Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Everything Has An Appearance

So everything can be dressed up. . .

Nobody's got it all together. I'm 5'4 and trip over maxi's.

Words from one of the wisest women I know. I am trying to think back to what her and I were talking about last week that made her say this to me. But when she said it, I was like, BOOYA, so so true, and perfectly put in a simple, profound way.

In the age we are living in, there is no getting away from a "dressed up" life. If you have a FB account, you can attest to this.

Do you ever feel like other peoples lives are better than yours?
Do you ever feel like other people don't have problems?
Do you ever think someone else's life is easier than yours?
Do you ever feel bad about your life when you are on FB or Instagram?
Do you ever think someone has it "all together" and you don't?
Do you ever think someone else's kids are "perfect" and yours aren't?

If you have answered YES to even ONE of these questions, I think what I have to say will have some interest to you. And if you're honest, you probably answered YES to most of them, if not all. I have.

When my girlfriend said, "Everything has an appearance, so everything can be dressed up", she meant that in terms of people's FB pages and IG accounts. For instance, the friend I'm talking about I met via online. She was a blog reader; she blogs herself but life circumstances keep her from blogging much at all, and I wasn't even aware of this when we met. Anyway, the only picture I had of her was that she was a "wealthy southern woman blessed with three daughters and an amazing husband and lives a charmed life on beautiful land."
That is literally what I thought. Why? Because of her IG feed, and because of the the little glimpses I saw on FB. These were my conclusions. This was far from reality.
I won't get into too many details, because it's her private life, but let's just say, she was sharing what she wanted. And so does everyone else.

Her life had an "appearance" and she was "dressing it up." Not purposely, she is not that way at all. But she was dressing it up in the fact that she was sharing what she wanted and withholding a ton of other "stuff".

Let me be perfectly honest here. People share what they want to share, for many different reasons.
This does not mean their life is without problems, issues or suffering. Their life might look different than yours, or appear a certain way, but that is all based on what they share and what WE judge. I think we should stop doing this. Judging, I mean.

"More men judge on the appearance of things than they do the reality of what is actually true." Unknown

"Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many." Phaedrus 

"Everyone sees who I appear to be, but only a few know the real me. You can only see what I choose to show, there's so much more behind this smile."

"Stop comparing your behind the scenes with everyone else' highlight reel." Steve Furtick 

Some of the reasons people "dress up" the appearance of their lives are this:

-they are unable to share more for certain reasons
-they do not WANT to share more
-they purposely want to give an impression that their life is great and all together
-their life is great and they have few issues and they like to share
-their life is so awful, and they are miserably unhappy so they do not share
-they only share the "cool, good and amazing" but leave the rest out
-their personalities are wired to share

Whatever the reason, know this. No one's kid is perfect, no one human is perfect. No one person is without a set of problems. They may not look like your problems, but they have problems and conflict.
No one person is without some form of suffering. It might not look like your suffering, but they have suffering. No one is perfect because personally I believe only our God in heaven in perfect.

Do some people have big gorgeous houses? Yes.
Are some people's houses perfectly organized and picked up? Yes.
Are some people into working out and eating healthy? Yes.
Do some people have gifted, extraordinary kids according to the world? Yes (meaning, high test scores, over achiever, kids that become doctors, kids that win awards, etc... and I say according to the world because if I had a child that struggled, the world would technically label him/her but I don't like labels, I count on who God says I am and who He says my children are, not the world)
Do some people have amazing husbands, so much so that they call him their Best Friend? Yes.
Do some people have super nice cars, go on super nice trips and live a charmed life? Yes.

It's not that these things aren't true at all about peoples lives. Sometimes the appearance isn't totally dressed up and it's accurate. It's just not as true as you think and it's about finding a way to be at peace with this not being your own life (on the outside).  Because even though those things might be true, it still doesn't take away from the fact that INSIDE they still have problems. Don't equate the above being true to equal these are people without issues.

To sum it up:
People who have junky cars and fancy cars both have problems, they might have different problems, but they still both have them. Sure a person with money might have it easier in lots of ways, than a person born into poverty, I am not naive, I am aware of this. I am just speaking from a broad sense that just because you see a life put together on FB, doesn't mean it's accurate. That's what this post is about, this isn't a political type post.
People who have 5000 sq foot houses and people who have 1,500 sq foot houses both have their own set of problems.
Every one's kids mess up.
Most marriages struggle from time to time.
And not everyone calls their husband their best friend.
If you see a parent posting pictures of her daughter winning Homecoming Queen (wink wink), that doesn't mean their daughter has it all together.

We all have unique challenges. And that will be a life-long journey. Try not to impress upon yourself the agony of comparing your life or how you live next to someone else. Being in the blogging community, I find this difficult myself. But I give myself constant reminders, and try to keep up my awareness. And remember too that life isn't fair. And by that I mean, some people experience a lot of suffering and some hardly any. There are many theological answers as to why. Personally, I have endured a lot of suffering, but because of it I am thankful. I am thankful for it all because it has made me more whole. It has built my character, and God is using it all for good.
And it may very well be that someone has a "better" appearing life than you, but if you focus internally, to fight for peace, then it won't matter what their life is like compared to yours. And gratitude, gratitude gets you far my friends.

Someone living in a 500sq foot cottage with no children and no family and only fruit, cheese and bread to eat and coffee and water to drink can wake up joyful. They can walk out of their cottage and see trees and hear the birds, and be thankful. Anyone can be thankful. Just reel it in if you find yourself looking at others' lives too much. Bring it back into your life. Look at all you have to be thankful for, and that's not cliche'. It's about our focus. Focus on gratitude from the inside out. There will be no way out of joy that way. So much of are sorrow and complaining comes from our state of mind. That's what's so cool, we can control our minds, so we can choose to have peace. We can choose to be content. We can choose to be grateful.

So remember next time you are scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you see a Mom posting a picture of her kid winning an award or you see a family photo in their big new house--keep in mind what's BEHIND the photo. Probably a lot of what your daily life looks like. And remember, "EVERYTHING HAS AN APPEARANCE, SO ANYTHING CAN BE DRESSED UP."


fiddlehead said...

So well said Gina! And so incredibly true. Food for thought for us all!

Mandy said...

So true indeed. Contentment is found for being grateful of what you have. But we must admit it that not everyone is happy of what he or she has, some of us tend to find or acquire something to please our own self and the people around us. Thus, others find way to change their looks or create a new self out. There's nothing wrong with it as long as it satisfies you and it makes you happy.

Everyday, Looking for Rainbows said...

You have a great point for us not to judge our lives on someones FB feed Or instagram.

Natalie said...

I so agree! We cannot assume a great deal about a person's reality based on the internet.

Kathy Masterjohn said...

Well said as always. I am so proud of you Miss Gina Masterjohn Norman. And I love you.

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Mandy Wenchel said...

Yes indeed. Everyone has an appearance and so is everyone has the chance to enhance it and show beauty out of it. Contentment is a way to find happiness but making a change within yourself to make you happy is a also a staircase to contentment.