If you're on Facebook, keep in mind that...


You have valueI imagine that you may sometimes feel that the opposite is true, but it's not. Status does not determine your value. Not even your Facebook status.

Social media can at times make you jealous of or annoyed by others. As much as Facebook is meant to connect us, it also separates us into categories. This is perhaps why a single person can feel devalued because they're not married, a married couple can feel devalued because they're not parents, or a parent can feel devalued because they have no career or are unable to travel to interesting places.

We all feel frustrated and bombarded by our Facebook feeds at times, but here are some things to keep in mind.

If you're Single and on Facebook, keep in mind that...

- Only something like 21% of 18-30 years are married so it's NOT everyone you know

- You can ruin the moment

When I got engaged I wanted to celebrate the news with friends and family. It was a right of passage I'd been looking forward to my entire life so I was surprised that some friends responded instead with resentment and disdain. Although hurtful comments were in the minority and happened offline, it made me think twice about posting much about my engagement on Facebook. The "not another wedding/baby" comments could ruin an otherwise happy moment for someone.

- Some people use social media to cope or as a resource

If I write a status asking for parenting advice it's because I'm seeking a variety of opinions in a short period of time. It's efficient and effective. People do over share on social media when they probably shouldn't, including parents, but it's often a coping mechanism. It's worth keeping in mind that the parent posting about potty training may have no other outlet to seek advice or may be alone most of the day craving adult interaction.

- It's not always real

People have a tendency to put a happy face on parenting and marriage on social media for the most part. Don't let that fool you into thinking it's easy. Marriage and parenting are not easy and I want you to know that you have just as much value right where you are. Rushing into marriage just to "catch up" with everyone else can have tragic consequences.

- Social media is a relatively new phenomenon

It's not really that these milestones have somehow increased over the years (in fact people are getting married and having kids later and later) it's simply that we have a new forum to share our lives which means you are going to be bombarded by information you don't need to know and would have never had access to in the past. You suddenly know about the marriage and babies of every person you've ever met, not just your close friends. I actually lament this a bit because I think the celebrations would mean more if you only had a few and they were for people you were truly desired to celebrate with.

- No one is forcing you to read it

No one is forcing you to get on Facebook everyday and read your newsfeed. You can distance yourself from it by logging on less, you can even block things off your feed or skim right over it. There's a choice involved.

- You have milestones ahead

For us married/parent types, we can sometimes feel like all the exciting milestones are behind us. Don't underestimate the beauty of having things to look forward to. When you are married, you may look back on single life and miss the freedom, the anticipation of meeting the love of your life, of planning a wedding, or finding out your pregnant for the first time. They are exciting milestones that you will experience someday and it will be over all too quickly.

If you are Married or Parenting and you're on Facebook, keep in mind that...

- Some people use social media to cope

When people complain about all the marriages and babies, it's possible that they're coping because they want those things and for whatever reason cannot have them right now. Understand that those statuses might be a way to cope with something deeper. They may be hurting. Even if they aren't, they are coping with something (anger, annoyance, etc).

- You can ruin the moment

When someone is posting about their career, master's degree, travels, etc. they want someone to share and celebrate the moment with just as much as you did when you were announcing your engagement or pregnancy and what's more, they may not have anyone to share it with. No one should feel small or of less value because they are in a different phase of life. Celebrate with them!

- It's not always real

I recently had a chat with a friend who has been traveling all over Europe for the last year. I admit I have watched from a distance with a certain amount of jealousy. But it turns out, they're lonely and jealous of my life---having a family and partner to share it with. Just because someone's life looks glamourous doesn't mean that it is or that your life isn't equally valuable. It's all perspective and we often all want what we don't have.

- No one is forcing you to read it

No one is forcing you to get on Facebook everyday and read your newsfeed. You can distance yourself from it by logging on less, you can even block things off your feed or skim right over it. There's a choice involved.

- Social media can make you feel lonely

It wasn't that long ago that I was single. I remember the desperate need to make plans and to see other people everyday so that I didn't have to sit in my apartment all alone or feel isolated. Being alone or staying home when you're married is completely different from when you're single. When you have no prospects for a significant other and everyone seems to have already found somebody, social media can make you feel so much lonelier.


I'm not advocating censorship. I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing wedding, baby, or travel photos online. There are people following along to DO care about those things and would like you to continue. What I do want to see is grace for one another. Skip over that story or block it from your news feed if it annoys you. Remember that your value is not determined by "likes" and "follows." Resist the urge to try to impress/create a persona online. Celebrate milestones and achievements with one another indiscriminately.

And above all, when something annoys you, remember that Facebook is not mandatory. You can turn it off.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good post Noelle! Encouraging and truthful... Type on! (oh, and I'm sharing it on Facebook) ;)