By Jay Forte
Social media has made us constantly aware of what others have, are doing and are experiencing. We know about their trips, their adventures and their awards. We hear about what great things are happening to their friends, their kids and their grandkids. We hear about job promotions and successes.
But we rarely hear about or see the other side, the real life side – their challenges, failures and disappointments.
It can be tempting to compare your life to what you’re seeing from others, driving questions like: If their lives are so great, what am I doing wrong? What are they doing that I should be doing to be happier and more successful?
These questions rarely have the positive impact you’d assume – many people make big life changes based solely on their interpretation of what others do and find that after making these changes, things aren’t any better.
This is when people are often confronted by The Great Pretender. You think that by doing and being like others, you will have what they have and your life will be great. But it doesn’t turn out that way for two primary reasons:
- You are seeing only what others choose to share with you – the highlights. All lives have challenges and obstacles, so you’re only getting a partial view of their lives.
- Pretending distracts you away from what’s amazing in your life. When you pretend to be someone else, you step away from what makes you you. You are not others – don’t compare your life to theirs. Instead, focus on knowing, developing and living who you really are – that is the key to your greatest success, joy and happiness.
Being The Great Pretender is one of the greatest wastes of time. It distances you from all of what makes you your best self, and is frequently done just to impress others about something that doesn’t matter.
The way to be the best version of yourself is to be authentic and believe that you have the ability and responsibility to define what a great life is for you. Fight the urge to compare your life to the string of successes on Facebook and other social media channels. Know it is just a snapshot of someone else’s life. Appreciate the greatness and successes in others, then define what belongs in your great life.
Important Questions from a Coach
- In what areas of your life are you pretending, trying to be something or someone you are not?
- How would being more authentic connect you to your greater abilities, interests and values?
- How can you be better about noticing and applauding others for the great things in their lives but avoiding comparing yourself, your situation and your life to theirs?
Being authentic is the key to a happy and successful life. Decide who you will be and what you want in life. Leave the pretending to the storytellers.