I (John) am just back from a walk on the sandy beach (as above) near our home here in Fano on the east coast of Italy.
Well, more a sea-stroll – walking knee-deep in the warm water, like many other relaxed and care-free sea-strollers do in the calm shallow water here.
What are you thinking?
How are you seeing my life, and the lives of those other sea-strollers?
And what are you thinking when, on Facebook, you see friends and not-so-friends on holiday, or out enjoying themselves, or celebrating or sharing good news or their successes?
Is there a chance you’re IDEALISING others’ lives?
Is there a chance you’re doing that ALL THE TIME?
When you’re walking down the street, at work, in a bar?
I opened with my recent experience because it seems so idyllic doesn’t it?
The golden sandy beach. The clear warm sea.
But, my, if I could just look into the heads of some of those I passed sea-strolling, what would I really find?
I’m guessing that I’d find a vast array of worries about health and money and age and work and relationships.
I’d find heads so preoccupied with their daily worries that they couldn’t feel the water on their legs or really notice the beauty of it all (and they are mainly local people by the way, not holiday-makers).
We all do it.
But please –
DON’T IDEALISE OTHERS LIVES
And it’s easiest to do when we’re not feeling so great.
And it makes us feel worse when we think that everyone else is okay and relaxed and happy and successful and positive.
A great privilege of doing what we do is seeing what the truth is behind the Facebook profile and posts and the Instagram images.
On a retreat, we see that with everyone –
the successful one, the wise one, the healer, the really good looking one, the yoga teacher, the writer, the social worker, the banker, the primary school teacher, the millennial, the grandparent –
there’s always something.
We’ve learnt that we should never idealise anyone and their lives…
Because there’s always something.
And please sit back in that.
Don’t look out and compare your life to others’.
Because we normally do it at our own expense.
You are on your own journey.
I am on mine.
You have your stuff.
I have mine.
Let’s relax into that.
And stop beating ourselves up when we see – and idealise – others and their lives.
Right, I’m about to clear up the messiest kitchen you’ve ever seen,
In the stifling and humid heat in here,
Then try to tackle a job I’ve been putting off for weeks that involves a spreadsheet.
I will probably get frustrated and stressed.
Is that a nice balance to the beach picture from earlier?
That’s life, and behind every Facebook post is a messy kitchen, a job put off, an ache and a groan.