A Dope Life in Reality vs. Instagram

12:19 PM

Have you ever looked at someone's social media and been convinced that their life is so much cooler than yours? The pictures are always perfect, they seem to always be in exotic, beautiful locations. The sun is always shining. Their friends are always laughing with them. Their significant other stands by with a huge grin and look of love.

Everything is perfect.

I have a friend like this. Let's call the friend Tyler. From the look of Tyler's instagram, his life is everything he's ever imagined and more. He is shirtless on the beach, his beautiful lover standing smiling beside him in a bikini. He is on a rooftop deck, enjoying drinks with friends; he and his boys are all laughing as they raise their drinks high. In another picture, he's seen speaking in front of a group of young people. He looks dynamic in his speech, joyful at sharing his knowledge with them.

Everything is perfect.

But, I know Tyler. I work with Tyler. I saw him every single day for many years. I've seen him frustrated, angry at his position in life. Upset about the company he works for, as he watches others being elevated over him while he is told that he isn't doing enough. Yet he's there everyday, even when the others aren't. Yes, he comes in earlier than everyone else, brewing the coffee, setting the atmosphere for his colleagues. He is in every meeting, attentatively taking notes, constantly thinking of ways he can be better. He stays after to ask questions. He yearns to know more, yearns to become a better man. He is the first to come in and the last to leave when the job is done. Yet, he feels weak.

Everything is not perfect.

I've watched him battle depression. I've seen him battle his demons, sometimes taking them out on his own body. I've seen him volunteer for every new project enthusiastically. I've seen him angry at his co-workers who make comments like, "I'm not helping with that! That's your job!" as they sip their coffee while he works to complete task after task. I've seen him silently tolerate their jests, all in the hope that his boss would recognize his character, would see in him a man who is willing to give everything, all of himself to a job that he loves. And in return, the very co-worker who refused to help him receives the promotion, while Tyler fades further into the background.

Everything is not perfect.

But you would never know that, would you? Because the life Tyler projects on the outside is the only one that you're privy to see. Are you still envious?

Everything is not perfect.

I know this because Tyler knows this. I know this because I have been in Tyler's shoes.

At one point in my life, I would post pictures that looked like I was having a blast in my various endeavors. My marriage? Perfect. My calling? Perfect. My job? Perfect.

Everything was perfect.

Everything was not perfect...

I was unhappy. You would never know by looking at my statuses and photos. And this is understandable, some things are personal and should be kept private. However, there is a difference between privacy and a lie. I was living an instagram lie. I would use all the hashtags and caption that I was "living the best life" when in reality, I was going home crying. I was frustrated. I was angry. I was confused. I was hurt.

"There is a difference between privacy and a lie."

What's worse is that I felt like I needed to post those kinds of photos and statuses. I needed to convince everyone that my life was beautiful. I needed to convince everyone that I was fine from my divorce. I needed to convince everyone that my new relationship was legitimate. I needed to convince everyone that my calling was perfect, my job was perfect, my life was perfect. I needed to post the photos of me and my friends. I needed to post the photos of me speaking in front of a crowd. I needed to do it, if for no other reason, to convince myself that I was indeed happy. 

Everything was not perfect.

And then finally, revelation came. 

Creating a dope instagram life is not the same thing as living a dope life in reality.
Which one are you doing?

Enough. I finally found myself saying, "Enough." No more instagram lies. Only truth. 

In the last few months, I turned inward. I searched my heart. I searched my mind. I searched my body, my soul. Piece by piece, I began to free myself from the need to convince anyone that my life was beautiful.  

I don't need to prove that life is beautiful. It simply is. I found beauty in its purest of forms. And that beauty needs no convincing.

A few people have asked why I don't post as much on instagram or facebook. The simple answer is, I don't post as much about my life on social media anymore because I am out living it.

In truth. In love. In Him.


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