Have you ever read or heard that Facebook is bad for your self-esteem?
Think about it. What do most people post about on Facebook? Probably their: TOTALLY AWESOME VACATIONS! THE AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS MEAL FROM LAST NIGHT! THE SUPER HARDCORE WORKOUT FROM THIS MORNING! etc, etc.
I'll admit, I'm totally guilty of this too. I post vacation pictures, pictures of the cakes I decorated, me doing aerials, and what is probably the most annoying habit: I post pictures of my adorable daughter (she's really cute, it's hard not to inundate my Facebook feed with pictures of Ruth everyday).
Why do we do this? Ostensibly, it's to share, right? Share pictures with friends and family who aren't local. Share good and bad experiences with vacation locations/businesses/restaurants. Share our successes, and share our failures. Share our feelings, both positive and negative.
But maybe, just maybe, we also share to make ourselves feel better.
I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. Facebook is a great communication tool. I'd never know about friends struggling with depressions/anxiety, physical illness, crappy jobs, job loss, etc. if they didn't post things on Facebook. And I want to know. The last thing I want to do is make an inappropriate joke or comment to someone (which isn't to say that I wouldn't do that due to my extreme Darcy-pants), but knowing will make it slightly less likely that it would happen.
Obviously I've used this blog and Facebook to describe some of my recent family stresses (they're still ongoing, by the way). I wanted to let people know that something crappy was happening in my life, and writing the posts that I did was the easiest way to do so. It also provided me some cathartic release. Perhaps the less formal avenue of a cyber community makes it easier for people to share difficult things?
So, the shares I'm really referring to here are the boastful posts. The vacations, the fancy food, the *cough, cough* aerials videos. Let me say again, I am NOT without guilt. I don't post my pictures to intentionally make others feel bad, and I'm sure others don't post their pictures to make me feel bad, but I do. I desperately want to have cool worldly travels, do amazing aerial tricks, and have the cutest baby. But I can't, and I don't, and trying to find positive things to say about your awesomesauceness is dragging me down.
This is why Facebook is terrible for the self-esteem. We post the awesomest pictures of our lives, which makes the rest of us in our turn to feel like our everyday sucks.
I'm not asking anyone to stop posting pictures exemplifying their badassitude in life, I'm mostly trying to remind myself that people tend to share only the smallest, best portions of their lives, and in between those moments they still have to do laundry, get groceries, and brush their teeth. And, unless you're Chuck Norris, you probably do those things in a pretty boring, everyday manner.
So, I'm planning an experiment. For the next week or so, I'm going to post ordinary pictures. Pictures that show what my current life on mat leave is like. I'll try to limit the posts to less than 5 a day, and none of Ruth being cute. Feel free to comment or not, feel free to post your own in response to mine. Feel free to ignore me completely.
It's your life. and this is mine.