Social media technologies invites us to share life’s great moments, the peaks and not the progress and when we do that, we can lose sight of how far we have come.
I thought of this the other day, when a “memory” image prompted me to share what I was doing three years ago. I know I buck the trend because I am not a big picture taker of events and holidays and outings. Most of my posts tend towards smaller and more reflective pieces.
FOMO (the fear of missing out)
Recent research has shown that social media can have a depressive effect when people who are going through a hard time see over and over again “evidence” of how well other people are doing. In fact, opting out of the cascade of life peaks is beneficial for those who need a more balanced view of real life. I know that when faced with big life changes or loss I opt out of the newsreel of people’s lives going tremendously well. Even though I know that people are highlighting the best of their lives, when living the worst of mine, it is not a reminder I need.
Arguably no one wants to read about what you had for lunch, but there is a happy medium between banal and this is the greatest day of my life! What is it? Appreciation and acknowledgement of the smaller moments with others, in your everyday and even some goals you are working towards.
No one has constant peak moments and if we only mark those, we miss the chance to see the slow upward motion of our lives; of the areas that we enjoy or have grown into. If you note that you have started a new activity, you may find that two or three years down the road it has become much bigger than you could have imagined. Maybe you met someone who became a close friend. Perhaps you found an artistic or handy side to yourself that you hadn’t realized was there. Or you may have realized that you are more emotionally or physically healthy. None of these are immediate peak moments, but they are a slow build to a bigger and more fulfilled life.
My social media memory was a good one because it does indeed mark how far I’ve come. At the time of the original post I was in the early months of a back injury and I was celebrating the small victory of reduced pain and the ability to drive 20 minutes from my home to see a friend. Three years later, I have just returned home from a driving road trip to the southern US to take in a friend’s wedding. In that context an experience is a peak moment because it is relative to where I started from.
Technology or a good old-fashioned journal, in which we take note of the small steps that lead us to where we want to be or grow is overall far more satisfying to our quality of life. If we train ourselves to appreciate what we have, to see the path and not just the peak, then we don’t miss the many areas in our lives that are noteworthy. They don’t each need a party, but they do deserve a nod of recognition.
Do you have some progress markers you’d like to share, things you have learned on this journey of life? I would love to hear from you.