Picture Perfect

A dear friend of mine works for Young Life. YL had a seminar about how social media was making people feel bad about their lives because they only saw the perfect Instagram photos their friends would post. I thought about that for a while and realized that all of us who concentrate on happy, upbeat posts might be sending an incomplete message.

Mike Elder wrote a series of blogs called Fake it til you Make it. It kind of woke up the decorating community to the fact that we post our successes, rarely our failures. His blogs resonated with everyone. I’ve tried to be really honest with you guys in my blogs and tell you about the trials I faced in my baking life. But are my Facebook posts as honest? Maybe not.

When we see people cooking the perfect meal, taking the perfect trip, making the perfect cake, whatever…somehow it seems to make us feel a bit envious of their life and bad about ours. But the fact is, that the Instagram photos and Facebook posts are just like dust jackets on books. They show you the what the author wants to show you. Behind that dust jacket is the real story.

If I let myself, I can get really sad that friends of mine are doing things that I am not. I can wish my house looked like theirs, my abs were as tight as theirs, my teaching schedule as world bound as theirs, my family as picture perfect as theirs. What I have to remember is that the picture simply shows one perfect part of their life. No one really seems to have it all, at least not at the same time. They might be teaching in numerous countries, but be going through a divorce or be unwillingly single. They might have perfect abs but be going through a major financial crisis. They might have a huge house, but hate their job and wish their children would behave. They might have any number of health, relationship or financial problems.

There’s probably even someone who has thought my life was perfect or envied the good things I have posted. I want to be clear. I focus on presenting happy, encouraging, upbeat posts and try not to complain. But my life is far from perfect. People always tell me how lucky I am to be thin, but don’t forget that if you take my body, you have to take ALL of it. You get asthma, leukemia, adrenal insufficiency, hormone replacement, thyroid replacement and arthritis in the back. You get to have 10 prescriptions to keep up with. You have a doctor for everything. You have awesome surgery scars all over your belly. For each happy part of my life, I could show you the flip side.

You see, there is always more to the picture. Don’t let a moment in a photo change how you feel about you. Don’t let anyone’s success on one thing change how you feel about your journey. Remember, only you know your whole story. Show the world whatever you want, but don’t forget the human side to all of this. Instead of posting on someone’s timeline, give them a call or send them a text. Reach out to the real person, not the picture. Don’t let social media take away your social interactions. It should enhance your life, not undermine it. The dust jacket is only the surface. Get into the novel and you will see what is real. And, hopefully, find a way to feel blessed about the good things in your own life.




12 thoughts on “Picture Perfect

  1. Thank you for posting this..first of all for your honesty about your health issues as I wasn’t aware there was so much going on but also for the fact that I think the same. I always try to ‘ put on my happy face’ with so many that dont know what is going on behind closed doors but have no problem judging me or my actions . God bless and hope you’re feeling well .

  2. Your words were so Encouraging I called my best friend and told her I was so proud of her for Being such a good wife to her husband and mother to her children. She Is celebrating her 21st wedding Anniversary and it has been a struggle for her, but she Continues daily taking care her family.

  3. This is a great lesson for all areas of our lives. Funny thing is that men don’t seem to compare themselves to others near as much as women do. It’s just been my experience, with some exceptions. People are so busy trying to out do others that they are taking time to enjoy their own life and successes. Thanks for a great read!

  4. Ruth…. thanks so much for a much needed to be read blog! You said it perfectly! Like the old saying goes…. “grass is always greener on the other side” until you actually live there. I too often think and wonder why some have it so good and me have to go through everything I have gone through. It is only when I get to see how they really live, that I realize…. I really don’t have it all that bad, I actually have a very good life! I have a husband who loves me, a roof over my head, food for me too eat, I am healthy, I have a great retirement job with my Cake Studio, and I have great people in my life that love me for who I am! What more could one ask for!!! I am grateful and so thankful for what I have.

  5. Maybe we should have an old fashioned “come as you are” party. Encourage people to take pics of what they look like in that exact instant… post pics of their untidy homes with dishes in the sink and unmade beds. Pets that need to go to the groomers and cars that need to be detailed. Even unshaven husbands and unmowed lawns. I bet there is only a handful of people who would post to FB if we asked them to play this game. We could call it, “I’m an everyday person, just like you!”. LOL Great blog post, as usual.

  6. As I set her contemplating what to write, I’m reminded that God is in control of each and every life. I, too, have had my share of problems in life so I can empathize with you Ruth. We like to think they have a perfect life, but what are they hiding that we wouldn’t want in ours. Right now I’m battling another battle in my life caused by second hand smoke which I had no control over, but I could blame all the smokers, but that wouldn’t help me. The best thing for any of us to do is stay positive and not be envious of someone else. Thank you for posting this.

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