With nearly unlimited access into people’s lives, social media has changed the way we see one another; but appearances can be deceiving. Buffy Barfoot describes what a good relationship looks like.
Many of us feel that when we visit someone’s social media page, we have shared some time with that person and know what their life is like.
That’s when it happens. We begin to believe that this person must have a perfect life, relationship, job and outlook—all because they have flawless posts.
Then the self-punishment begins. Sigh.
I had someone tell me recently that they assume my relationship is perfect, at least from what they see on Facebook. I want to crack that perception open because I claim to be a daily teacher of authenticity.
It is from our deepest flaws that our greatest gifts surface. We are here on this planet to teach each other, and I bow to each and every conflict. They polish me and keep me humble and growing.
My partner and I are far from perfect. We get grumpy and sharp, tired and impatient; but with all the hard stuff that happens, we continue to learn how to refresh the page and be kind to each other during angry moments. There is no one I would rather do the work with. We don’t shy away from the work of clear communication.
Deep relationships take deep work—and we become better every day because of speed bumps. As the big questions of life surface, sometimes we just hold on to the handrails and try to laugh. In the most tense of times, if we can muster a laugh together it usually snowballs and dissolves the fear.
There is never a time I wish the work would go away, though, because I know it’s what keeps us bowing for a lifetime.
Our planet continues to become more complex, and the ways we “connect” to each other are thickening daily. If we use social networking as a tool for artistry, marketing and sharing, it will continue to be increasingly valuable.
But we must be careful with assumptions. Everyone has a story of pain and a story of joy. These two stories are not linear, but they intertwine and talk back and forth to each other, regardless of what we choose to post. Last year my father died, which was painful and very lonely, and it was also a year of great success in my career and love life. Everyone is more layered than their posts appear; but while we know that about ourselves, we don’t often give this grace and awareness to others.
I encourage all of us to cease the comparison story we have with the people in our newsfeed.
If you are single and looking, I call you to look for the person who you want to do the deep work with. Release the fairy tale and the hopes of a rescue, because you will remain disappointed. If you are partnered, keep track of what makes you feel whole and communicate it thoroughly. It is within the work and the hard conversations that the greatest treasures lie. Be kind to yourself so that you begin to realize you are worth finding great love, which will also be great work.
[photo: via Rosaura Ochoa on flickr]