Deep down, we know that what we see on our social media feeds rarely reflects reality – we are only seeing the best, most interesting, funniest and most beautiful aspects of other people’s lives. Yet we are human, and the weight of comparison, constantly reinforced every time we open Instagram or Facebook, can become unbearably heavy over time if we somehow lose sight of this critical self-awareness.
An occasional reality check is therefore very welcome! Especially for young moms who might be feeling the pressure to balance their busy, often stressful lives whilst still finding the energy to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and present an eternally happy image of themselves out to the world.
Enter Jen Flint, a Creator, Artist and Mother-of-six from Utah. Her short story about a very modern encounter at the local swimming pool resonated with hundreds of thousands of people, by highlighting the sad contrast between what people want others to see and the actual reality behind the pics.
Speaking to Bored Panda, Jen wanted to ensure that the intent of her post was not to shame the young momma at the pool. “I’m sure she had reasons for her behavior, those reasons weren’t the intent of my post though,” she told us. “No judgment on her at all.”
“The main intention of my post was to help mothers (but really it applies to fathers and teens as well) to realize that what they see on social media isn’t always real and when they scroll through perfectly staged photos of women who are better fit, on exotic vacations, wearing expensive clothes and living in spotless homes, that they need to remember not to compare themselves to what they see.”
The reaction to Jen’s post has been overwhelmingly positive, being shared over 140k times on Facebook and starting plenty of conversations about mental health, self-esteem and positive thinking. People have contacted Jen with their own stories and experiences, and we all got that little reality check we need from time to time.
“We are enough, just how we are,” Jen says. “Remember that YOU at home with your kids or YOU at work supporting your family or YOU with the spotless house or YOU with the small apartment or YOU with an extra 30 lbs of weight that’s you’d rather not have, YOU are enough. Don’t compare yourself or your situation to anyone else’s.”
“Comparison is the thief of joy, y’all!”