I hate to burst your bubble, but truly happy people don’t sit around sharing every single good thing that happens to them on social media. They’re way too busy enjoying their lives! Let’s discuss.
Truly Happy People Don’t Share Every Good Moment on Social Media
Last week, when we were talking about how life is too short to worry about little things, I quickly mentioned how social media can often cause more harm than good, mostly because of the way we use it. I thought that was worthy of a longer conversation.
Way too many people spend more time writing status updates designed to make them SEEM like they’re having the time of their lives rather than actually going out and HAVING the time of their lives!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing negative about sharing a bit of good news with your family and friends on Facebook or posting a picture of your new puppy on Instagram. Heck, it’s even fine to brag about yourself every now and then on Twitter if you want!
The problems start when you find yourself rushing to your phone to post something the very moment something positive happens. Or worse, when you’re so busy trying to frame the perfect Instagram shot to show the world how much fun you’re having that you end up missing all the actual fun.
There’s really nothing “social” about social media
MAYBE (and that’s a big maybe) using Facebook counts as “socializing,” if you’re actually using it to have real conversations with friends and family. Instagram and Twitter, though? Not even remotely.
Instagram is all about posting only the most perfect parts of your life, then sitting back and waiting for validation in the form of likes. On Twitter, you’re lucky if one person sees your words before it’s buried in an avalanche of others. Over 6,000 tweets go out every single second.
Even scientists agree that “social” is a bit of a misnomer. Multiple studies, like this one, have found a strong connection between the amount of time people spend on social media and their overall mental well-being.
Truly happy people don’t spend their time trying to prove that they’re happy
As I said above, truly happy people aren’t really concerned with proving to the world just how happy they are. Instead, they’re soaking up every brilliant memory, because they know life is short. Let’s look at two scenarios and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Imagine that there are two moms (we’ll call them Betty and Veronica), both on a cruise with their families. Today, they’re both spending the day docked at an incredible beach with crystal blue waters, a place they’ll likely never get to visit again.
Betty gets off the boat, and snaps a few pictures of her family with a cheap disposable waterproof camera before they dash into the water. She left her phone in her cabin on the ship so she wouldn’t have to worry about it getting wet.
Throughout the day, she builds sandcastles with her kids, laughs as they splash her, oohs and ahhs over a pool of vibrant fish swimming past, and so on. The bottom line, she’s having an amazing day making memories that will last a lifetime.
Every now and then, she takes the cheap camera out and snaps a pic. That night, she collapses into bed, exhausted in a totally good way from the spectacular day that she had with her family. Five years later, her kids are still talking about what a great day that was.
The disposable camera is in a drawer somewhere, forgotten, but the memories replay like movies in Betty’s head every time she thinks about them.
Veronica spends the morning before leaving the ship making sure her phone is fully charged, her kids are in their cutest bathing suits, and her hair is photo-ready. When the boat docks, she makes her whole family line up for a “before the beach” shot. “Let me just upload this to Instagram,” she says.
Her family anxiously waits for her to finish so they can actually get off the boat. Finally, they’re on the beach, but only after Veronica took about 500 more photos. After all, it takes 100 shots to get one good one, especially when your toddler won’t be still because she just wants to play in the sand.
The water beckons and her older son can’t wait to jump right in. Not so fast, little Archie! Mommy needs to take a picture of you running into the water. Don’t look so posed! Look like you’re excited! No, not that excited! Stand still!
Every single moment of the day continues much like this. Veronica doesn’t let her kids splash her, because that would mess up her hair. She can’t actually go in the water because she doesn’t want her phone to get wet. She misses the pool of fish because she was taking a selfie.
Throughout it all, she’s posting away on Instagram and Facebook, making sure the world knows she’s having a blast.
That night, she overhears Betty talking to her kids. “Remember when that fish that looks like Dory swam past and everyone ran to see it? Or when the whale jumped out of the water in the distance?
Oooh, or when the…” She hears Betty’s family recounting the entire day and wonders, “Where was I? How did I miss that?” Five years later, she barely remembers a single moment of that day, even when she’s looking at all the pictures.
