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A friend who met me first online, before we met in person said something that left me in shock, laughter and in a state of humbleness all at the same time.
He’s read some of the articles that I’ve written and the types of things I post on social media.
As he got to know me better, he mentioned how surprised he was in regards to the way I am in person.
He was surprised at my clumsiness and forgetfulness.
He was surprised at the questions I asked and the things I often wondered about.
He said he thought I was one of those people that always had all their sh*t together. One of those people who really had it all figured out.
My eyes radiated confusion as I searched his expression to see if he was joking.
A wave of surprise washed over me. Followed by a break out in laughter.
Me? Have it all figured out? Come again?
Once my immediate shock subsided, it got me thinking about the way in which we view other people. The assumptions that we make and the conclusions that we draw (especially about the people we’ve never met in person).
In this day and age, many of the people we know (or think we know) are through our phone and computer screens. It’s through edited and selected moments, thoughts and experiences that people choose to share publicly.
Although there are people who are quite transparent in the many layers of their lives and bare it all—the good, the bad, the hurt and the trauma.
A lot of us (myself included) usually post things when we’re inspired, when life has moved us in a way that we want to share with others. We share our accomplishments and achievements and those oh-so-glorious a-ha moments.
I scanned the articles I’ve written and the essence of my posts on social media.
I saw that most of the moments I share are when I’m deeply moved and inspired. I share thoughts and ideas about self-love and self-inquiry. I share insights about how we can move towards harmony throughout our own individual experience.
What I don’t share (nearly as often) are the moments of confusion and the moments of struggle. The moments where my heart aches and the ground below feels shaky.
What I hadn’t really realized until that conversation with my friend is that I have (and was) doing the same thing. I’ve put people that I’ve only known online on a pedestal.
Based on this, I assume that they have this whole life thing figured out and move seamlessly and gracefully through each and every moment.
It wasn’t till that conversation I realized how absolutely ridiculous that thought process is.
I think something a lot of us often forget is that the people we admire are just perfectly imperfect humans. Just like me. Just like you. Just like all of us.
We all need not only food and water, but also love and acceptance.
We all put our pants on one leg at a time. (I actually put mine on backwards and left the house in that way last week…).
I think it’s important to acknowledge that for every moment of happiness, euphoria and accomplishment that we see—there are an equal amount of moments full of anger, frustration and sadness.
We never really know what people are going through. What they know or what they don’t. What their honest dreams or deepest fears and worries really are. We don’t, and can’t know, someone’s exact inner state.
It’s purely subjective.
We don’t see the moments of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, in an argument with a friend or in an episode of jealously with an ex.
We don’t see albums of breakups and heartaches.
We don’t see selfies of people’s bad hair days or status updates on the days life feels so heavy we can hardly peel ourselves out of bed.
We don’t see the details of the path that each individual person experienced that led them to where they are in this very moment.
Although it’s great to be inspired and moved by others, I think it’s of the utmost importance that we remember not to compete or compare. For it’s truly impossible to know what someone is experiencing in their inner most life.
So here’s to remembering that we all put our pants on one leg at a time (and sometimes even backwards).
Here’s to less judging, less idolizing, less jealousy and more self-inquiry and self-love.
Here’s to honoring our confusion and imperfections. Our perfectly imperfect, complete in each and every moment, selves.
Here’s to not figuring it out! And instead just simply being excited about the plethora of experiences we are having.
Here’s to remembering that we are all fundamentally the same.
The less assumptions and judgments that we make, the more clearly we can see that we are all equal—extensions of the same source of life.
The next time we refresh our Facebook news feed, scroll through Instagram or read someone’s blog we can remember they too, are simply human.
We all experience love and we all experience loss.
We are all curiously moving, growing and evolving through this life experience.
Learning, unlearning and in a way—we’re all just walking each other home.
Let’s keep that in mind in this new, expanding, online world that we’re all constantly co-creaitng.
It doesn’t have to be a highlight reel.
It can just be real.
This online world has power, great power—that can be used as a platform for connecting people from across the globe.
Serving as a reminder that it’s not a competition.
It’s a community.
Serving as a reminder that we are not alone.
Serving as a space to be seen, to be heard and to be so deeply loved.
Together we can make this online world a mirror image of how we’d like our outer world to be.
One comprised of less comparison and less assumptions.
One infused with more compassion, more transparency, more raw moments and more love.
Author: Alexa Torontow
Editor: Travis May
Photos: http://www.basementheads.com Used with permission by the author