Recently, I have seen a link go somewhat viral about how people should just stop bragging about their lives on social media. Apparently, people are “fed up” with scrolling through their Facebook newsfeeds and reading things about your “perfect” spouse, your “perfect” children, your “perfect” jobs, your “perfect” workouts……..and my kneejerk reaction is, “Alrigggghhhhhttttt, simmer down sweetcheeks!”
Right? The creation and exchange of user-generated content about whatever said user desires to share openly on the platform in reference (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and so forth) is what makes social media so much fun.
I was super reluctant to join Facebook, especially back in 2009ish as I was just coming off of my cancer treatments and putting myself on line felt more vulnerable than I was already feeling. My best friend convinced me to do it by saying it was so fun to reconnect with some of our high school friends and generally keep in touch on a more regular basis in everyone’s lives.
Fast forward to 2014 and I have a hard time envisioning life without social media. Thanks to Facebook, I have connected with childhood friends from Oklahoma and I am able to reflect back on happy memories with them, but see where their lives have gone since I moved from Oklahoma in 1987.
Thanks to social media, I am able to use my experience as a cancer survivor to talk to other cancer warriors regardless of geography and time. Two of my Facebook friends connected with me because they had the unfortunate diagnosis of breast cancer while pregnant, much as I did. We share our war stories, we share our babies’ milestones and it gives me great comfort to see their littles thriving much the same as my chemo baby. Countless others on my friends list are cancer survivors as well and it’s a click of a message button and we are chatting about our fears, our strengths, our stories and so much more. With a few keystrokes, those battling particularly hard in their disease are often given virtual support from countless others; support that is so monumental it may just be the comforting words they needed to lift them up through their next treatment, surgery, or bad day.
The aforementioned examples are only a couple of ways that social media has enriched my life, but let’s talk about your life and that so-called bragging, for a minute.
I want to hear ALL about your children – the good, the bad and the ugly. If your child did well on his report card, then let us know. I am proud of your child, much the same as you are proud of his academic accomplishments. If your children are going through a tough phase and make it exceptionally hard to be a parent, I want to know that as well because then I know I am not the only one struggling when he/she talks back, tests my boundaries and learns a necessary life-lesson.
I want to hear ALL about your workouts. Yes. I. Do. Some folks have taken offense about other people sharing their workouts. For me, I do not feel inferior or bad about myself when others post their workouts. I am PROUD of you for telling me about your new PR at Crossfit. Damn, straight, I am (and then I am secretly – or not – coming after your PR, or wait, I mean my own PR) happy to hear about your progress. You had a phenomenal run? Fantastic. I know I am not the only one trying to improve my physical being and it inspires me to see others running their first 5k, or completing their Crossfit “FRAN” in an unbelievably insane time, or simply hiking through the local woods. Why should one feel bad about exercising their body and sharing it with their friends? I would not have ever signed up for a triathlon, or an Electric Run, or a Undies Run, or even the Boston Marathon without the push of like-minded friends on Facebook. Many people I know are now less intimidated by the world of Crossfit as well, by my virtual display of my continued love-affair and my brutal honesty in posting the good, the bad and the ugly about snatches, double-unders and Toes To Bar.
I want to hear ALL about your new house or perhaps your new car. Seriously. These purchases occur only handful of times in our lives, why would I not want to congratulate you on that new vehicle? Sure, I may be slightly envious if that new vehicle is one of those trendy retro Camaros, but I will be happy for you that you earned it or have good fortune enough to select that car for yourself. If you have a newly remodeled, beautiful sunroom that overlooks your pool, I may just invite myself to enjoy it with you!
I want to hear ALL about your endeavors and displays of kindness. I want to hear ALL about what inspires you. If you are fundraising, I want to hear about it and then I may choose the ability to support you in the cause that makes me feel good. If you are walking for pink or for hunger, if you are running for autism, if you are baking for children with cancer, if you are promoting mental health, if you are supporting the homeless, or if you are PTO – let me know. When has sharing acts of kindness had any ill effect, ever? In fact, I believe it inspires more acts of kindness and we all can use a world full of more kindness.
I want to hear ALL about your funny moments and the things that happen in between. Many of my daily smiles are brought about by your verbiage of a particular “Out of the Mouth of Babes” moment, or an incident worthy of being on “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, or some random funny occurrence at the gym.
With the helter -skelter that surrounds each of us, the ability to use a social media platform to engage in your life even though our days are chock full is a wonderful thing. I love being able to bump into someone in passing and give them a hug; because they are struggling, they are thriving, or they are just them. Thanks to social media, I feel as if I am along for YOUR journey and that is priceless.
So, just do it without another thought……..talk to me, baby.