I am not sure if this is a new trend, or something that has been happening for a while that I am just now noticing – but there are a lot of people out there with a lot of opinions on what other people should or should not share on social media.
“Feel free to list your current school/job, but don’t talk about your good grades or promotions.”
“Pictures with your significant other are fine, but don’t get too lovey-dovey!”
“Work hard to be healthy, but don’t share details about your weight loss.”
“Having a baby is one of the most exciting things in the world, but don’t share tummy photos or discuss your labor.”
“You should definitely have strongly held convictions and be passionate about things – but don’t talk about it or you risk getting political.”
And the list goes on.
To the people sharing: Go right ahead.
To the people with all the opinions: Just stop.
- You are just as “guilty” as the people you are griping about. Just because someone uses social media differently than you doesn’t mean that you’re right and they’re wrong.
- If you have such a problem with what people are sharing, why are you friends with them in the first place? If someone else sharing their joy or pain bothers you, why do you maintain that access to their life?
I can honestly say that if any of my friends on social media share their stellar grades, go lovey-dovey about their relationship, show how they went from 200lb to 150lb, or anything else: I am going to be genuinely celebrate along with them.
If people are asking for advice on medical issues, struggling with their relationship, or going through any other tough time, I am going to step up to support them the best I can.
Because life should be more about reality than perception. Social media makes it easy to get it flipped, and we often expect people to cultivate these flawless online personas. But the truth is that expectation is all about us — not them. We expect people to share what we want to see, rather than supporting people in what is important to them. It is pure selfishness, and it really needs to end.
Guess what? A couple years I was on a medication that caused me to gain a lot of weight — but I didn’t realize it was the medication until after I asked my awkward question on Facebook, and loads of supportive people helped me get to the bottom of it. After I discontinued use, my superawesomesexysmart husband was my accountability partner and helped me lose the weight, and I am back down to 115lb! I feel better than I have in a long time, both physically and mentally, and I am able to perform really well at work and in grad school — summa cum laude here I come! Oh, and I think women should get paid the same as men for doing the same job.
That short paragraph probably made a few petty people see red.
The truth is I don’t share much of my personal life (beyond my carefully constructed persona) on social media because of all the judgment people get for not being “insta perfect.” But I think moving forward I am going to be a lot more transparent.
If my husband deploys to a combat zone for a year, you best believe my social media is going to be filled with all the romantic mush.
I work incredibly hard to maintain a 4.0 in grad school, and if I keep it up and graduate with honors you’re going to hear about it.
I am a very passionate person and take a strong stand on important issues, and I am not going to censor my voice to keep people comfy.
Because here’s the thing:
The people who deserve to be in my life will care about what is going on with me and what I have to say. If you aren’t one of those people, unfriending/unfollowing only takes a split second.
I lead a very busy, beautiful, full life — and I just don’t have time to worry about someone else’s opinion. If someone has the free time to sit around critiquing what I or anyone else posts on Facebook…good for them I guess? They aren’t the type of people I want hanging around so if they unfollow/unfriend it’s really just the trash taking itself out.
So for my not-so-graceful segway into a conclusion, here is my challenge to you (and me, and everyone): for the rest of 2020, let’s stop being so critical of what people share on their social media, and just be there for them.