One things about the internet, is that it creates an illusionary world that is easy to believe in. It tells us about all the amazing adventures, great times and tons of friends that other people are having while we are failing to achieve the same. There is a very real risk of comparing ourselves to these illusions and believing that we are some how falling short or failing in life.
While most people aren’t lying on their social media, they are editting and carefully selecting what they share. We see pictures of happy, smiling children on great vacations. We don’t see when those same children are in their temper tantrums or in their sick nights puking on their parents. But logic demands that these children have those days too. We see the wedding photos and the birthday parties that summon up all the family to come together. But we don’t see the family conflicts or the years of disagreements or betrayals that are a part of all family dynamics. We see the long friend lists that imply deep human connection, but the truth is that most of those people on social media friend lists are acquantiences rather then close friends.
Logic dictates that the people and lives that we see on social media are not that different than our own. All these people have thier triumphs and their pit falls. All of them have days of happiness and days of sorrow. Yet, all we see is the filtered goodness that puts people’s lives in the best possible light. This puts us at risk for falling into the trap that social media illusions create for us.
One of the most dangerous traps is the friendship illusion. This is the illusion that other people have many deep and meaningful relationships. When we compare ourselves to this illusion, we will inevitability fail to measure up. Because the truth is that most people only have one or two people in their lives that are close friends with whom they share their inner world. People also have a handful of friends that are casual friends and then there are those that are aquantiences. These numbers are decitated by a simple factor of time. Building deep relationships requires and inventment of time that we simply cannot invest in more then a few people.
When we fall into this trap, we begin to ask ourselves why others have so many friends and we do not. We begin to spin a whole set of illusions to answert his question that in itself is a fallacy. Whether we blame our imaginary lack on the heartlessness of the world or on our personal short comings, the result is damaging. We are either left witht he belief that the world is a dark and unfeeling place or that we are some how defective and unlovable. In either scernio, we are working in a mental cage spun from the webs of illusions.
Know this: each of us has value and the world is full of people who have the potential to love us. Do not believe the illusions put forward by social media. Do not live in cage of illusions. Take risks and put yourself out there. Other people will respond to who you are. Some will dislike you, but some will be drawn to you. Focus on those drawn to you, they are your tribe and from that tribe, select a handful of people to fully invest yourself in. This is where all the gold and happiness of life can be found, in these few treasured relationships. They are worth waiting for. They are worth working for. This is what is real.