It’s interesting that the internet allows us to create a “perfect profile” of what we really wish our lives were like. We can craft the perfect stories. We can edit out the bad parts. We can take 18 “selfies” until we get the perfect one before posting.
If I were half the man in real life that people who know me strictly online think I am, I’d be the perfect specimen of a man.
I’d be better looking than Ryan Reynolds (my go-to good looking guy). I’d be more generous than Bill Gates. I’d be wealthier than Mark Cuban.
If I were actually the guy you see on my Facebook or Twitter profile I’d be an amazing husband and outstanding father. I’d never binge watch entire series of TV shows on Netflix in favor of reading books or writing. I’d never sleep in until 9am while my 5 year old plays quietly in the playroom by himself.
But the truth is, I can be a real jerk.
My marriage has constant ebbs and flows. I don’t like the way I speak to my wife sometimes. I’m not the spiritual leader I want to be in my house. My kids sometimes really get on my nerves. Occasionally I go hide in the bathroom or make an excuse to go to the store just to find some peace and quiet. I’ve watched over 150 hours of TV in 2014, while I’ve told others to cut TV out of their lives to find more time.
I have a giant scar on the right side of my head and have a genetically missing tooth on the right side of my mouth so I always make sure the left side is what shows in pictures. I set a goal on January 1 to have lost 25 pounds by March 1, and I’ve only lost 2 (after I initially put on 10 pounds). I quickly untag myself in photos where I don’t look good.
2013 was the worst year of income I’ve had ever, and that’s including the year my wife and I both lost our jobs and almost went bankrupt. If you looked at my bank account right now, you’d probably laugh that I give financial advice for a living. Fortunately the things I teach are nothing new and are lessons that are taught in the Bible or I’d probably have little authority on personal finance.
In comparison to the version of me you see online, I’m a failure.
And you probably are too.
It’s natural for us to not want to share our struggles with the world. We think that if people really knew what was going on in our lives, they probably wouldn’t want to be friends with us. So we create a facade of this awesome life that doesn’t look anything like what’s really going on at home. We share the good things in our life freely online and even with our family and friends. But we leave the struggles we have as something to wrestle with internally.
And when we do that we create an unrealistic expectation for ourselves. We set the bar so ridiculously high that it’s impossible for us to hit it. And then we feel like failures, trudging through life without the hope of getting better.
I want to be a better husband and father. I want to watch less T.V. and to read more. I want to have more money so I can keep chasing after the dreams I have and to continue being generous. I’m going to stop comparing myself to the online version of me I’ve created and just focus on getting better.
I think you should too.
Have you created an awesome version of yourself online that is different than who you really are? Tell me about it in the comments.