On the coat tails of my post about my abs, I think there’s something I’d like to discuss a bit more.
The idea of being authentic online.
There were many people who mentioned on that post that they enjoyed my authenticity here on MML. And I appreciate that so much. Those who may not have been reading MML for long might not really know this, but I try to be very honest about things that I go through. Though I don’t drag drama with friends, family, or other people here (I respect their privacy), I do explore my own learning curve in living an intentional life.
It’s actually kind of funny, now I only get surprised when people don’t automatically know that my life is not all sunshine and roses, and that I’ve battled a lot of tough stuff like smurgging, weight, growing a business, and a million other things. In fact, I actually made a conscious decision at the end of last year to be more positive here on MML and share the good things in my life as well as the negative ones.
And yet, for those who may be new to MML and not know all the back story, it might seem effortless for me. Or, those that have been reading rather consistently, might tend to forget the rough battles I’ve faced and focus on my stomach or a new product launch.
In fact, I think this is a common phenomenon that happens online while looking at other people as well. It is easy to think that super successful people (whatever that means) have it easy – or at least easier than us. That they either haven’t struggled, or that they did struggle a little bit and then “made it” and all their problems melted away.
But the thing is that as I’ve watched some of my friends do amazing things online, I’ve seen what it takes and all of their own flaws and humanity. So though it may be not so clear that what they do is difficult and not-so-pretty sometimes, the truth is that they have worked their asses off, faced financial risk and unknowns, felt heartbreak, and just kept going.
Additionally, I think that part of this disconnect from what people online seem like and what their life really is like comes from the incredible leaps in technology and prowess. Years ago when blogging began, not many people had access to incredible (and affordable) digital cameras, expensive editing programs, a network of friends doing amazing things worldwide, and a real understanding of how to share their story with the world. People were novices back then and things didn’t look quite as “pretty” as they do now.
We’ve come a long way and the content we create can simply be more beautiful looking.
And in an effort to present a polished brand, execute content at the highest level, and just generally keep improving their online efforts, it starts to look like they aren’t human anymore if they don’t take the time to tell us all the troubles they face behind the scenes.
Please believe me when your ego wants to tell you that X, Y, and Z have it all figured out that they don’t. They are just as clueless as they challenge themselves to new heights in their career as the rest of us. Sure, experience can vary immensely, and even fate can super charge the new kid on the block, but everyone is still struggling, hurting, and growing.
What’s more, I think that it’s easy for us to read the amazing blogs out there and think that the people are living a life of perfection. Some people might come off this way because they want to create the best content based on their topic as possible. They aren’t purposefully not sharing the ugly parts of their life because they want to hide it, it’s simply about executing a professional brand. People with insanely popular interior design blogs, for example, spend their time focusing on luxe interiors made by amazing designers rather than about their cystic acne, debt, or depression. It’s simply not on topic. Or they might want to keep their private life… private.
Fashion blogs can also be a slippery slope in this area as well. Such beautiful women with amazing style and wardrobes? I gotta do my best to keep in mind that there are a ton of other pictures that didn’t make the cut for their post that day. Same goes for Facebook photo albums.
Or, there are the people that we can look up to that we admire so much we block out the hard stuff they talk about and focus instead on all of their blessings. I know that I look up to Bri and sometimes think she’s “got it all figured out,” but then I remind myself that she recently shared this. Or, I can think that Joanna has a life of sunshine and roses and then I remember this. So this is all to say that we can also sometimes have selective memory and value their positives more than their negatives. When in fact their own personal experience of the negative parts of their life can be way more overpowering than we realize.
And finally, there is the last deception that is easy to forget: how much time, effort, and work goes into the execution of some of the highest level sites out there. While Alaina and Danielle launched The Everygirl yesterday to a huge fanfare, I’ve watched them create this site from just an idea while we were drinking wine a year or so ago to a full-fledged destination. They have worked from 8am to midnight recently in preparation for the launch and to still do their day jobs to support themselves. They have given the site every ounce of their life for the past several months and that hard work paid off. Which is fantastic, but also shows how much sacrifice can be involved as well.
Phew! I actually have no idea if this post is something that will help people or not. But the thought of anyone thinking that people doing awesome things online are any better than the rest of us is simply too much to bear.
We all have our unique contributions to the world, some might be more visible than others. But we all are human and we all are just trying to flourish despite the challenges we face – publicly or privately.