As a blogger with a social media presence, I put myself out there every day KNOWING that there are those who will not resonate with my story or my message. Even though I have always tried to share the good, the bad and the ugly, a recent DM I received really shook me up. It made me realize the importance of stressing this one point. Social media is a highlights reel.

social media highlights reel- pinnable title image

Some Background

I received a DM this past Sunday that broke my heart on multiple levels. My initial reaction was to respond with anger but the more I think about it, the more I realize that this person may not be the only one who feels this way. Instead, I’m going to share an open letter for this person and for all those who see my life, or the lives of other bloggers and influencers and only spy perfection. I hope you’ll read it, reflect on it and share it with others who could benefit from it.

A DM I received this weekend.

My Dear Friend,

I know you’ve scrolled through my feed and seen the beautiful sun-drenched photos, the laughter and the love, the smiles, and the fun. I know you may be sitting there looking at my life and comparing it to yours- perhaps feeling a twinge of envy because mine seems so perfect and yours may not measure up.

I won’t deny that I have been incredibly blessed by the Almighty. I have a husband who is my love and my rock. I have two sons who are my world. I have a beautiful home, food in the fridge, financial security and live in safety and comfort. “Then which of the favors of my Lord would [I] deny? [Quran 55:40]. If I start counting my blessings, my head would be eternally bowed in gratitude.

However, I want you to know something. My social media is a highlights reel. When I share a photo on my feed, it is a curated snapshot of a tiny moment in time. It does not reflect my struggles.

social media is a highlights reel. smiling husband and wife sitting on the deck steps

Did you know that my husband travels 4 days a week, almost every week? In 2017, he traveled 48 weeks out of 52. That left me alone with my two boys in a city where I have no family and few friends. Both our parents and families live in Toronto, Canada- an 8-hour drive away from us. Since 2010, we have moved 7 times, across 2 continents, 3 countries, and 4 cities. I once had to drive myself to the ER because there was no one to take me and I couldn’t leave the babies alone. I wish I could tell you how scary and lonely it can be to have no roots, no family or friends, and your partner and rock away half the week.

Social media is a highlights reel. 

tiny baby in the hospital with an IV
Z at 10 days old.

Did you know that both my boys were hospitalized in the PICU as newborns? I spent a month living in a hospital room with each of them, watching as their tiny bodies were poked and prodded, as PICC lines were inserted, as they were bent in half for blood draws and spinal taps. There is a level of trauma that stays with you after an experience like that which makes you so fearful and paranoid. Even now, both the boys suffer from chronic ear infections and I spend an inordinate amount of time at our pediatricians and ENT’s office. I am just grateful that it is something small and treatable. My sons are my life but that life is not perfect.

Social media is a highlights reel. 

Social media is a highlights reel. An office in a closet
My first office.

Did you know that my first office was a tiny closet that I could barely fit in? We moved around a lot and lived in apartments and condos for convenience. There was no space for a fancy office. There was barely enough space for a crib! But I had a dream to become an entrepreneur and to create a workspace for myself. I converted a tiny closet into an office. It had no windows, no air circulation and I couldn’t even close the door if I was working in it. My office today is amazing and my favorite room in a house that I love. But I didn’t always have a perfect house or a perfect office.

Social media is a highlights reel. 

Social media is a highlights reel: mom and son at Disney
A on his first trip to Disney. I cropped this picture to make myself look smaller

Did you know for the past 6 years, I have struggled with extremely low self-confidence on account of my weight and appearance? Read my story here. I have tried so many fad diets, healthy and unhealthy ways to lose weight, injuries from working out too hard, and felt increasingly negative about myself and my body. I wish I could explain how being overweight isn’t just a lifestyle choice but an amalgamation of so many factors. I wish I could explain the level of self-loathing and shame a person can experience despite having all the clothes and beauty products in the world. Self-love is a recent journey for me and rediscovering that lost confidence has been an incredible gift. Even while on this journey, I still have days where I obsess over my weight and appearance, where looking in the mirror is an exercise in fear and shame.

Social media is a highlights reel. 

We may not have the same struggles. You may not see or understand my struggles. But I want you to know that everyone struggles. Even when the nature of our struggles differs, not one of us has a perfect life, no matter how it may seem on social media. What matter most are the choices we make when dealing with our struggles.

You think I “have it made.” The reality is that no one has it made. Even the most seemingly perfect life isn’t madeMade is happy with your life, grateful for the blessings you do have, regardless of the circumstances.

Most importantly, please don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. You may not be where you’d like to be in terms of your marriage, family, business or dreams. I understand it can be difficult to see someone who is where you want to be. Let that inspire and motivate you to keep going, keep working, keep trying and moving forward.

And if you can’t do that, then hit that Unfollow button and move on. Life is too short to spend dwelling on what you don’t have, especially if it’s based on someone else’s highlights reel.

Happily,

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