Real life behind social media moments

Sitting around the table for a recent Father’s Day meal, my family started discussing people we knew who were going away on extravagant summer vacations. I’ll admit, most of us began to express our jealousy and desire to hop on a plane to an exciting destination. It was then that my mom piped in. She reminded us that we were all out for a meal together as a family, which was more than enough to be grateful for.

As we enter the summer months, our social media feeds will likely be full of pictures of people enjoying themselves on vacation. It will be hard not to fall into the trap of envy and jealousy, letting it consume us as we scroll.

But in doing this, we would be missing out on all the small moments that create our beautiful, extraordinary, messy lives. Moments of inspiration and creativity, laughter, joy, nostalgia, and everything in between.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That statement is increasingly true in a world where we can share our good fortune at a moment’s notice. But it is important to remember that we only see each other’s good moments— curated, filtered and vetted before posting.

Life is a kaleidoscope of moments, each accompanied by a unique set of emotions. Our human connection allows us to be with each other in moments of joy, as well as moments of struggle—and this is where a hidden beauty lies.

Can we learn to embrace all of these moments? Both the joyful and the difficult. It may seem like others have it better, but we all have ups and downs. Our humanity makes that something we can always be sure of.

In the same way, can we learn to find genuine joy in others’ good fortune even in the face of our own hardships?

We mustn’t judge others or begrudge them their happiness. James 4:11 says, “Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

It is easy to judge others by what we see online. We feel a separation from them on the other side of a screen. But we never know what someone is like until we talk to them face-to-face. We could all use a little more love, understanding and acceptance in our lives.

In our humanity, we often fall victim to the judgment of others. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye’” (Matthew 7:4-5).

If we look around at what we have and find the joy and wonder there, we won’t have any room left for judgment or comparison of others, for our hearts will be full.