On social media, everyone is seemingly very, very happy. All of them (apparently) enjoying a blissful existence of beautiful, laughing children on sun drenched beaches with parents exclaiming how they are having a ‘Proud Mummy moment’ (urghh!) as their daughter number one, two or three (or perhaps all) have been accepted to Oxford University, meanwhile their gorgeous hubby has just swept them away on an eye-wateringly expensive safari trip as pictures of distant lions are thrust into our inbox. Similarly in the press, flawless models and celebrities pose outside the popular London nightlife haunts, with glowing perfect skin, no cellulite (God forbid), spots or a muffin-top to be seen. Everything looks so darn perfect and so darn predictable.
However, we also know, that this a totally air-brushed version of what the truth is. And yet, when it’s constantly thrust down our throats, we do start to believe it.
It’s human nature and it goes without saying that it makes us look at our lives slightly negatively. Jealously creeps in, slipping and sliding its way into our minds until the green-eyed monster makes us just a teensy bit dissatisfied and disappointed with our own lives. Our ordinary trips to the supermarket, our jobs, our daily mind-numbingly dull and endless chores of housework and whinging children frankly all seem just a little bit … meh!
Is it however to be expected and the norm to be wandering around in a state of euphoria? Of course not. I don’t see the average person going around the supermarket or at work with a constant grin on their faces. In London they would be avoided like the plague. Up here in Glasgow they would probably be sectioned.
How many times do we say, “Everyone else is happy, why can’t I be happy? Why can’t my life be like that? I would be happy if my life was like that? Depression and anxiety suck!”
And yet, these people, these apparent friends of ours are simply wanting us to believe that their life is a constant holiday in the Caribbean.
However ….. What is the truth? The truth is that the husband has been having an affair, they both have a drink problem and child number three has just been expelled for selling weed. The safari holiday was a last ditch attempt to save the marriage, escape the mistress (who has now turned into a bunny-boiler) and in actual fact, those were the only two lions that they saw after seven hours confined in a 4-by-4 with three bellyaching kids, no WiFi and two of the three missed it anyway.
So now we know the truth. Now we can choose to either accept what is being thrust daily in our faces and believe it, or take it all with a little pinch of salt, give a smile, move away and instead, start concentrating on our own lives.
So now, instead of wishing for a perpetual smile and asking myself every day if I am happy, I shall ask myself, “Am I ok?”. If the answer is yes, then that is good. That is normal, and normal is good.
I will ride out the inevitable storms in the knowledge, that they will end.
I will relish and delight in those fleeting moments of total joy and happiness.
And for the rest, for the average day-to-day life of simply living, I will enjoy the feeling of peace and of normality. Because normal, is good.