I’ve been writing and re-writing this post in my head for the last year. It’s a long time, I know, but it definitely tells you how much this has been on my mind. It’s been there in the background, writing itself, all through a variety of life experiences and a pandemic.
I’ve been thinking about stories. The stories that we see on social media through posts, photos, videos, and well, stories. Everyone has a story. On social media, everyone has a story that they are sharing. However, the story that is being shared is purposeful. It is the story that the person wants you to see. It’s only a small piece of their life. Most likely, it is the positive piece of their life. The happy, fun, and crazy wonderful stories that they are excited to share.
Yet…As I mentioned, this is only one small part of their story. What about all of the stories that we don’t see?
Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing only the happy, beautiful moments of life. The world is so crazy and it is encouraging to see those stories. This post isn’t about judging what you post because I can say that I honestly don’t care if you choose to post happy, sad, angry, frustrated, or transparent posts. It’s your life, you do you. This post isn’t about that. This post is a reminder that for all the stories we see online and on social media, there are more of them that we don’t see.
It can be so easy to look at someone’s social media and think, “Wow, their life is perfect.” But, don’t forget, that may just be what they want you to see. Again, that’s okay. But for you, the viewer, it’s important to not get caught up in their stories and wondering why your life isn’t as wonderful.
If you looked at my personal social media account right now, you would see photos, videos, and stories of happy moments in my family’s life. You would see the stories of my family, my children, our vacations, and much more. You would see the good because that’s what I want people to see because it is what I choose to focus on. If you know me, you know I am transparent to a fault. However, my transparency doesn’t always extend to social media. I share the stories that I want you to see – but it isn’t all of my stories.
The last year has been difficult. I’ve been blessed but it has certainly had its trials. You probably haven’t seen the stories of the variety of medical issues I have had, ranging from throwing out my back for months, to several outpatient procedures, to a concern over my heart, to morning sickness for months, and then to a variety of postpartum complications that led to surgery. You haven’t seen the stories of the ups and downs of how I handled the pandemic and how I never knew if I was doing right by my family. You haven’t seen the story about how I lost my grandfather to COVID. You haven’t see the story about how discouraging it was to be in my profession over the last year. You haven’t seen a few other stories…stories I won’t mention because it hurts too much to even write about and, well, those stories aren’t solely mine.
You haven’t seen all of my stories and I haven’t seen all of yours. I don’t share these stories for sympathy because, in some ways, they are first-world problems and I have not had the same depth of struggles as many have during the last year. I share them to simply remind us that everyone has an untold story.
So, I challenge you as you interact with others, whether in person or on social media, to be careful of how we view each other based on the stories that they share. It’s rare that you will get to know everyone’s stories but be mindful that you never know the whole story. There are many stories that you haven’t seen.