“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Teddy Roosevelt
I was visiting a friend’s Instagram gallery this weekend and happened to notice the photo was black and white. It was a stark contrast as most of her images are brimming with color. Then, I took a peek at the caption and this is what it said, “Not everything is black and white…I put on a happy face for the camera but that’s not how I feel.” The post was by my friend and Fierce sister, Loretta Sayers of Introspective Adventurer. Loretta inspired the Forever Fierce Movement within a Movement, Shields Down. She has developed a reputation for courage in vulnerability.
Her post was the inspiration for today’s Moxie. As today is Monday, it’s the beginning of a full week ahead, and if you’re anything like myself or Loretta, you’re most likely spending much of that week on social media. Some days, I wish social media came with a warning sign:
“Danger Will Robinson! – You’re about to see someone’s ‘HIGHLIGHT REELS’ … use caution and Fierce discernment while scrolling and DO NOT try and judge or compare yourself to what you’re about to see!”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the world we live in today. It’s a vastly different world than the world in which those of us at Midlife & Beyond were raised in. It was hard enough to grow up without being immersed in social media and an endless parade of highlight reels. Now, it feels downright impossible to avoid the continual comparison game. I’ll be honest, I’ve always struggled with comparison and the “not enough” voices. I’ve done a hell of inner work to silence the inner critics but sometimes it feels like whack-a-mole at the county fair.
I’ll admit, I was naive to the dangers of social media when I began an innocent foray down the yellow brick road of Instagram. Heck, I had no clue that anyone except professional magazines edited their photos. Now, everyone’s gallery looks like a well curated glossy magazine, including yours truly! I absolutely love the process and creativity of creating editorial content … but let’s not kid anyone … I don’t look like that in “real life!”
Loretta’s post was refreshing and filled with brave candor. It was a welcome departure from gallery upon gallery of highlight reels. The truth is there is “Real Life” and now, there is “Reel Life.” The two are not one and the same.
I recently shared my latest obsession with the world of Netflix and my favorite way to unwind after a long day of work. I’m in the midst of watching the last season of Last Chance U. I was talking to my business manager about how much I hated the head coach. I felt he was a loud mouthed prick. Michael pointed out that it all comes down to editing and the version of the story Netflix intends to show. The magic of any movie is the result of brilliant editing. Much of the story and much of “real life” or those cuts they don’t want you to see are are left on the cutting room floor. In the coach’s case, perhaps we were seeing the exaggerated version. Although, in Season 2 he vows to change his ways because he didn’t like himself after watching the first season (Spoiler Alert: FAIL!) … so maybe he is a loudmouth prick!
A director carefully crafts a story to tell. It’s the editor’s role to make sure the parts of the movie that are seen are in line with the story-line. The rest will never make it onto the big screen. It’s a well curated process with a conscious intention to slant the story-line a certain way.
In today’s world of social media, many of us are now directing our very own highlight reel and editing out those parts of our life to tell a story about our life. But, we must remember that it’s simply “A” story and not “The” story.
The messy parts are either well curated or on the cutting room floor. What’s left behind is only a one dimensional perspective of our real life.
As Teddy Roosevelt so wisely shared in wisdom that is timeless today, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Much of what we are comparing ourselves to, day in and day out, isn’t real!
Skipping along the yellow brick road of Instagram, you’re bound to meet a lot of Tin Men and Scarecrows. You might as well be aware that there are also a lot of Wizards. Don’t be too sure you want to meet them! You know what happened when Dorothy peeked behind that curtain? Yup, you got it. That wizard isn’t real. The emerald city was a highlight reel, a gorgeous, glorious, sparkling kingdom that looked pretty darn perfect on the outside. That didn’t stop Dorothy from wanting to click her heels and return to her “real life.”
Cheers Beauties…wishing you a week filled with Moxie, a mind filled with healthy discernment and a heart filled with self love while scrolling through those highlight reels. Real life may not be as pretty but it’s real and it’s full of the friction and mess we need to build that Moxie-ful life brimming with character. We are who we are. And there’s no place like home.
Need More Moxie?! See all my Moxie On Monday’s!