Human connections matter more than social connections
First, when I say that human connections matter more than social connections, I am NOT saying that you can make genuine human connections on social media. I have friends who I’ve never met in person that are just as important to me (and I to them) as people I’m close to in real life (Or IRL, as the cool kids say. Do they still say that?).
However, happy people understand that just because we have 900 “friends” on Facebook doesn’t mean we have 900 “human connections.” And just because 1,000 people “like” our latest vacation photo doesn’t mean that 1,000 people genuinely care about us as real people.
I would much rather have 3 people that deeply care about me (and vice-versa) than 3,000 Facebook friends that don’t even know who I am beyond “Oh, I think we were in a blogging group together once!”
Happy People Know That Life is About More Than Just Our Highlight Reel
Steven Furtick said, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Or, as someone else put it (not sure who), “One reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our real life with selective content shared on social media.”
Both authors were speaking in terms of not using others’ social media posts as a way to judge your own life. However, I think it also applies to what we’re talking about there.
If you constantly share JUST your highlight reel, you’ll start to feel like you HAVE to have highlights to share. Instead of just living your life and loving all of the small moments that make it so wonderful, you’ll constantly be chasing the next big thing to add to your highlight reel. Does that make sense?
Spend less time taking fake pictures and more time making real memories
The point is when you’re spending all of your time making sure to frame up the perfect shot to show everyone how amazing your life is, you miss an awful lot of really amazing stuff.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take photos at all. Of course, you should! It’s fun to look back through old pictures and share memories with each other. I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t share happy moments on social media.
I’m just saying that you miss A LOT when you’re looking at everything through the lens of a camera (or the screen of your smartphone), or when you’re constantly trying to impress people that don’t even know you.
So take a few impromptu (and totally unposed) shots here and there for posterity’s sake. Then ditch the iPad or put your phone away and join in on the memory-making. You’ll never regret it, I promise. And that’s definitely something that truly happy people have in common…no regrets!
Tina Faucheux says
Some folks post memories so that they will have them in the future not to prove their life is awesome.
If you’re taking photos for memories, store them in albums in the cloud. You don’t need to store memories on Facebook.
Debra Miller says
. I heard on a podcast a therapist talking about how important it is to share joy, as it enhances joy
Leah Wade says
And I think it’s ok if your life is awesome to share, share away!! I glean happiness from seeing others doing things that make them happy!! The world is filled with too much negativity. Happy social media posts shouldn’t be considered negative in my opinion!
Debra Miller says
Eft bygfr says
You must take us for for fools…. If u want pics for the future u store them on Yr computer or a dedicated hard drive. If you want to show off, beg for approval of others, gain attention, or brag… You post on Facebook.
Leah Wade says
How about this…truly happy people don’t condescend, tell others what they should/shouldn’t be doing in order to be “truly happy”, and truly happy people don’t feel the need to make long, drawn out posts about what truly happy people should be doing in order to be truly happy! I mean no disrespect concerning your blog post…but I just feel like happiness is a state of mind, and different things make different people happy! If some want to post 60 times a day on social media about everything they’re doing, who am I to judge whether they are truly happy or not? Bottom line…LIVE AND LET LIVE! I wish you TRUE HAPPINESS!!
Deborah Downing says
well said. it grinds me that people assume u r not haply if u post. i cannot be happier and post for me! if i could delete the like and comment buttons i would.
Magic Mike says
This post just validates my reason for not having lots of pictures, i prefer to have a perfect memory than a perfect picture.
Debra Miller says
Photo albums have been around for decades. Even when film and processing were exhorbitant in cost, people made photo albums to preserve memories. Social media is the new photo albums. It’s a lot cleaner, and easier to share, store, and embrace the memories.
Jennifer Smith says
Sometimes a pitute is. Worth a thousand words
Connie Coggins says
I have been guilty of all of this and making my family miserable at times getting the perfect picture instead of enjoying the moments together. I am trying to find balance and have stopped posting for a while.