This is me with my gang. We are mostly happy in this picture. Even though it was a hot day as we walked along the waterfront, and we ran out of snacks, and I maybe snapped at my husband for drinking the last of the water we’d brought with us waaaaay before we made it back to the car – we are mostly happy here. It’s a happy time. I post a few pictures like this one every day on Instagram and Facebook. I am one of those. One of those moms with a penchant for digital documentation. I am a constant chronicler. My family’s curator of all our good, and happy times.
But every so often I’ll see an article come through my newsfeed that dismisses my happy picture-taking-posting-to-social media-hobby. Or worse, one that condemns the happy sharing. It’s bad for my kids. It’s annoying. It’s a way to get blocked, hidden, un-friended, un-followed. It’s wrong in general.
[Insert aaaalll the big-eyed emojis and shoulder-shrugging GIFs here]
Because after feeling a twinge of WHOOPS, I wonder: Am I portraying us as TOO HAPPY?
And then, Nah. This is who we are.
I remind myself of the reasons why I love to share – and will continue to share – my family’s happy pictures on the internet.
1. Social media can be used for good. Wait, what? Social media isn’t just a place for narcissists? Self-promotion? Advertising? Venting? Political hubbub? Negativity?
No, no it’s not. At the root of social media is connection. I know, I know–digital connection. But digital connection IS REAL. It has real energy. It can propel real movement. Let’s use it to raise each other up, support each other. Sharing the happiness is sharing love.
2. Pictures tell stories and stories are powerful. No further expounding necessary because a picture is worth a thousand…
3. Living smaller isn’t the answer. You don’t have to shrink to make others feel bigger or better about themselves. Can I quote Marianne Williamson here? I think I will. “…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Feel good. Feel good. Feel good. Go ahead and post an after baby’s bath cute photo or that sweet family bathroom selfie because those moments made you feel so good.
4. $h*t happens and sometimes life more than sucks. We all know this. We ALL know this. Let me provide a quick example. The week before last my son brought home head lice from a friend who graciously passed it on through a baseball helmet. My other children got lice. I had a house and family to de-bug. That meant our washing machine was running constantly. Consequently the sump pump broke. Our basement laundry room flooded. Among other things, our internet modem fell onto the wet floor. Let’s look at this break down: itchy, infested children. Flooded basement. No washing machine. Broken modem. No internet. Nooooooo. Just no.
I could go on and on with these kinds of examples; I have five children! For every happy picture I share I assume people know there could be 10, 20, 50 images of our unhappy times too. (And sometimes I post about those times as well.) I am honest about the good and the otherwise.
But overwhelmingly there is good. Lice or no lice, there is good. There is happiness. I look for it every day. And the more I look for it, the more I find it.
It was Maya Angelou who said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And that’s really the bottom line. When I share happy images on social media my intention is that other people will see them and feel happy, too.