I read the other day on Facebook about a distant relative’s relationship break up. It was a shock because she had posted a beautiful photo of her and her ex-boyfriend hugging, and the first few lines were a summary of how they met. She was lulling me into a false sense of security with what I thought was going to be a love story ending in an engagement announcement, but then she dropped me like a sack of potatoes at the news that they were not going to live happily ever after and were in fact ‘going seperate ways’.
Now, let me explain, I have actually only met this distant relative twice, I have never met her seemingly lovely boyfriend. But this distant relative-of-mine is quite into social media and regularly posts lovely photo’s and updates on what they get up to. So I feel connected to them. I know they have a long distance relationship, when they are apart they post about how much they yearn for one another, and when they reunite there is a post about how happy they are to be together again. They do romantic things together - I know all this, because she tells me and shows me, and the other 350 friends she has, on Facebook.
So anyway - in this very surprising break up post, she mentioned there had been many tears?!! And that they had reached a mutual decision that they were not right for each other!!! What the?! All news to me. I felt betrayed. I had been lied to.
Now, forgive me for being totally normal, and somewhat affected by my world and what I see and hear around me. But sometimes, when I’ve been feeling especially tired, grumpy, and lets face it - emotional for a reason that’s to do with a plummet in my progesterone levels and happens cyclically… I have been jealous of this distant relative-of-mine’s lovely, romantic relationship. I have compared my life and thought; if there are people out there like this distant relative-of-mine who are so happy and in love all the time, then maybe there's something wrong with me and my life.
But they are breaking up!
This is the one bad news snippet that people can’t hide. A break up. It eventually comes out. Now, I think it’s normal to compare yourself to your environment. In fact, if you are reading this on your high horse thinking “I never compare and judge myself against people around me” then I’d go as far as saying GET OFF! Only if you lived in the deep jungle with no access to other humans would you genuinely not be influenced by other people. And even then, you’d probably start comparing your ability to forage food to the apes that lived with you. My point is, everyone judges, everyone compares, so the point of not comparing is moot and lets stop quibbling over it.
But I digress, I guess my point is, how much more were they hiding? And I know they weren’t actually hiding anything from me. They were simply only showing me the best bits. And on receiving this news, which I’m not going to lie, took me a few minutes to get my head around despite having never been in their physical company. I began to go back and re-think all those times I had categorised my life metaphorically lower than hers and I upgraded it. So I was left with a mix of feelings; shock, betrayal, sadness for her, and then…slightly more satisfied with my lot in life.
So now, I’m at the end of my spiel and I feel the pressure to end with some wise words about social media, judgement, comparison and self worth. But I haven’t figured it out yet…we can’t stop looking at everything online, or stop the freight train that is social media. So I’m not going to offer advice or even an opinion. But I do like the idea of re-naming Facebook in my own head as “The Best Bits”. I think that will help me in the future and I’m happy for you to do it too :)
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