How happy are you with your life? This is a question that many people refuse to ask themselves. I think that many people just don’t want to think about it because they are afraid that they aren’t happy with their lives. They don’t want to face it. We all want to think that our lives are great and that our families are like the ones in the magazine where the dad is grilling (and smiling), the mom is pouring fresh squeezed lemonade, and the two children are playing catch together…everyone smiling and happy. But the truth is life isn’t a magazine..it isn’t a TV show, it isn’t a movie, and it isn’t Facebook.
There is a serious problem with today’s society. That problem is Facebook. Well, the problem isn’t actually Facebook but how people use it. You see, Facebook is causing people to be less happy. A recent study at the University of Michigan looked at college students and the affect of Facebook on their happiness. It found that, on average, people who use Facebook the most are less happy than others.
So what causes this? There are many possible causes but I have to think that one big one is that many people compare their real lives to other people’s Facebook lives. You’ll notice that many of us (yes I said US) only put the best parts of our lives on Facebook. It’s like a highlight reel to show everyone all the great parts of our lives. It’s not necessarily a bad thing…we’re proud of that vacation or the award our kid won or that really tasty dinner we cooked last night. The problem is that not everyone does this. Some people put EVERYTHING on Facebook including their dirty laundry.
These people have no Facebook filter…they want everyone to know about their baby daddy and the fact that he doesn’t pay his child support. They think we all want to know about every negative event in their lives. Now, before you say “you’re a heartless @#!$%”, I believe there are times when putting yourself out there can be useful. Many people may comment and give you support and this could lead to you feeling better.
But those that put everything out there may not realize that others don’t. So they compare their very hectic and chaotic life with what appears to by the idyllic family. I have to tell you though, that idyllic family more than likely has just as much chaos and strife in their lives as you do. At the very least, they have more than what they put on Facebook. I have several Facebook friends who’s lives appear to be perfect but I know the truth. Of course, there are a couple of friends who really do have almost perfect lives….as far as I know.
But you know what, their perfect life doesn’t mean mine has less value. Other people being happy shouldn’t make me less happy. I love my family. My life isn’t perfect but it’s perfect for me. I choose to be happy regardless of my circumstances. And that is what I’d like for you to take away from this. We must choose to be happy. We have no control over many things that happen in our lives but we do have control over our response. Chuck Swindoll said it well:
…The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it….
So if your friends had a great vacation to Bali and you vacationed down at the Super 8 then oh well. Be happy for them (and ask them to let you go along next time) and try and find the positive in your life that you can hang onto.