In a time when social media blurs the line between reality and fantasy it's hard to distinguish what is genuine anymore. Whether it's a relationship, career, friendship or lifestyle, we have forgotten how to accept life for what it truly is... imperfect and flawed. It's as simple as a few well taken photos and one can paint a picture of the quintessential life. We choose to hide the mistakes, the flaws, the less than perfect moments in a desperate attempt to prove ourselves. And yet the audience of approval is a sea of strangers. In this constant striving for perfection we fight feelings of insecurity, low self esteem and doubt. Whether we like it or not, we are now in a generation where we can socialize but yet avoid any real face to face interactions. And people who don't even know us can have a negative presence in our lives... but only if we let them. So many people waste time trying to show their true colors to an online world that has become color blind. A distorted social world in black and white. Good or bad. Success or failure. Perfect or falling short. Wasting your time comparing yourself to complete strangers and expecting to feel good about yourself is about as pointless as trying to grow a garden without ever planting a single seed. So plant your seeds in friendships that will nourish you.
Maybe it's a failed relationship, unresolved hurt, a broken family or damaged friendship that has also left you feeling like you don't measure up. I get it... it can seem like an easy solution to shut others out to protect yourself. Sure... you may succeed in shutting out anger, sadness or ridicule, but you also shut out the opportunity to feel happiness, love and acceptance. Shutting down and pushing people away does more damage to yourself than to the people you shut out anyways. That's why I have always found is so frustrating when people boast and feel dignified in being closed off to their close friends...
"Nobody knows who I really am"
"People think they know me."
"No one ever gets me or what I've been through" etc etc etc.
Obviously these statements are great responses for people passing judgement or strangers making accusations about you. But I'm talking about close friends that care about you. These people SHOULD know you. I hope all my close friends are my CLOSE friends. I want those in my life to know exactly who I am. I hope they all can read me like an open book, because what's the point of writing your own life story if you forgot to include anyone in it. I find it a compliment when my friends say they know me well. Because that just means I am living the truest expression of who I am. I'm not afraid to be me. And I am not talking about being an introvert or not. Even those who enjoy keeping to themselves and living a private life still need to have close friends that they open up to.
Sadly I think shutting down is sometimes an attempt to gain back that privacy that is so often robbed from us by exposing our lives on social media. For some people nothing is kept private anymore... nothing. Personally, I still want privacy in my life. Sure I am an extrovert, and yes I share parts of my life on this website, but there are many aspects of my personal life that remain personal. You won't find every meal, every date, every outfit, every gathering or every personal moment of my life displayed to the internet. I share those details with my close friends and family.
We are meant to learn from others, gain knowledge from others, and love others. I'm not saying that the answer is sharing your deepest secrets with the next person you meet on street. Or that you should shut down all your social media either. But I do strongly suggest that you choose carefully who you invest your time in. You become most like the 5 people that you spend the majority of your time with, so choose wisely. Surround yourself with people that make you happy, support your goals and make you feel good about yourself. Trust them, love them and then let them in. Sure there is still no guarantee that you wont get hurt. But if you really want an easy solution to NEVER getting hurt again, don't ever have friends or relationships again. Sounds fun right?
Honestly last year was the hardest year I have ever been through. I was hurt, I was angry, I was vulnerable, I shut myself down, I pushed people away, I put my trust in the wrong friendships, and it ultimately hurt me even more. But that just gave me a chance to reevaluate what was important to me and who my true friends were. Comparison is the thief of joy. Who cares what's happening in the lives of people who you know nothing about. Share with those that share with you. And accept that not everyone will like you. With so many different conflicting personalities in this universe, it's only common sense that not everyone will like you. I've accepted this reality a long time ago... and thank goodness I did. Because trying to make all 7.4 billion people in this world like me would be pretty exhausting.
Comparison with yourself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent ~Author Unknown