We see the highlight reel of people’s live everyday on social media - we see the stories that they want us to see but we also see the stories we want to see.
How many of you have looked through someone else’s feed and wished you had that amazing relationship, that wonderfully successful business, the fabulous adventure filled life style where even the day to day life stuff looked insanely good?
How many of you see those feeds and then tell yourself a story about why you don’t have that life and what magic sauce others must have that you don’t have?
I know I have, and truth be told I still do at times.
I can find myself losing a few hours scrolling through feeds only to end up feeling more and more inadequate. I find myself making excuses too about why other people, at least on the surface, seem to be crushing it and why I’m still wandering around trying to figure life out as I go.
But the truth is that we are all figuring it out. The truth is the highlight reel is just that - the highlights.
We very rarely get to the see people’s lives beyond the highlight reel, we don't always get to see the lowlights.
It’s a shame really because I see how much richness and beauty comes from understanding the lowlights. I see how much the lowlights teach us about compassion, love and empathy. I see more humility and acceptance in people that acknowledge and share the challenges in life, their lowlights vs. those that pretend and project that everything is great.
What I know about life is that we wouldn't recognise the highs if we didn’t have the lows. Take, for a moment, a heart rate monitor, it shows the highs and lows of your heart rate, a flat line of any sort would mean you were dead!
That’s how I believe life has to be lived - accepting the highs and lows and accepting that each and everyone of us live equally complex lives. There is beautiful term for this understanding, it’s called Sonder.
By acknowledging sonder that every highlight reel has a low light reel and that each of us are living with complex life challenges of our own, we can begin to take responsibility for the direction we take for ourselves.
By understanding that most people project a highlight reel we can begin admire what we see and replace any feelings of inadequacy with curiosity - a curiosity to seek to learn what lowlights may have had to be experienced to experience those highlights.
A curiosity that allows us to make choices for ourselves based on our appetite for the journey others have taken. It’s easy to want other people’s highlight reel but would we want it if it came with their lowlight reel too?
Because every highlight reel has a lowlight reel - and it serves us well to remember this.
Thankfully I’m seeing more and more people begin to share the whole of their reel - both the highlights and the lowlights and it’s a powerful thing. We’ve certainly got more to offer humanity if we share the truth of our journey’s not just the bits that make us look good.