If a group of friends hang out, and no one posts about it on social media . . . did it actually happen? Have we placed such a high priority on our online images that our real-life relationships begin to suffer? Sometimes, I wonder.
There have been times when I have scrolled through my various news feeds and felt insanely jealous. Sometimes it seems like everyone is hanging out and I’m just sitting in the library doing homework or sitting in my room watching Netflix. Everyone is out having fun with their friends and posting great pictures and status updates . . . and I’m tweeting about how much I hate Gulliver’s Travels and taking artsy pictures of the flowers in my windowsill. It doesn’t matter that I had supper with my friends the night before or watched a movie with my roommate that afternoon. In those moments, it seems like everyone is having fun, and I’m doing nothing worthwhile (at least nothing worth posting about).
But here’s the big secret: We all feel that way. And guess what? No one is having as much fun as you think they are. I realize that social media is a huge part of how we connect with others now. There’s no changing that. People will always post pictures, status updates, and blogs about how great their lives are. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change our own attitudes. And it doesn’t mean we have to change how we perceive ourselves. We often gain our self-worth from how many likes and retweets we get. In the past, I’ve actually deleted posts because they didn’t get enough attention. I think we’re all guilty of finding too much worth in who we are online and not who we are in “real” life.
So, how do we change that? You can’t change what others post and say, so the change has to happen within yourself. Cultivate your real-life relationships. Recognize that what people post online doesn’t always represent what’s actually happening in their lives. And most importantly, recognize that your ultimate worth comes from Christ—not Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.