What Do You Have That I Don’t Have?

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to live a better life, have a better job, a better income, a better partner, a better house? Perhaps they just have a better luck or even a better problem! Better this and better that, whatever takes your fancy, you may begin to ask yourself: What do they have that I don’t have? Scrolling through pages of posts published on social media, we can easily see evidence of “We live in a result-driven, an outcome-obsessed society.” It’s all about the end product. We only get to see people cross the finishing line, but not the hard work that goes into it, which is often done behind the scenes. Nevertheless, we believe what we see on the outside is what we get from the inside. After all, seeing is believing. What’s wrong with it? Let’s dive in…

Perhaps you’re in a middle of doing housework, feeling a bit tired and bored, you decide to give yourself a break. You go to your smartphone, open the Facebook or Instagram app, there you are, before you know it, you’re already bombarded by friends’ posts and updates – travel photos taken from an exotic tropical island in the Pacific, some historical places in Europe or those bustling streets in East Asia. How do you feel? You may give it a like or a heart then move on? You may leave a nice comment and carry on your day to day stuff. You may get a little jealous or envious of them, then start to wonder: Why am I doing here at home in my PJ while they’re there living it up and having a great time? The adage: A picture is worth a thousand words is true in many cases. We can all agree on that. However, I’d argue a picture isn’t always representing a full picture. Don’t be surprise if there’s more to it than meets the eye. When people share their happy holiday photos on line, it’s all about the highlight. Rarely do they mention the lowlight. For example, would they tell the world that their flight got delayed for hours or they sat next to an annoying passenger or in front of a noisy jerk on a plane for 9 hours? Would they rant and rave about having a bad customer experience at a store, or having some awful food in a restaurant or having an upset stomach or diarrhea only one day after arriving at the resort? Those unexpected mishaps and dramas are kept to themselves, in private. We all like showcasing our best parts of everything to everyone. It’s only human nature. But if we as viewers are led to believe that’s all there to it, we are missing out on “a whole picture”. The feeling of inadequacy will soon find a chance to creep into our mind.

How do we gain more perspectives so that we don’t get sucked into that feeling of inadequacy? I understand if you have the urge to fill that hole or an empty space inside of you with stimuli. I’ve been there. Many times. Countless times. To counter that, I’ve come up with a good strategy to keep myself in check (like writing this blog post). We all can avoid the danger of taking something only at face value and missing the point. Try to deconstruct the myth layer by layer. In my case, as a reasonably newcomer to the blogging scene, I’m still like a new kid on the block. It’d be easy for me to feel inadequate compared with those popular bloggers out there, who have long established themselves as badass writers in their chosen fields. On the outside, fame, successes, hundreds and thousands of followers and likes etc are filling up their public domain. There’s no shortage of “good fortune”. But they got to where they’re today for a reason. It comes at a cost. It’s not free. it’s not all glam. On the inside, they’ve done the work to get them there and they continue to do the work to keep them there.

Then, just the other day, a friend of mine revealed to me that her marriage was on the rocks until she talked her husband into getting a counselling. I wouldn’t have thought that. A side of her that I didn’t know existed. It was nowhere near a portrait of her happy life on Facebook I’d seen –  enough to make her friends envious or jealous. What’s the matter? It’s not that people live a double-life, it’s just there’s a different life behind a curated library of photos we are yet to see. What I’ve learnt from this is: Not too quick to judge what I see in an instant.

Whether it’s people’s success or happiness that makes you feel inadequate, or the high life they constantly brag about gets on your nerves, stop and look out for the flip side – there’s an untold story waiting to be discovered. To complete this post, I’ll leave it with an advice I received from an ex colleague of mine at Fairfax Media. Those three wonderful little words: Work at it…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s