This is a photo of me at Bisti beach, on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra.
What is it saying to you? That I’m happy? That I’m having the time of my life, frolicking in the turquoise-blue waters of the Aegean Sea? That I can afford an extravagant holiday on the other side of the world?
Maybe. Maybe not.
You don’t truly know.
But let me tell you. What it’s not saying is that I found the water utterly freezing. That I only dipped in for a few seconds because I thought it’d be a shame – and a waste of money – not to get salty seawater on my skin, having flown over multiple time zones.
It’s not saying that I wasn’t enjoying myself (the smile even fools me). That I felt lonely, even amongst people – people who were kind, but whom I couldn’t connect with. That I wished I were home with my loved ones.
Sure photos evoke feelings – but they’re your feelings of your perception of a micro moment in time.
That’s how we easily delude ourselves when we see others’ photos, as we scroll down our social media feeds. It’s how comparison sets in.
Even if we know that we can never see what’s actually going on.
It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgements about them, their present and their past, but you’d be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often than not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul. ~ Unknown
Like the hairline cracks appearing in a relationship of a newly wed couple while honeymooning in Paris, who are slowly coming to realise the difference between romantic love and the love that’s required to sustain a marriage.
Like the anxiousness and sadness of a person out on the town, drinking cocktails with a group of friends she’s outgrown… because what she really wants is to be at home reading a book on the couch, but fears she’ll miss out or be lonely if she doesn’t play by social norms.
Like the gruelling days/months/years of hard work, failure and sacrifice behind a start-up that is now become a successful business, or of someone who’s lost 20 kilos and is now running marathons.
Like the self-doubt of a woman donning size 2 lululemon active wear, eating an acai bowl while in a pretzel-shaped yoga pose.
So, stop comparing yourself to someone else’s life – one that you’ve made up in your head.
Get offline to live your real life – every messy bit of it.