Original Post March 18, 2018 4:17 PM
Revised updated Feb 17. 2022 10:42 AM
Photo by Darina Belonogova from Pexels
Today in Relief Society, the sisters shared stories about how many folks online create this appearance of perfection through social media which causes us to look at our lives through a tainted lens. Not all posts are this way. I have seen others that are filled with complaints, venting, and other negative outbursts. I believe we are to share and bear one another’s burdens, but continuously reading rants and raves is drains my mind.
In many posts I’ve seen, the person’s life is captured and captioned in one perfect moment for all too see. As I followed these posts, I was left feeling aggravated, agitated, anxious, low, sad, secluded, isolated and did not realize I was allowing myself to wallow in these emotions. Each time I would stare at a friend’s, or even stranger’s post with Pinterest perfect hair, clothes, home, food and life, my brain registered, “You’re not good enough because you’re life doesn’t look like this.”
I’d view friend’s postings of marriage, engagements, or new friendships developed, and I would think, “What’s wrong with me?” It was so subtle, but I didn’t realize I was developing a dangerous cycle of thinking. Friends would say, “Did you see about so-and-so’s post??” referring to a new relationship, break-up or engagement. Somewhere inside, I felt hurt that I found out about a close friends engagement through someone else. This seemed to be a regular basis for quite some time, especially going through college. Social media is so great, but I’ve learned that I must be careful with it.
I was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; however, I was inactive for a time. I traveled the beaten path because I was nonconformist. I didn’t believe in following the traditions of my family because it just wasn’t for me. I was never big into certain social media practices such as Facebook or Twitter, but when I came back to church nearly 3 years ago I felt very strongly to get rid of my Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. It was so hard in the beginning, but I came across the scripture that read, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” [Luke 9:62]. I had many triggers, and one of them was seeing others from my past. I didn’t realize how bad my cycle of thinking was until I got a Venmo recently and saw transactions between friends with little drinking emojis, and thought “Oh look..” I shake my head at the thought. Yes thoughts of drinking still haunt me, but I am learning my triggers and am trying to be every so careful. Social media is a trigger, so that is one area that I may have to avoid for a while.
We live in an amazing time. Elder David A Bendnar states that,
“We are blessed to live, learn, and serve in this most remarkable dispensation. An important aspect of the fullness that is available to us in this special season is a miraculous progression of innovations and inventions that have enabled and accelerated the work of salvation: from trains to telegraphs to radios to automobiles to airplanes to telephones to transistors to televisions to computers to satellite transmissions to the Internet—and to an almost endless list of technologies and tools that bless our lives. All of these advancements are part of the Lord hastening His work in the latter days” [To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood, Elder David A. Bednar,Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah].
The draining emotion I felt, was coming from my actions and my thinking. I must try to focus on the positive and focus on the joy we are meant to experience in this life ( 2 Nephi 2: 25). President Russel M Nelson taught
“When comparing one’s personal performance with the supreme standard of the Lord’s expectation, the reality of imperfection can at times be depressing. My heart goes out to conscientious Saints who, because of their shortcomings, allow feelings of depression to rob them of happiness in life” [OCTOBER 1995 General conference address].
I’m trying to remember to find the joy in the journey.
“Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” -Gordon B Hinckley