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Facebook is not real life

Facebook is not real life

By Darrin Friedman

Yesterday, while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I saw something remarkable. A friend of mine was at a Chevy dealership buying (or so it seemed from the photos) a brand-spanking-new Corvette. Now let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the car in said pictures was hot -- so hot it belonged on a Car and Driver magazine cover. There he stood, proud and beaming, next to his new ride. It said one thing to me: he had made it.


Now let me say this, because I want to be clear: I am proud of my friend. He has worked very hard for a long time, and he deserves all the awesomeness life has to offer, including hot-rod cars.


But what immediately followed the feeling of being happy for my friend was a darker thought that bothered me. Should I feel bad about myself because I can't buy a Corvette?


These days, these kinds of feelings are hardly isolated incidents, thanks to social media. There are a lot of people on Facebook who like to share their day-to-day material triumphs. Every day I see photos of friends vacationing in some far-off beach paradise, or pictures of a renovated kitchen with brand new Viking appliances, or a recent portrait session capturing a perfect family on their immaculate front lawn.


We all have friends who have made it big and are proud to show it. (And truth be told, many of my "friends" on Facebook are people I don't even know or interact with in real life.) But, depending on how much we know about those people's actual lives, sometimes it can be easy to slip into the habit of feeling bad about yourself when you see how picturesque others' lives seem to be.


When these feelings of inadequacy surface, what's a person to do? Well, I try and focus on what I know. I try to hold on to the realization that I have tremendous value.


Let me say it again. We all have tremendous value.


We may not have everything that others have, and we certainly may not be able to show off comparable materialistic accomplishments to others, but we still have worth. Self-worth. And that is more valuable than an expensive vacay, or a shiny car, or a model home.


After all, whatever your life circumstances may be, you determine all of the important things of value: what kind of friend you are, or how lovingly you parent, or how committed you are to the causes you believe in -- even what kind of advocate you are for you clients. All of these things have immeasurable value. You determine what kind of person you are and what you give to this world. And that has tremendous value.


You determine your own self-worth, and Facebook be damned, because a status update simply doesn't do a person justice.


So, the next time you see someone's life looking a little finer than what you perceive yours to be, remember, we are all at different places, and we may be in this for different reasons. No one's life is nearly as perfect as it looks online, and even if it were, that doesn't mean yours is any less valuable. We must decide for ourselves how we will measure our own success ... and our true worth. Remembering that makes all the difference in the world.