A Fable About Facebook (and Reality).

Unexpected compliments make the world go round.

Today I received the sweetest comment on the blog from a psychologist who made me realize the power of our words – and our stories (our real ones).

Julie Joiner, you made my day! And I think your words will encourage a host of folks who fall prey to the Facebook Fallacy Phenomenon (I just made that up – not in the DSM… But don’t hold your breath!).

I absolutely love when I share something from my heart on this blog, and complete strangers from all over take the time to respond… tell me they can relate… and little by little, serve to chip away at the wall of perfectionism that separates the best of us.

My new online friend, Julie, left me the following message this morning:

Last night I flipped through my current copy of Bella Grace magazine, rereading bits and pieces. Something in your writing made me think you might be a Christian. So I decided to find your blog and read it. Wow! You have totally nailed a big, painful problem in our culture today. I am a counselor. I have had women tell me they had to get rid of Facebook because it upsets them too much. Clients are depressed and lonely, believing others are out there having a good life without them. I know what people post doesn’t always match their real lives, so sadly we are comparing ourselves to things not totally real or true. Thanks for this wonderfully written post. And thank you for glorifying our Lord by lifting Him up, and for your grace. I look forward to reading more.

Thank YOU, Julie! Any grace you see in me comes straight from above. {Yes, I’m a Christian!}. ❤

I promise you, Julie, when I question the many hours I devote to this blog {which happens weekly} and wonder if my words make a difference at all – I’ll revisit your gracious post and keep on going.

How many of us – at one time or another – have posted a flattering photo or status update on social media, waited to see how many “likes” roll in, and then crawled into bed to cry ourselves to sleep {because let’s face it, life is just hard}?

In doing a little research on this topic, I found some wise words in an article – Truth, Beauty and Social Media – by another counselor, Elana Premack Sandler, LCSW, MPH.

Her words, as published in Psychology Today

“‘Facebooking’ or ‘filtering’ (in Instagram parlance) is nothing new. And, as the fable below illustrates, even without technology, we work very hard to hide what’s really going on in our lives”:

There once was a king who had no children. One day he decided it was time to think about who would become heir to his throne. The heir to his throne, he decreed, would be selected amongst the children in the land, through a contest. The children were very excited, crowded around the king’s palace, eagerly anticipating the contest instructions.

*

As the children gathered around, the king handed each child a seed.

*

‘Take this seed. Bring it home. Plant it, care for it, nurture it. And one year from today, bring back what you have grown. Based on what you have produced, I will select an heir to my throne.’

*

The children returned home, excited and ready to get to work. They each got a pot and decorated it to make it beautiful. They filled each pot with soil, placed the seed in it, and nurtured it.

*

One little girl, Allison, cared for her plant every single day. She woke up early and watered it, talked to it, even sang to it. Yet, as the days and weeks went on, Allison was sad. Her plant didn’t grow.

*

She watched as all of the children in her neighborhood had seeds that sprouted, grew, and flourished. Flowers bursting open, plants growing two, three, even four feet high. But Allison’s seed didn’t sprout. And yet, she didn’t stop caring for that plant.

*

After the year finally passed, all the children brought their plants before the king. They were some of the most beautiful plants people in the land had ever seen. The children were clearly proud of what they had grown.

*

Allison, however, stood there with tears in her eyes, holding a pot, beautifully decorated, well watered, with rich soil… but no plant.

*

The king walked slowly past each child and his or her plant. While the children beamed with pride, he, himself did not look happy.

*

Then he spotted Allison.

*

‘What is your name?’

*

‘Allison,’ she whispered.

*

‘And, Allison, where is your plant?’

*

‘I… I don’t have one.’

*

‘Why not?’

*

‘I tried, your Majesty, I really did. I watered it every day. I talked to it. I even sang to the seed. I cared for it every morning before school and every afternoon when I came home, and every night before I went to bed. But nothing grew.’

*

The other children stood uncomfortably whispering to one another as Allison cried.

*

The king smiled at Allison, patted her on the head, and proclaimed, ‘Allison, you will be the next queen!’

*

‘What?’ exclaimed all the children in unison.

*

‘But she didn’t even grow anything!’ shouted one boy.

*

‘All of us have these beautiful plants! But she has nothing! How can she be the next queen?!’

*

The king replied, ‘That is true. All of you brought me beautiful plants. And they are indeed some of the most beautiful plants that I have ever seen. But, one year ago I gave each of you a seed to plant, nurture, and care for. When your seeds didn’t grow, most of you replaced it with another. But Allison did not. She cared for that seed every day even though nothing grew. She didn’t replace it with another. She tried her hardest, even when faced with a challenge. She was honest and true. And these are the qualities we need fore the next ruler of our land.’

She elaborates, “The lesson isn’t something Allison teaches us through her actions. It’s a lesson taught through the actions of the other children. The other children Instagrammed their seeds. They applied one filter after another, until they got the image they liked best. They Facebooked about the growth of their seeds. And they never told anyone what was really happening. They likely never would have, if it wasn’t for Allison and her quite unintentional exposure of their facade.”

And here’s the part that knocked my socks off – because, {oh!} how true are her words?

Are you ready for this?

She says, “We have so much more to gain from sharing our struggles with our own boiled seeds – knowing that we have all been given them – than we do from trying to hide that we have boiled seeds in the first place.

Wow.

She continues, “But, our incentive to hide is so much greater than any to share. It feels so risky to be honest; to connect seems like such a faraway prospect, and not worth making ourselves vulnerable. Where in American culture are we ever told that it is better to be true than to be beautiful? It takes tremendous courage to intentionally live in truth. But, living in truth seems to be the path to healing from and preventing the worsening of pain.”

Can anyone relate?

That’s one of the best arguments for authenticity I’ve ever read.

I was THRILLED by it.

I LOVED it.

Bravo for those brave words.

She concludes the article by sharing the GOOD that social media can bring – even with “friends” you’ve never met, but learn to know through long-distance messages. {Here’s looking at you, Julie!}.

She says, “… those messages can be lifelines. For me, they’re a reminder of the power of social media for good, for connection, and for creating a new kind of truth. Social media has opened up entirely new ways of being ourselves

When we are the curators of our own truth, let’s make it really real.

Incredible, right?

The mighty power of words.

OWN YOUR STORY.

PLEASE.

THE WORLD IS WAITING TO HEAR IT.

And you’re the only one who can tell it.

Here’s to making it really real

Claire Signature

2 comments on “A Fable About Facebook (and Reality).

  1. I am glad you were encouraged. I was bowled over. It is rare for me to leave comments, and I have never had such a grand response. I love the story about the seed. Thanks. It is a good reminder: things aren’t quite as they seem. And don’t you just love Bella Grace? It is the most beautiful magazine and how wonderful you were published there. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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