Letting it get to me

I’m so tired of the way I react to certain things. Posts about how great someone’s life is, how over achieving someone’s kids are, how fabulous and fulfilling someone’s job is, how beautiful someone’s house looks. I KNOW it’s not the whole truth. I know life is a nuanced, complicated thing. I totally GET it. And yet I find myself stewing in… I don’t know what. Not self pity. My life is not awful. My life is, in fact, pretty great. I am, actually, quite satisfied. So why do I let this petty shit, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, get me down?

I honestly don’t know. I WANT to know, but I can’t figure it out. I think identifying why something bothers you can be enormously effective in learning more about yourself. If I could figure out why these posts make me feel what I feel (which honestly, is hard in itself to determine – What emotion is this? Envy or jealously toward them? Disappointment in my own life?) then I could work on some obviously deep seated issues. And yet, I can’t seem to manage it. Sometimes I really wish I could find and afford a therapist.

This is clearly a big trigger for me. Social media made me so miserable, I walked away from it and never looked back. And whenever I consider allowing it back into my life, even for something I know would be positive (like creating a new account to participate in a book club that happens only on FB), I ultimately decide I can’t handle it, or just don’t want to try.

I probably have more to say about this but my thoughts lately are so jumbled. Instead I’ll just hit publish, and put this out there, because maybe someone else feels the same way and reading this will make them feel less… I don’t know, alone? Weirdly unable to cope with something everyone else seems to manage just fine? Or maybe I really am the only one who gets bummed out by the “my life is magical!” posts where people have houses and children and husbands and meals that photograph (and write up) perfectly, and I need to just shut up and get over it. Either way, I’m putting this out there. Because my house is a disgusting right now and my kids haven’t been bathed all week (and are yelling at my a lot), and my husband is being a stress case and I made frozen samosas for my dinner last night.

10 Comments

  1. I know and understand the feeling.
    It comes up even when I can see a bigger picture that is not perfect. When I have heard the compromises (sometimes HUGE) that got to that tiny image of perfection.
    But the feelings are huge. And, it is hard to hold on to reality and the imperfections of humanity when we see ‘picture perfect externals’ held up as attainable.
    And the feelings swamp us into discouragement, negative self-judgement, viewing their external against our internals and dismay and depression. It is hard at that minute to hold on to facts hard enough to not sink under the feelings.
    Thank you for posting about this. It helps me in the black dog times. Because you always seem to do so much, and accomplish more than time allows, and have beautiful human children that you are sensitive to, and a husband who wants to be supportive even when he isn’t always perfect, and …. well. So thank you for saying sometimes your world isn’t a picture book ~ just like all the rest of our lives.

    1. Kept thinking about this.
      Is the word self-doubt due to all the little put-downs, and aggressions we face and the constant message that when things don’t go perfectly or someone doesn’t love us the way we wish that we have caused it. Or just all the different ways we are told we are defective or so damaged that … . Some of which can be explicit directed at us by others, but also includes the constant articles that if we just did our eye make-up like so, or wore y outfit, or tamed or curled our hair, or lost weight, or read the right book, or cooked the right food or… .
      I think women (and today many men too) learn some wrong things from our culture; it isn’t about the other person (envy and jealousy), it is about our inside self: inwardly directed not outward.

  2. I think that this feeling is something we all experience from time to time (when I was infertile and childless, pregnancy announcements from anyone on my friends list would feel like a gut punch, but those from friends who were close in age were the worst). I also agree that figuring out why, exactly, this bothers could help you learn something valuable about yourself. . . and maybe also help you let go of the bad feeling(s).

    Yes, it is a mistake for all of us to compare the totality of our lives with which we are intimately familiar with others’ “highlight reels,” which is all we see on social media. I think we all do it from time to time, though.

  3. Yeah, I know the feeling. I honestly don’t feel jealousy over anything material or family/relationship things (though I think that’s completely understandable and normal) but, and this is really difficult to admit even to myself, I get those feelings when someone among my friends is really funny and makes others laugh or is otherwise really socially competent. I feel SO petty and horrible because of this, and rightly so. I mean, I love these people and I love that they’re funny and I laugh too, but sometimes I also feel a tinge of jealousy.

    In my case I know where this problem comes from. During my teens, some pretty bad things happened to me both at home and in school (not the really horrible kind, just bad), and that severely damaged my self-worth and my ability to trust people. I’m very proud of myself of having fought these feelings and built myself the social life I always wanted. But that’s just it, I feel that I have to be socially perfect and the funniest etc that I get to keep my friends. I know this is not true, I know they like me, even love me, many of them even tell me so. But I can’t help it that I still get these very immature and unstable emotional “fits” sometimes. I don’t seem to be able to get over them, but it helps that I admit them and acknowledge what’s causing them. My past, not any current threat. (It took me ages to get to this point with this issue.)

  4. For me, sometimes it’s career…Most of the time I’m satisfied with my accomplishments… I mean most people would probably think the fields I have worked in and have my degrees in are impressive etc.… But then I’ll read some story about how some 25-year-old graduate from Stanford ( or worse out a dropout) started some company that revolutionized an industry or something or some young attorney under 30 who’s done some great thing and I’ll feel like a total loser…like I didn’t live up to my potential

  5. I think these are feelings many people experience, and even more so in this age of blogs and social media where so much is “curated”. Career is also my weak spot (although I know a lot of people would kill to have my set up of flexible, well paid, interesting PT work) so I have started throwing away my college alumni magazine unread and focus on “staying in my own lane” to realize that overall I am content and happy with how my career and life is right now.

  6. Oh yes, I definitely feel this, mostly with “perfect kids” or even just “normal kids”..but then I remind myself that I also post pictures of my kids doing fun things and looking happy and normal and I wonder if other people think that about ME.
    Lately I’ve been thinking about my motivation for posting things to my own social media accounts. Why am I posting this? Ostensibly its so “my friends and family can keep up with my life”, but why do I post about our awesome trip and holidays and funny things and not the everyday grind? Honestly its probably for validation—to feel like I’m doing something right, that our trip WAS awesome even though my kids whined and complained and hit each other and made me cry…when I post the photo and get a bunch of “likes”, I feel better. Others must be doing this, too, which puts their posts into perspective a bit.

  7. A fostering mother I know just wrote: “This is the third time the kids have been in care for the same three reasons every time. I feel bad for them. Judging by the mom’s fb, she loves them a lot and you would have never guessed these kids have been in care so much by how well they looked like they were being cared for.”
    No state casually removes children into foster care and this foster family is in a state where homes are super overwhelmed by need and not enough homes to provide care; so they are less motivated to act without huge cause………
    Social media is so incomplete a picture.

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