Misconceptions in Blogland



The other day I was trying to pass the time until my husband got home from work. I was looking up recipes and reloading Pinterest when something popped into my head to visit a blog I used to read but had unsubscribed from a year or so ago. (You can read more about why I unsubscribed from that blog—and a bunch of other ones—in this post.)

It was a blog with pictures of happy days spent strolling the streets, wearing cute clothes, perfect make-up and what seemed like a wish-you-were-here kind of lifestyle.

But as I started reading through recent posts, it became evident that something had changed. The fa├žade had shattered.

The thing is, I was shocked by it. I had really bought into the idea that her life was great and, well, probably better than mine. I mean, did you see those shoes? That weekend? That meal? That vacation?

Without even realizing it, I’d bought into the idea that what I saw on the screen was all there was to it. Hardships must not exist. Feelings of loneliness or jealousy never plague. Cross words never pierce the days or make you wish you could hit the “undo” button. The folks on the other side of the screen? They're never the ones wishing for something different.

Of course, though, we know that in reality, that is far from true.

I don’t think the blogger ever set out to make her life appear perfect or always happy or better than mine, but somehow, that’s how it always felt to me. Which is one of the reasons why I stopped reading it.

As I plumbed through her posts, I realized that because you read my blog, you’ve probably fallen into that trap, too, and made some of the same kinds of misconceptions about me.

I really try to keep this place real and share some of my weaknesses and how the Lord is redeeming them. I try to be up-front about the fact that I don’t have it all together, whether it’s in my cooking or my cleaning or my self-confidence in Christ.

But of course this blog is only a small, piecemeal snapshot of my life, one that has been edited and refined and stitched back together in places so that it makes sense. And so it’s likely—it’s almost certain—that you’ve stitched together your own idea of who I am that bears little resemblance to the real thing.

You probably think I’m way nicer than I am. You probably think I love God more than I do. You probably think I’m a better cook or a better wife or a better friend or a better daughter than I am. You probably think a thousand different things about me that I really do wish were true but probably are not. In all reality? I’m probably a lot more like you than you realize.

And that’s probably a good thing, don’t you think?

I say all this because as I realized the false perception I’d made about this other woman—whose life I’d imagined was better than my own—I realized that what I was doing when I read her blog was that I had been comparing myself to her and came away thinking that I was ending up with the short end of the stick. That I was lacking in comparison to her.

That’s simply not true. Not for me and not for you.

Don’t let a fake version of me make you feel like you’re less of a Christian or less of a good wife or less of a whatever. Know that somedays I hate reading my Bible and somedays I’m mean to my husband and somedays I just want to crawl into bed and take a do-over. I am making every effort—with every prayer—to make those days fewer and more far between, but, like a pebble poking you in your favorite pair of shoes, they always return.

Friends, this is real life. I’m messed up, just like you are. And that’s probably a good thing, don’t you think?

Related Posts
Getting a Pep Talk from God
The Truth About My Inadequacies: A Lesson from the Old Testament

22 comments:

  1. This is refreshing, finally some real-ness to a blog. We all seem to put on a facade of being perfect, but I'm glad that you admit to it-- just like we all need to!
    :)

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  3. Just last week, I came across someone who wrote a post along these lines and it really has made me re-think some stuff. Thank you for sharing your heart with us and keeping it real. Telling myself that I need to continue finding my satisfaction & acceptance in Christ is the only way to not let myself fall into that trap of comparison.

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    1. Well said! "I need to continue finding my satisfaction & acceptance in Christ is the only way to not let myself fall into that trap of comparison."

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  4. Thank you for your honesty. It is so easy to compare ourselves to the other ladies behind the blogs we like so much. I'm trying to be more aware of this myself.

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  5. Awe, thanks for posting this. I'm sure it took courage to write..and publish. But it's real and truthful and good :)

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    1. Thanks! It was something I knew needed to be said, so that makes it a lot easier to push ahead. Plus, I know all you ladies who read my blog are always so kind and accepting, I know that I don't really have anything to be scared of...even if Satan wants me to believe I should! :)

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  6. Wonderful post! Also very perfectly timed - I posted today about something very similar - I wrote about how I feel inadequate when comparing myself to other bloggers but realized I may be guilty of doing the same thing others do! I think it's natural to want to put our "best self" out there for the world to see, even if it's not the best choice. You can check out that post here:
    http://thoserootsandwings.blogspot.de/2012/05/real.html

    Thanks for writing!

    <3 Daryl
    Roots, Wings & Other Things.

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    1. Oh, neat! Sounds like the Holy Spirit is working in many of us. I'll check out your blog post; thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks for your honesty Carmen. I think it's when the realness is revealed that God's work in our lives can shine through and make up for our imperfections. It's so easy to see pretty pictures and happy smiley photos and think everything is going so well for another person. I think all of us try to show our best side, me included, but transparency, though hard, is so wonderful.

