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Why Sharing Imperfect Parts of Life on Social Media Could Help Others

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We hear and see a lot about “highlight reels” on social media. Through these reels, we show pictures of our house when it’s immaculate, our kids when they’re being sweet and look adorable. We share our selfies after the 25th try. . . at the right angle. . . with a filter. We highlight our accomplishments, promotions and triumphs. We present an image of ourselves that could seem unattainable to others.

Our tidbits don’t tell the whole story though. Do you know anyone who isn’t fighting some kind of battle or hardship? I don’t. So what if there’s someone out there right now who needs to see more of our humanity? Do we owe our friends the whole story? No, of course not. But what if you showing the good, the bad and some of the ugly days on your highlight reel was the greatest gift you could give someone?

Here are a few suggestions I have.

If you’ve struggled with postpartum depression, consider sharing what you are comfortable with to help break the stigma associated with it; so another mama at her wits end will know even the most amazing mothers struggle with postpartum depression and it’s OK to reach out for help.

If you live with PTSD, remember its OK if you feel like showing the cracks in your armor and your battle wounds every now and then. There might be another tough person out there who won’t tell a soul about the demons they battle for fear of looking weak.

How often have you heard someone say, “Back when I was suicidal. . .” I never have. But what if, like me, you have almost given up on life a time or two, but you made it through? Someone out there needs us to talk about it, so we can be a safe place to share their story. You never know, our words may play a part in helping them get through.

Many of us have that one friend who always looks perfect, right? You never see them without makeup, and even if you do, they have the most flawless skin and eyebrows you’ve ever seen! You never see their roots showing. Do they even own a pair of sweatpants? I mean. . . every mom has at least one ugly, stained shirt that they live in at home, don’t they?

It’s so easy to compare ourselves when we are only seeing a moment, a snapshot of other’s lives. We can even become envious at times of a life we are not seeing the whole picture of. I’m not saying to not share all that is awesome in your life. By all means, share those cute photos of your kids in matching sweaters at Christmas, cause Lord knows I did!

Let your friends congratulate you on that big promotion!

Show the world that flawless selfie. . . and maybe make YouTube tutorials for the rest of us!

But perhaps we can also share our struggles, our flaws, the cracks that make us beautiful, strong and unique too. Because they make us real and approachable, and if one person realizes they are not as alone in this great, big world as they thought they were, we will be doing part of our job.

Let’s learn to love the life we are living right now, in this moment. The ups and the downs, the unedited behind the scenes clips of the highlight reel.

A version of this story originally appeared on

Photo credit: Khosrork/Getty Images

Originally published: January 7, 2019
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