There are so many websites that bring beautiful images of homes and have ideas on what makes a life “perfect” that we can easily get caught up in thinking that we’ll never be good enough. That we’ll never look like them or have as many pretty things or even stay as blissfully calm as they seem to. But here’s the reality: A photo is just a moment in time. A post or article is an interpretation of a moment from someone’s point of view. It’s not 100% reality, 100% of the time.
I’m not going to lie, I love Pinterest and I love the stunning photos of homes that look idyllic. But – yes there’s a but. But, I don’t ever look at them and think that’s how their homes are all the time. It’s a beautiful photograph, but the reality that you can’t see in that image is the lighting rig behind the photographer, and all the things that are precariously stuffed in cupboards or in the garage moments before their arrival.
What they don’t show is the scuff marks that someone scrubbed off the day before (or photoshopped out in post processing). Or that the kids are going nuts just off camera. I think there’s a place for beautiful photos that look ‘just right’ as long as we remember them for what they are. Just a tidy moment in time where someone gets to feel great about their home being featured somewhere or other. And why shouldn’t they? I’m sure they worked for it and dreamed it up and made it their very own.
Here’s the thing: life is not a magazine spread, but sometimes it’s nice, when things are tidy and everything looks just right for a moment to capture it. Nope, it’s not everyday life, but for the most part I don’t think they’re suggesting it is.
It’s the same when you read articles and blog posts on how to live the perfect life, or how to be the best parent, or how to have that ‘on trend house’. I try to remember that it’s written by a person at a moment in time from their point of view. Some will have studies to back them up and others might even have photos that show how it works for them.
But that doesn’t mean that what we’re doing isn’t right or that it isn’t good enough. Every one needs, at one point or another, to work out what works for them and believe (and trust even) that they’re doing what’s best for them. No matter what the internet says or shows us.
The key to not getting caught in the online vs reality trap, really, is to recognise that you are getting snippets of people’s lives and opinions that are from one moment in time. Have a think about what your reality was 5 years ago to now – is it the same? Have you grown and changed and felt differently about things than you did once upon a time? I think I have. My reality 5 years ago was completely different to now. And that’s perfectly okay. That’s what we all do.
Take everything with a grain of salt and know that you’re doing your best in this moment and that if someone asked to photograph your home or your office or even your kids, you’d probably make things as tidy as you could, if you had the chance and if you wanted to have those photos taken. I really only make things sparkling clean for two reasons: people are coming to visit or I’m majorly procrastinating and cleaning the oven looks like a great alternative to whatever it is I’m meant to be doing. ;)
Trust that what you see and read on the internet is never the whole picture and that you’re doing a great job. When we decide to embrace imperfection, and not worry about what it might look like to outsiders, there’s room for less stress and more laughter. And that’s far more important, I think.
Do you sometimes get caught in the online vs reality trap? What’s one thing you do to get yourself out of it?
Note: The Embracing Imperfection series is a fortnightly blog post series, every second Thursday, where I talk about creating a great, happy home for you and for me. One where we not only talk about embracing imperfection, but where we make steps to do it. Read more about it here.