This post really began with Rondell.
Whenever I get a comment from someone I don’t know I like to click on to their name to find out if they have a blog too. And if so, I’ll stop by to get a sense of who they are and maybe leave my own comment on their blog. I just think it’s a nice courtesy.
But when I went to Rondell’s blog I was surprised by what I read. Apparently she was taking a break from blogging because “its starting to be not fun,” and as an explanation she provided THIS link which of course I read.
I’m so glad I did too, because Liz Cowan’s words were like a cool, refreshing drink of truthfulness.
Do you ever read words that feel like they could be coming straight out of your own mouth?
Well that’s how I felt after reading this post about the ugly side of blogs. It’s an important message from a blogger that has purposefully chosen not to display followers or comments on her blog. And who loves blogging now that she’s made these changes.
The interesting thing is, several weeks ago I was reminded that we’re all vulnerable to comparing ourselves to others and feeling worse. In fact, I almost gasped when my fabulously successful blogger friend told me she sometimes felt like “throwing up all over her blog,” and confessed to the same doubts about her content and her writing that I had.
What about her thousands of faithful followers?
She pointed to her giveaways and humbly questioned their dedication (as a faithful reader of her blog I know this is not true).
However the point is this.
Depending on our mood, it’s easy to look over at someone else’s life and only see the rosy glow of happiness.
It’s easy to swiftly assess what someone has…
Tons of blog comments
A mass of admiring blog followers
A pretty face
A funny writing style
A slender body
A beautifully decorated home
A cosmopolitan lifestyle
…and wonder what’s wrong with you.
But the truth is… a blog is not real life.
Blogging is merely a slice of the life we choose to display to the world. And it’s important that we don’t get confused.
Blogs are actually a constructed image that depends solely on the blogger’s editing. Think about that. Our readers see and read only the parts of our lives that we choose to disclose and even when we offer glimpses into our deeper selves, we select the shadows we want to illuminate.
Yes, there are those who write fearlessly from their heart, shining a light on even the painful, gritty parts of their world. Those bloggers who show us their struggles and allow us to feel a kinship with their humanness.
But there are certain blogs that are reliable for their brand of beautiful, frothy images. Blogs that we visit for their pretty pictures and their brand of happiness, the kind of gorgeous distractions from real life that I crave at certain moments.
The problem is not this brand of light banter and visual beauty.
The key is realizing that what we’re seeing in front of us is not the whole story; and the question is whether we’re gullible enough to believe that this always-happy-perfect-looking world really exists. As a visitor to a blog we should know we’re stepping into a world where behind-the-scene clutter, kid problems, and painful insecurities are carefully scripted. We may not always see the thread of imperfection that binds us together.
So you should be careful when you’re blog hopping. Be wary of making assumptions about a blogger’s entire life simply from the glimpses you have from her posts.
Because it’s so tempting to visit a blogger and swoon over the artfully styled photographs of her home and believe that’s how it always looks.
It’s easy to read well written posts by faceless women and imagine their life is filled only with romantic interludes and fascinating travels.
One minute we’re gazing at a white linen couch on a design blog and the next second we’re filling in the missing pieces of this perfect picture with a handsome husband who cleans after himself and never leaves the toilet seat up, and children who eat dinner in a sparkling clean kitchen with matching napkins and fresh flowers on the table. A world without bills that need to be paid and laundry that’s piled on the floor.
Only the dangerous part of this idealized fantasy world we imagine, is that it ultimately makes us feel worse about ourselves. As women, as mothers, as bloggers, as writers.
This is what I got from reading the post at Mabel’s House. No, there weren’t any crescendo crashing words that I hadn’t heard before, but her post reminded me that the minute we begin to make comparisons,
of our blogs,
of our kids,
of our homes
we invite discontent into our lives. Because comparing ourselves to others instantly distorts our own worth. Either we feel worse about ourselves (after comparing ourselves to an illusion)
or we feel temporarily better after having ranked somebody beneath us on some fake, arbitrary scale in our heads. Either way it’s mental trickery, it’s not real.
But this is real:
The act of making comparisons robs us of the chance to feel gratitude for what we have.
Comparisons steal our joy.
Does blog hopping ever make you feel worse about your own blog?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(p.s. I think you’re amazing)
I’m sharing this post with these friends: