Not be confused with the looking glass self. Instead of the looking glass self, where you conform to what people perceive you to be, what if you could look inside other peoples glass? and see what they perceive themselves to be?
You know those people you follow who have it all together? You know the ones, the ones who did great in high school? The ones who went to college and somehow had a social and academic life? Got married? All while seemingly have not ever had a Itneybray Earspray 2007 meltdown? Yeah, me too, and I envied them forever. Every milestone I hit, I compared to when those perfect people accomplished it. “Only a few years behind” I would tell myself. I just could NOT believe how easily these people got things accomplished, like it was handed to them silver platter after silver platter.
I spent a lot of time envying them. The only things being handed to me were medical bills on a closeout TJMaxx chipped platter. All while I was having meltdown after meltdown. They looked like super models and were taking amazing trips. While I looked like a low budget zombie from Thriller and haven’t even left my bedroom in five consecutive days. I hated them.
Well, I hated them up until about 3 hours ago, until I had an epiphany. We are seeing what they want us to see. We are seeing them through their looking glass, their parallel world that they let us see. Behind their perfect achievements and announcements, were tears, and meltdowns, and self-doubt, and self-loathing. How do I know that? Because that is exactly what was going on behind the scenes of what I was portraying. Someone out there was probably thinking that I (YES, ME???) had it all. I cannot live with the idea that someone would be jealous of my life or thought my journey was easy.
“New car!!!” → I am so lost it’s so nice to have something to focus on
“I graduated!!!” → I have not slept for more than 3 hours in over a month
“Im going back to school!!!” → My anxiety is so terrible I’ve ripped all of my lips off
That was me.
It is the damn internet.
The internet has created this, bubble, this looking glass. For the first time ever we can share exactly what we want, and hide exactly what we don’t want people to know. Which is great is if we care what people think about us, but for the most part is super destructive. We look at these perfect people, we read the words they have time to write and re-write, and the pictures they shared that actually took an hour and 60 tries. However, we get to see the highlight reel, the perfection. We don’t get to see the long nights, we don’t get to see the tears of frustration, or the fights with their families. So, when we have the tears, and sleepless nights, and the fights we feel like failures. Why are WE having such a terrible time when our friends and peers seem to be just breezing through life?
What if we were really honest?
We feel compelled to share the highlights because thats all we have seen. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen someone share a post or a picture of them up at 4am with an anxiety attack and cold sweats? Hell no I’m not sharing mine. I’m going to throw on makeup and post a selfie so that you guys think I have it all together. (Spoiler alert: I don’t)
What if we didn’t just put up the highlight reel? Imagine seeing someone else crying because their kids wont sleep and they don’t know if they can handle it anymore? I bet a ton of people would sit back like, “wow, I know exactly what you’re talking about”. I bet people would reach out, either with questions or comfort, and just let each other know they’re not alone. What if people posted failed quizzes and rejection letters? When looking at people through the internet success seems to be a straight line for them. We know that to be false, but our mind won’t allow us to be logical though, because all we see is their success.
What if someone was open about their journey? Would it not be more meaningful and helpful if someone posted their three rejection letters along with that one acceptance letter? Would it not be more helpful if someone posted their failed quiz, their long study nights, their late night tears, and then showed us that aced final?
People think we are here to either see them fail or succeed, I don’t know about you but I am here to see the middle. I want to cheer on your journey, I want to know I’m not alone, but more importantly I want everyone to know they are not alone. Everyyyyone fails, everyyyyone loses their shit, everyyyone feels alone sometimes.
Social media has become the epitome of “the grass is always greener on the other side”. While you are struggling, someone, somewhere, is posting something amazing. However, what we fail to think of is that prior to that ‘something amazing’ there was a journey. There was hard work, there was blood, sweat, and tears. For every perfect picture you see, for every amazingly positive post you see, just remember there were probably 20 fails, there were 10 “I give ups”, there was frustration, and stress, and sickness.
The internet is a looking glass, you’re not seeing anything real. I want the internet, and our lives honestly, to be a giant damn window. What you see is exactly what is happening.
“I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then”
― Lewis Carroll,