These posts just keep popping up.
They stare me in the face with their judgmental words and shiny photographs.
They’re subtle about it—sometimes even hiding behind the guise of well-meaning advice.
I stare them down. They will not win.
The Facebook Newsfeed: nothing short of a lifestyle comparison that can make anyone feel inadequate.
As we scroll through these snippets of information about other people’s lives and the updates of companies, celebrities and various pages that we voluntarily ‘like’, we’re confronted with countless suggestions that we’re not enough.
Of course, we ‘like’ pages that are of interest to us (and, presumably, so are our friends). So, in my own newsfeed I have heaps of posts about food, parenting, the environment, wellness…things that should buoy me up, make me feel good about myself, and encourage me to live the life I want to lead.
Why, then, do I simply feel judged?
I read these posts and my overwhelming feeling is of guilt. It seems I’m getting it all wrong. I eat the wrong food, and too much of it. There’s a terrible absence of superfoods in my pantry. I don’t exercise enough, and when I do, it’s not the right kind. I’m a terrible mother—I’m not patient enough, don’t buy organic food, I let my son watch ‘too much’ television. My health is in danger with all the mobile phone use I partake in, not to mention the wi-fi and the laptop currently warming my thighs. My unborn baby is doomed because I gave into too many cravings for cheeseburgers.
In short, I’m getting it all wrong.
So when I saw a post pop up in my feed warning against the hazards of washing my hair in the shower (of course), I didn’t even bother to read on. Clearly I’m doomed already…I’ve been washing my hair in the shower for a good many years.
Sigh. Sometimes that’s all one can do…sigh.
Still, there’s something more here to consider. Is it them…or is it me?
Are they (these oddly face-less Facebookers) judging me, or am I judging me?
They (and I really do believe this), are just offering up their advice, opinions, experiences. Yes, they may be filtered, feel-good tid-bits that gloss over the realities of each of our imperfect lives, but I do hope their intentions are pure: generous offerings of some-times wisdom. Little pieces of take-it-or-leave-it.
And hey, that’s the important bit: Take It Or Leave It.
This information is ours to take or ours to ignore. Much like a new parent flooded with advice about how to get the baby to sleep/feed/stop crying/roll over, it’s all about sifting through the nonsense to find the sense. And that sense will be different for each of us and at different times.
So I’m going to keep shampooing my hair in the shower. I’m going to continue watching telly with my little guy. I’m going to eat the ice-cream and I’m damn-well going to enjoy it.
When I see you judging me, Facebook Newsfeed, I’ll cut you some slack and give myself a stern talking to instead.
The one doing the judging is me.
If I think I’m enough, then I’m enough—you get no say.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Upload Bot (Magnus Manske); Massimo Barbieri