By: Beatriz Craven, Guest Blogger
My husband might as well have wacked me with a Bible like they do on those televangelist channels. The power of truth compels you! Ok, so maybe not that dramatic, but there was this real intensity and power to what he said. It startled me awake. I gave him a weak, “yeah...,” but I was totally with him in that moment. Marriage is hard! We had been having some off moments lately and were needing to talk things out. There was something about that fact: “this is hard, let's get over that part now,” that I found tremendously comforting. I felt like we were in on the struggle together and it eased me immensely.
I keep a personal list of my bad habits and less-than-desirable tendencies tucked in the back of my mind for monitoring. I'm not always the greatest at remembering to pull this list out in the moment, but it can really come in handy when I start to feel less than my usual, happy self. I look over my list for perspective. Am I doing any of these things? I'm starting to understand that one of the items on my bad habits list is this:
Buying into Hollywood happiness as a reality I don't have
Not believing the glitz and glam is such an incredibly obvious thing, right? But what's so dangerous is that nowadays, it isn't like, “aw, my husband doesn't rescue me from the oncoming train” like in the old movies. Now, the edited glamour of the big screen is disguised and looks much like the face of our neighbor. I’m talking social media. It becomes, “aw, I didn't get any flowers like my friend Ashley did... I love flowers...” or “I wish we could take sweet photos in Maui like Jorge and Tiffany.” What we fail to see is the messiness and imperfection that is so readily found behind the scenes. We just see our own and whatever people choose to share with us. I get so amazed by the stories I hear over a cup of coffee and how strikingly different that image is from the polished, carefully edited image that is shown online. There is so much depth and realness that is missed. It seems logical to not to want to air dirty laundry in the open, but I wonder about how this discrepancy affects us. They say comparison is the thief of joy. I find that social media is capable of robbing us blind if we're not careful. It's going to require some serious intentionality on our part if we want to keep our perspectives in check.
So my best advice to you (and me) is twofold:
1) Remember that life is messy and can be difficult. Let's check that off the list now.
2) Remember that we are surrounded by messages that can distort our sense of reality and leave us feeling like there's a greater void in our life than there really is. Nothing can hurt the soul more than feeling like you're only half-living your life or missing out on meaningful moments. If you notice there is room to challenge yourself as you seek to be more intentional in your life, take that commitment to heart and work toward your goals; whether that be to join more social activities, date more (or less), start a hobby, etc. If you’re in a relationship, it can be really helpful to develop goals as a couple as well.
Ultimately, when you stay committed to living your amazing, complicated life and remaining grounded in your perspective, it’s hard to go wrong.
PS: This photo is from our wedding day. Straight up gangsta. We’re in this life together through thick and thin.
Beatriz completed her PhD in Counseling Psychology. She works with college students at Sam Houston State University and finds incredible meaning in her work as a therapist. She is an avid life enthusiast, loving wife, and movie fanatic.
Featured image courtesy Beatriz Craven