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    1. Love what you said here: "I think it's when the realness is revealed that God's work in our lives can shine through and make up for our imperfections."

      I think being able to be transparent and vulnerable has really helped me embrace my human-ness--even when I mess up or make mistakes. When ordinary folks respond with such love, it only reinforces God's love for me. Which just encourages me to try to continue to keep being transparent all the more!

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  8. I can't say I've taken your blog as you being perfect, more like the good advice that sometimes I'm able to give others but still struggle to do myself. I think we all know how to be that 'perfect' person, but actually doing it and living it, is a real struggle for all of us. So while I didn't see you being that perfect person, it's so nice to hear someone admit that they are in fact human. I find so much inspiration in your blog. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with us...

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    1. I'm glad to hear that! I definitely don't want to ever be put on a pedestal and that has never been my intention with this blog, so this is really encouraging to hear :) Thanks!

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  9. I think the fallacy of assuming a host of other good or bad qualities in people, based on the little bit we know about them, is as common in real life as it is in the blog world. The fact that with blogs, most of what is presented about a person has been carefully written and edited, unlike in real life, makes it probably a bit more pronounced. But I've found that when I read comments of bloggers in other places, little pieces of their true self comes out based on what they say, how they say it, but mostly, what they don't say.

    The truth is that nobody is perfect, and by the same token, nobody is horrible, either. We're mostly somewhere in the middle, with good attributes but also with our not-so-good ones. Great post, Carmen, as usual :)

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    1. Good reminder--I love that you pointed out that the flip side is true, too: "The truth is that nobody is perfect, and by the same token, nobody is horrible, either. We're mostly somewhere in the middle."

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  10. Thank you for being so honest, Carmen. I think bloggers are glamorized and we all have misconceptions, I'm sure; and sometimes it's hard not to be envious.

    I'm so glad that you're real and you're not afraid to show it :)

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  11. An excellent message. FB leads us to believe the same kinds of lies like blogs can about people. Everyone else is always going to great places, having fun all the time, no problems with their kids ...
    For some people, their lives are in such a mess, I think they at least want to maintain the illusion that things are just fine.
    If we all weren't a genuine mess, why would we need a savior?

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  12. this post is really true. i guess not all bloggers want to trouble the readers with sorrow and just want them all to look at nice stuffs.

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  13. Thanks for the confession. I enjoy your posts, and be encouraged - I've never felt like a bad wife when I read your words. :) (Although I have felt like my wife may appreciate me painting a room sometime...psh, thanks a lot.)

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  14. You're right... it's easy to get caught up in comparison and wishing your life had more xyz that so-and-so's seems to have: the ability to travel wherever you want on the drop of a hat; the ability to buy a new outfit every day,own a walk in closet filled with designer shoes, and always be the best dressed person on the street; the loving family that never fights and has all kinds of little adventures. It's easy to fall into that misconception, but it's the highlight reel of someone's life. The gritty is sometimes too hard to put into words or too embarrassing or shameful to share publicly. The every day may seem too boring for a blog post. I don't think there's anything wrong with only blogging your travel adventures or your best dressed days, so long as you're not saying that it's all there is. The fact is, I think most blog readers WANT the 'perfection' at least subconsciously and so that's what they decide to see. They see 'better' in the blogger's life, even if said blogger hasn't declared it so. I think both parties have a lot of responsibility in that. Readers have to acknowledge reality and read what they can handle and bloggers have to make sure they aren't professing perfection and are being honest in what they write.

    That said, I've never thought you were perfect. There's PLENTY I admire about you, though, Carmen, and I'd say it's justified from what I know about you and from interacting with you. You have a sweet spirit, a heart for others, and you share honestly about things that you feel led to share. I admire all of that. You're not perfect, no, and I don't think you give off that perception in your writing. It doesn't mean that your readers don't see you as a woman of God with great things to share. (Ignoring that would be just as sad, I think.) :)

    If this doesn't make any sense, forgive me. I'm a little sick this week. haha :)

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    1. Aw, thanks so much, Kristin! You are too sweet :) A

      I think you're totally right that we all have a responsibility--both the bloggers and the readers--to keep it real and remember that God is guiding and blessing my life just as much as he is yours and hers and his and theirs. It can take a lot of discipline to do that, though!

      And I'm glad that my writing here hasn't come off as me trying to be perfect. I really, really try to make sure I never come off as "talking down" or arrogant. That is so far from what I want this blog to communicate! So your comment was such an encouragement as I write here!

      I hope you feel better soon. (It seems like you've been sick quite a bit this year, already! I hope you are getting it out of your system before your trip next month!!!)

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  15. What a wonderfully beautiful and honest post, Carmen! I so appreciate your heart and your talent for writing. :)

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