I once had a coworker tell me, after seeing a picture of my three children by a campground bonfire on social media, how wonderful my weekend must've gone, when I was supposed to be on nurse duty.
She never saw the eight-hour drive it took me to get to my children, after spending two weeks with my father. She never saw my father who was getting palliative radiation treatment for brain metastasis. My father who was emotionally torn between fighting for his life with his daughters here on earth, or waving a white flag and succumbing to the ugliest enemy, which ironically would take him to the most beautiful place – that being heaven with my mother. She never saw the tears on Sunday morning, when I had to leave my children, and make the eight-hour drive back to the medical facility, with my father (and his oxygen tank) in tow.
I once had a friend tell me, after seeing quotes about positivity and optimism on my social media pages, that she didn't understand why she couldn't reach me when she had seen me posting online.
She never saw the nights that week when I sent my husband on to bed alone, just so I could have an hour to myself. An hour just to be alone. An hour where it didn't feel as if the world was pulling me in all directions. An hour where I didn't need to be a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend. An hour where I could just be me.
She never saw the tears behind each quote that I posted to social media. She didn't know that I wasn't posting them for others, rather, I was posting them for myself – to remind myself of the good.
I once had a mother at a school meeting tell me, after seeing a family picture of us enjoying a beach vacation on social media, that she wishes her family could enjoy similar moments together on a family trip.
She never saw the look in our children's faces that year when they saw the other Christmas trees overflowing with gifts, while we had to explain to them that the number of gifts under their own tree was limited because we were going on a trip.
She never saw the number of times on that beach that I had to physically separate my children, to alleviate some of the stares that were directed towards my emotionally charged (and time difference sensitive) children.
She never saw the tears in my eyes when I saw that castle for the first time nor was she able to hear my mothers words in my head: "When Mom gets well, we'll go to Disney World."
She never felt the wave of emotions – sadness over the fact that my mother never did get well and that she never got this experience with her own children. My heart overflows with gratefulness that I was indeed getting to experience this with mine.
Maybe you are looking at others on social media.
Maybe the comparison of the lives of others, the moments of others, the experiences of others are weighing heavy on your heart.
I'm here to tell you that what you are looking at is nothing more than a highlight reel of one's life. Moments that are specifically chosen by someone to put out into the world. Just like a movie does not show you every single take of a scene – social media certainly does not show you all the takes in one's life.
Take faith in your journey. Yours and yours alone. Live through all your scenes, both the highlight reel and the outtakes. And take comfort that you are exactly where you are meant to be. And you are exactly who you are meant to be.
Also take comfort in the fact that we're all just a bunch of imperfect humans, who wish that they used their treadmill more or that this is the week they cut coffee out of their diet.
See what I mean? That would never make it to social media.