We live in a huge world that we’ve made very small. Like never before we see how people on the other side of the world, on the other side of the city, in the higher apartment, in the bigger house, with the traveling lifestyle, with the dream job, with the cute family, with the idyllic life are living. The capacity to compare is through the roof. Not only do we have lots of avenues to compare ourselves to people we don't know, and will probably never meet, there is more and more pressure to compare ourselves to society's ideal version of who we should be and what we should be doing at this point in our lives exactly.
Oftentimes I find that version of who I might be is so ingrained into my conscious, it feels like I’m comparing myself, to my own ideal version of myself. There have been milestones and markers and ladder rungs that I thought I would have met by this point. And generally speaking the milestones of our lives today are much different from even a decade ago. Expectations may be more fluid, but they’re still there. Our ideas of what people can do to make a living have expanded to a place of overwhelm. And our ideas of at what age you should reach a point of success are getting younger and younger. To own your own company before your 30 seems not uncommon. But it’s also not uncommon to see article titles like this one: “Millennial's are Worse Off Than the Generation Before”.
We rarely see the lives that people lead behind their self promotion. Our social media presence, has become our resume. Filtered, edited, curated, deliberate and misleading. I don’t discount myself of playing a part in this. A few times I’ve been on the receiving end of comment about my life, based off of my Instagram and I always find myself surprised about the feedback. But then I realized it’s what I’m posting and that these friends who I’m talking with aren’t there with me every day when I have to draw myself out of bed. An internal battle going on like that between a dog that doesn't want to keep walking and its owner determine to carry on. They aren’t there with me when I’m sobbing in my car or talking to my dentist about how I clench my jaw. I don’t post about the angry stressed out customers that yell at me at work. And why would we broadcast those things? I have no interest in remembering them, and that's not the vision I want to paint for my life.
I recently heard it said that no growth can come without compression, friction and hardship. That even to grow into a fetus our cells must first endure pressure inside the womb. The womb that is specially designed for this one amazing function of growing a human. Even there, both the cells growing, and the mother growing them, must endure. So knowing this, knowing that in order to grow and change and thrive, we have to go through points of struggle, doubt, hurt, and sadness, wouldn’t you think it would be safe, rather than shameful, to share those things? Those things that we all have to go through.
I’ve also had feedback that some people are shocked by how much I already do share on these platforms. In those instances there is always a flash of shame before I come back to my senses and think, but this is my goal! To talk about these things that we have for so long been lead to believe you should not share with your community. If it’s true that we all have to experience fits of anger and bouts of depression then why not talk about them. Why not share our experiences and our tools. Why not share our lows so that we can more fully and graciously celebrate each others highs.
Vulnerability is the cure to shame. To share our fears and our failures will show us that they are not the end, they are not the roadblock we are lead to believe. I choose to put my faith here. In the idea that if I continue to share, continue to support others who share, and proceed to share even more authentically - stigmas will start to disappear, growth will happen, dreams will come true and futures will be made.
So I know it’s hard but I’ll ask you to share too. Start small and grow in big ways. I can tell you that you’ll start to become more comfortable in who you are, and you’ll find that in most (not all) instances, you’re met with compassion. If you’re not ready to share then start to notice. I’ll also ask that when someone is brave enough to share with you, you meet them in compassion as well.