippets of the best of the best moments in other people's lives, it can be really hard not to compare. For me at least. And once you start comparing, it's probably not long before you start competing. Not in a "I win! You looooose!" kind of way, but more like chess. Okay, go with me here, it's analogy time. You know how in chess... let me just be honest, I've never played chess and don't know the first thing about the game, so I'm basing this off of what I've seen in movies and TV. So anyway, you know how in movies when people are playing chess, they make their move and then hit that little button thingy and that means it's the other player's turn? That's what I feel life is like in the age of social media. You post your perfect and maybe slightly misleading pic of your family outing or whatever, and pressing send or okay or share is like hitting that chess button. Like, okay, your move. It's like a competition to see who can create to most picture perfect virtual life. It's easy to feel like you've got to be as good a mom, or as pretty, or as crafty and on and on and on, and like you have to document all of it in order to keep up. 

But, it's also completely awesome to be able to follow the lives of people you may have never known otherwise, or don't get to see as often as you'd like. It's fantastic to be able to type in "toddler activities" or "potty training" and come up with hundreds of suggestions that can be super helpful.  But it can be hard to see those pictures that make someone else's life seem so perfect without comparing it to your less-than-perfect real life, even if for just a second. Or read those toddler activity suggestions without feeling like a less-than mom when you don't actually do any of them or try it once and feel like it was more work than it was worth.  

It's just so, so important to remember exactly what all of these things really are. Entertainment. Fun. Inspiration. And to remember that behind that perfect photo is a real, less-than-perfect person. Each and every one of is unique and awesome in our own way. No one is "better". For every awesome thing about you, there is something awesome about me too. Let's enjoy all the photos and ideas and reading all the stories, perfect and imperfect alike. Let's let them motivate us and bond us, but never undermine how lovely (like that? wink wink ;) our real lives are. And most importantly, let's remember it's not a competition.

Wow. I feel like a preacher now.


xoxo,
Nikki

4 comments:

  1. Awesome post!! --Katie

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    1. Thank you Katie! Glad you're still reading along!

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  2. This post is so great! I'm not outwardly competitive either, but I am on the inside so I can totally relate! And it's so true about social media and people only putting the best parts on there. Sometimes I have to remind myself that what you see on social media is always real/the whole truth.

    http://elementsofellis.com/

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I've really been enjoying your blog btw :)

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