In this era of social media, we are bombarded with images day in and day out of the perfect lives of our friends, family members, and even strangers. One glance on Facebook or Instagram and immediately we are shown “proof” of other people who have smarter kids, cuter dogs, and far more passionate and exciting relationships than the ones that we are having. It can be discouraging to see yet again a post about someone whose husband “surprised” them with a vacation “just because”, when your own husband “surprised” you by forgetting to pick the kids up from school today. Studies have shown that the more time people spend on social media, the less satisfied they are with their own lives. And that makes sense! Everything on social media is curated to show the best, most exciting, most photogenic parts of people’s lives. No wonder your life doesn’t seem to measure up.
Unfortunately, even though we know, logically, that the lives and relationships portrayed on social media have a non-public face as well, emotionally, it can take a toll. One particular way in which this can manifest is through the “knowledge gap”. For instance, you know that a friend from college has struggled with her boyfriends’ infidelity for years. Now, you see on Facebook, that they have just gotten engaged. Now that leaves you with the question: How did they get from A to B? Maybe you don’t feel comfortable asking her anymore as you have not spoken in years, only watched her life unfold on Facebook, so the question lingers.
Or you see the romantic posts of a former neighborhood couple’s “second honeymoon” as they travel to an exotic location; a couple who, when you think back, never seemed to be very happy together in person. Or a co-worker who used to complain about her husband, but who just posted about how #blessed she is to have such an amazing partner. Are all these people just flat out lying? Or have they figured something out that you haven’t? This knowledge gap can be a source of internal pressure and self-doubt about your own relationship as the question remains, “what am I missing? How are people bouncing back from the struggles in their relationships?”
When we are faced with a knowledge gap, we usually fill it in with our own hypotheses. Seeing these couples bounce back on social media can make you wonder if somehow everyone else is just better at relationships than you are. Maybe they are with a better partner than you are. Maybe they have figured out the secret to getting through the tough times-and you just missed the memo. Or, more cynically, you may wonder if everyone is actually miserable in these relationships and are only posting for the likes.
The first step if you feel yourself measuring up to the lives on social media is to take a step back and see what exactly you do have in your own life and relationship. Is there some area in which you wish you could improve? Or does it just seem dull in comparison to the shiny lives on social media? Once you take a true assessment of what you are working with, outside the glare of social media comparison, you can begin to truly decide what areas of your life or relationship may need improvement or attention. The second step is to fill your knowledge gap!
Getting a relationship from A to B can absolutely happen! A couple can go from infidelity to a STRONG marriage, from disconnection to passion, from criticism to appreciation, but the secret in the knowledge gap is that it takes hard work, time, dedication and sometimes, help from a knowledgeable professional. There is no “magic memo” that will give you and your partner all the answers to marriage’s struggles, but you can learn new tools through couples therapy that you can use when times get tough. Sustained efforts over time equals long-lasting, real results. Water your own grass, rather than envying the “lawns” of others, and you can create the life and relationship that you have always wanted. For real.
If you have taken a good hard look at your life or relationship and see that there are some areas that could use improvement, or you want help filling your knowledge gap about how to get from A to B in your relationship, take the first step today by making an appointment at: austinstrongrbc.com. We offer tools, knowledge, and personalized counseling services to help you live the life you want and have the relationship you fully enjoy.