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Don’t compare your real everyday life with someone else’s highlight reel. That’s good advice I heard once about social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be comparison traps. What most of us post are the good moments, the vacation photos, the happy birthday group shots, the days off, the kids graduating or performing or doing something cute. We don’t usually post the flat tires, the grumpy days at work, the late payment credit card statements, the cat’s poop on the carpet, or pics of our kids in time-out in tears with angry faces.

It’s easy for us to forget that other people are posting their best stuff and envy can start creeping in as we scroll through picture after picture, post after post. We become discontented with our own lives and fall into the mucky muck of self-pity.  Not that I’ve ever done this, of course!

My username on Twitter is “therealmimi” (“realmimi” on Instagram) and I want to be that. I strive for transparency and honesty but am also a positive person by nature. I also want to encourage so I try to post upbeat things, Bible verses that help me, hopeful, fun stuff. Some people have gotten the impression, from time to time, that I have it all together because of this, that I don’t struggle, that I’m handling everything in my life with grace all the time.

Welllllll….not so! I was talking with a dear friend yesterday about this very thing. I was telling her I wish I would’ve created my blog to be anonymous so I could really post about anything, be completely honest in my sharing about all parts of my life. As it is, I feel like I have to hold back, I feel the need to be careful what I say because I’m a pastor’s wife and several in my church family read my posts.  I’m a mother of young adults but my daughters might read my posts. I don’t want to ever hurt any of those people by my open sharing.

At the same time, I really don’t want people getting the idea that I’m positive all the time, that I always have hope, that I always look at the bright side, that I’m always walking closely with Jesus.

I’m an emotional person and have my share of sadness, anger, impatience (especially when driving!), self-centeredness, selfishness, and even depression and sometimes overwhelming anxiety.  When people imply or suggest that I don’t feel those things or don’t go through hard stuff, it actually can make me angry. “I’m the same as anyone else!” I want to shout, stamping my foot with hands on my hips. I think it’s because if someone pictures me as less troubled than the ordinary person, or more “spiritual,” or always happy, it takes away my relatability, it separates me and makes me feel isolated.

There is no closeness between friends who aren’t real with each other. There is no deep connection without transparency. There is no relating to someone you sense has no issues or problems. And I want to relate, I want to connect, I want to encourage by sharing from my truest self.

I believe one of my callings from God is to encourage people. I also believe it’s to help others feel less alone. I believe that in orer to do that, I have to be real.

How about you? What would you need to change in your interactions with people, and even on social media, to be more real? I’m not going to post pics of my cat pooping where she’s not supposed to, but it happens. How’s that for starters?