So what is this perfect life of which we speak?
My perfect, your perfect, how do we define ‘perfick’?
I am really interested to understand peoples thoughts around this.
When I hear comments about other peoples pictures and a ‘perceived’ perfection, I have to say it confuses me a bit.
This post has been sitting in my drafts since the beginning of the year. It keeps coming out and going back in again. Maybe I’ve been waiting for the ‘perfick’ moment. In any event, it’s time for an airing. Call it housekeeping.
Anyway back to perfect …………
Doesn’t the suggestion that someone is portraying the perfect life lend itself to a self-fulfilling accusation?
Every time we hit publish on any social media channel, we are in danger of being accused of portraying perfection. The problem here is how we define perfection. Because isn’t perfection in the eye of the beholder?
It is fair to say that those that indulge in social sharing online are fair game for critics.
But should we fear posting a picture of joy for fear of backlash?
And does that mean that if another perceives ‘perfection’, that it is therefore wrong? Does the fact that we see their life as perfect not rest with us? And the fact that we may have a problem with this perfection lie firmly in our court?
Or do we have to censor our lives so that others don’t think we are too perfect?
Do we have to do the very thing that we all grow out of as adults – crowd please?
Not show things in case we upset others?
I wonder what benchmark we use in order to judge someone as ‘showing off’ or accuse them of only showing perfect pictures?
Is it their perfect cup of coffee or their perfect holiday picture. Was it because they were smiling?
So many questions!
It is very easy to be an online critic. Very easy to sit behind a key board and criticise. Not so easy to do it face to face.
Do we not all have those moments where we feel so pleased about something that we want to share it? Where perhaps the moment before was just so incredibly shitty that the opportunity to share something joyous was a tonic?
I do! But I also have that feeling of being so in the moment that I want to share. A smiley face, a beautiful sunset, a newly decorated space or perhaps my family together (all having a smile up).
Of course if you are going to be public about your affairs on social media, then you are inviting comments. True. But then don’t most people exercise the same constraint as they would in a real life situation?
My issue here with the perfection thing is the mixed message. On the one hand we are all about looking more into the lives of others, keeping in touch and sharing news. And on the other, we criticise them for doing so.
We want to see real and be real but are then vilified for doing so. This is the bit I don’t get.
And if others see us as perfect, does that undermine our authenticity?
Isn’t this a case of having your ‘perfect’ cake and eating it though?
And if all this is true, then isn’t it also true that perfection is impossible?
So when was the last time you posted a picture and thought, everyone is going to think I’m perfect if I post this?
More likely that you are thinking, I hope people don’t think I’m showing off if I post this.
Hopefully, you weren’t thinking anything, you were just sharing a little piece of something lovely.
Do we step on joy for fear of people not being pleased to see it? Because we are saying ‘I’m OK’ in a picture?
Let’s be real but hold back anyway. Is that authentic? I’m not sure that it is.
I’m a big advocate of the scroll button. If I don’t like it and it doesn’t float my boat, I move on down. This is our choice. If I do like it, I have the option to comment. If it inspires me, I can get involved. If it bothers me, that’s about me and not the person who is sharing. If it really bothers me in an offensive way, I will use one of the privileges of social media and unfollow or unfriend you. That’s not because I think you are perfect though. It’s simply because you are not for me and the chances are I’m not for you either.
It reflects the way I live my life. Whether it’s face to face or behind a keyboard. The options are the same.
This bothers me more as my daughter and her peers approach their teens.
As things currently stand, they love to take selfies, make vlogs and take more selfies.
They looooove looking at themselves in the mirror. They will take a selfie faster than you can shout ‘stop bloody pouting’!
And then they will spend ages looking at themselves in the picture. Which will have been taken 7 times for prosperity.
Because as we all know life has a habit of knocking that self loving about a bit as we grow. And we need plenty in reserve for when that time comes.
For our kids, a whole world of backlash lies in wait as they will inevitably be drawn into the world of social sharing. We all stand ready to police online activity and the negativity that sadly goes hand in hand with social media.
Bullying, as we know, often starts when one finds perfection in another. Yet we don’t tell the victim that it’s their own fault do we.
‘Stop liking yourself’. ‘Stop being happy with who you are’. Quite the opposite
We had trolls before the internet, still do. Historically, this type of trolling was done through a poison pen letter a la Agatha Christie. And it did go on.
Personalities don’t change because we are online. We are just as likely to have an issue with someone in real life if that’s how we roll. It’s just that the keyboard makes us a bit braver.
To me the very phrase ‘perfect life’ implies that there is something wrong with it. That we shouldn’t be perfect. Really!
And is that the message we are banging out to our sons and daughters at home?
Wonderful! It’s no different to going back to my own humble upbringing where there was a tendency towards being modest and playing things down. With blowing your own trumpet being the spawn of the devil.
And of course our generation carry this to some extent and it is very hard to shed.
And you never have to look too far to find someone that is prepared to take the credit for what you feel unable to own. As you bash it away modestly, and say oh it was nothing’, someone is waiting to give the credit a home. It’s a simple as that.
Probably the same person that doesn’t like ‘perfect people’.
Chances are they think you are too perfect too.
Their stuff, not yours. You are just facilitating it by walking straight into it.
And that is where the seed of bullying can start. It isn’t the preserve of those perceived to have ‘something wrong’, it is also the curse of those that are seen to be ‘too right’. The effect is the same.
Younger people, don’t know better. Adults do.
At some point we will all have been on the receiving end of a ‘bullying’ character. All is not lost though. Bullying taught me to feel compassion for others and in adulthood it taught me that there a lot of people with terribly low self-esteem that want to transfer their issues on to you.
So on the days when perfect visits, I am going to share and shout from the rooftops. It doesn’t call often so let’s grab it with both hands and dance with it.
My perfect is not yours and vice versa. It’s not about a neat home, looks or the colour of our tea set. They are just the things that make us different.
So if ever you feel a bit grrrrrrr about someone’s ‘perfect’ insta shot or facebook picture, bear in mind they may have had a visit from the ‘perfect’ feeling and they are shouting from the rooftops. Just as they should be.
It may just be that a photograph or something of beauty has made someone’s day. They may have a million problems and a whole load of sad stuff going on, yet they were able to escape that just for a minute. I’m not going to deny anyone that.
Have a jolly perfect day!