Facebook can work a number on your self-esteem. As I mentioned in a previous post, if you are over thirty and single, Facebook serves as a stark reminder that most of your peers are married (or at least in stable relationships). Since I’m a glutton for punishment, sometimes I visit my “friends” profiles and glance through their photo albums showcasing their blissful weddings, honeymoons, angelic-looking children and jovial family vacations. On Facebook, their picture-perfect lives appear to have been ripped straight from the fairy tale ending that I envisioned for myself. But are they?
There’s a reason everyone adores Facebook. The social media network’s “create-your-own-adventure” platform lets us craft our past and present lives into something a little more palatable. When life throws us an unusually exciting day – we post an update. If we embark on a weekend trip – we “check-in” to all sorts of trendy locations. We carefully examine all photographs and hand-pick the flattering ones – while we discard the other ninety-five percent..
Facebook enables everyone to “live the dream” by accentuating the positive and burying everything else. Thanks to technology, widespread deception has never been easier. Deep down, we all crave the envy of our peers. Thanks to Facebook – now we can vigilantly fabricate our average lives into coveted superficial perfection. I know. I’ve done it.
I was in a toxic long-term relationship a few years ago. Back then, a quick look at my Facebook page could have fooled anyone into believing I was half of a healthy and happy couple. Profile visitors were inundated with our beaming faces in photographs, cute wall comments and status updates detailing our stupid “adventures.”
With a little help from Facebook I concocted a remarkable portrait of a stable relationship and good life. At times, Facebook was powerful enough to temporarily trick me into believing the fantasy I built upon its pages. I liked checking out my Facebook page – it provided a much-needed escape from reality.
Facebook gave me the life I wanted. All the late nights I spent sobbing in the bathroom because my boyfriend had flown into another drunken, jealous rage? Didn’t exist in my Facebook life! His drinking problems? Masked and forgotten. The petty daily arguments and fights? Thanks to Facebook, those ugly details remained dormant. The problems were many, but they were hidden well behind our smiling Facebook photos.
Facebook has us living in a land of make-believe. So…. stop feeling the pressure to catch up to your settled-down peers based on their Facebook profiles. Sure, some couples might really have sickeningly perfect lives. But for every content couple, there’s another couple ready to kill each other.