I’ve been thinking a lot about how we perceive others through the lens of social media and how this perception translates into how we feel about ourselves and our lives. Most of what we see as we scroll the pages of Facebook or Instagram are idyllic pictures of our friends and families doing amazing things: taking beautiful beach vacations, winning trophies for various sporting events, crossing the finish line of a marathon/triathlon, etc. And immediately, whether we mean to or not, we compare these amazing, flawless lives to our imperfect ones. We judge ourselves and demean ourselves for not living a more full and perfect life, for failing where others have clearly succeeded. But, what we don’t see is that these pictures tell only part of the story. That race picture of your friend with the beatific smile as she crossed the finish line, the one where you thought, “man, she makes it look so easy. I could never run, let alone walk, that far.” Maybe she was battling her inner demons the whole race, finishing on grit alone. Maybe that race really sucked for her, but the smile at the end was one of pure joy at accomplishing what she thought was impossible. Or, that gorgeous sunset beach picture? Maybe that was taken right before your friend’s toddler started throwing an epic tantrum from an exhausting day in the sun. That doesn’t mean she didn’t have an awesome day at the beach, just a less perfect one than you imagined. My point is that most experiences are made up of moments of joy mixed with moments of suffering. There are sacrifices associated with almost all achievements. Lows associated with almost all highs. When you only see the highlights, you are not seeing the full picture, and thus making conclusions on false advertising!