We’re shown an unrealistic image of the world.
Through Facebook, Instagram, dinner parties, we always put our best self forward.
Showing our highlights promotes praise. Stories of landing an important client or closing the big deal will be met with praise. While the majority of our days, which is filled with boredom and frustration, pales in comparison.
To say that 90% of our days are filled with monotony or unwanted challenge is not to say that these times are unimportant. For more on this read the post on contrast.
However, even if this time is important it may not garner praise at your next dinner party.
When we cycle from friend to friend at a dinner party, reunion, or social media site, we are often left feeling inadequate.
With all these people around me doing amazing things, I am often left contemplating the infamous “what am I doing with my life” question.
If you’ve ever asked this question of yourself, I have an insight for you: you probably make others feel inadequate too.
Now this is not meant to elicit feelings of guilt in any way. Rather, it is meant to shed light on a phenomenon that happens regularly, but is discussed infrequently.
I used to think that this feeling of inadequacy was unique to me, but my belief was recently challenged by a conversation that I had with one of my successful friends.
This guy has done amazing things and I look up to him tremendously. I was surprised when he expressed the same admiration for my life, or at least the 10% that I typically share at dinner parties.
However, even more shocking than his admiration towards my lackluster life, was his openness to talking about his challenges after leaving college.
Despite his unblemished pedigree, striking facial structure, and interpersonal successes, he emphasized his struggles more than anything else.
He continually harped on how hard it had been for him after college in many areas. I was blown away.
He seemed like he had everything figured out. I couldn’t believe someone so put together could simultaneously be encountering the difficulties that he had.
“Otterbox” he said, “everyone struggles, and no one shows it.”
My friend explained to me that the difference between how we view ourselves and how others view us is that we view our lives as the average of 100% of our time. Others are only allowed to see the best 10%.
I don’t care who you are, or who your friends are, the average experience of your life is probably going to fall short of the best 10% of someone else’s life.
Most of us are complicit in this arms race of validation. But in doing so, we’re harming others.
I found solace knowing that the struggles that I have are not unique, hopefully you can too.
Everyone struggles, and no one shows it.