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December 9, 2019

Our Real Selves are not Filtered—we are Wounded, Imperfect & Tender.

After spending an unintentional month away from Facebook due to school busyness, general mental exhaustion, and my ongoing love affair with cozy nights spent reading and drinking chamomile tea, I returned to this strange beast we call social media.

At first, it felt like tripping face-first into another world—one where I was falling far behind everyone else’s sparkling achievements, exciting announcements, and glowing grins.

Cue the mind-numbing scrolling.

Cue the exhausting social comparisons.

Cue the envy, the I’m-not-good-enough, the why-can’t-I-have-what-she-has?

It all hit me like a storm of anxiety, and soon, thunder roared—I was feeling insecure and desperate to improve myself.

What could I buy to be better? What could I achieve? Who could I be?

It was so weird. And although I appreciate certain aspects of it, social media is weird. I know it conjures up feelings of inadequacy for so many of us.

Online, we see carefully curated images of people that, in a way, are outside of reality.

No wonder social media can lead us to feel isolated and alone.

Because life is not made up of Hallmark moments. Life is not defined by picture-perfect hours captured by a camera and edited with fancy filters.

Life is so much bigger than any of that.

There is fear. There is death. There is love. There is pain. There is sorrow. There is chaos and wild, whipping winds of change. There are realizations we come to often only through messiness, mud, resistance, and immense struggle. There is peace. And there is joy. Yes.

But as I scrolled through my news feed, it was strange to see only the happy moments, and sure, they looked nice—but it struck me that joy is sweet because of all the other shades within us.

We are not just happy. We are scared. We are tender. We are brave. We are strong and uncertain and struggling. We are wounded and imperfect. We cry. We laugh. We feel so much.

Why not make space for all of it?

And yet, on social media, happiness and success are highlighted above all else—and hey, it’s so gosh darn tempting to compare ourselves to a photo figment of a person. But that is one tiny fraction—a small sliver of who they are.

Life is so much bigger than that. We are all so much bigger than that.

Besides, sometimes, the messy, not-so-picture-perfect times of our lives are the most meaningful ones of all.

Happy moments are sweet, but ultimately fleeting. Are we here only to seek happiness?

I surely hope not.

Because I want to sink my teeth into something juicier. I want to learn, transform, and grow. And sometimes, that isn’t comfortable or pretty.

But I like that.

Are you with me?

In the entire context of life, all of its ups, downs, and in-betweens, this is what I say:

Break open the sky, lie me down, and crack open my heart to the universe.

It’s hard to get a picture of that. To post our truths and all of our messy, tender glory to Facebook. But that’s lovely—for there are so many intangible treasures in the depths and valleys within us.

And I will always adore all that can’t be captured in a glossy picture—the ways we’re constantly changing. How it feels when our hearts expand. The battles we’ve fought to be here today. A moment of silence that fills us to the brim. Tears that are sweeping, nostalgic, and just a little bit sad. The fierce and incredible ways we can love.

These things are priceless.

And so, in this world full of swirling images and ideals, in this holiday season full of expectations and sparkles, let us remember…

Truth.

Our hearts.

The undeniable tenderness it is to be human.

May we see the value of our lives, not just the happy moments—but each moment.

May we lean into fear, doubt, discomfort, and joy—both our own and others’.

May we remember that life is not made up of Hallmark moments.

Facebook does not always speak to reality.

But our hearts—our wise, whispering hearts

They speak volumes

When we stop scrolling

And look within

Return to ourselves

And what matters:

Being here.

We are tender and alive.

We are stumbling through life, whether we wear sequins or rags, whether we’re succeeding or struggling.

We are here.

Let us crack open our hearts to the universe.

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Sarah Harvey  |  Contribution: 67,200

author: Sarah Harvey

Image: Marixa Namir Andrade / Flickr

Editor: Kelsey Michal