The Facade of Perfect: Online vs Real Life

by | 16 November 2018 | Life | 20 comments

The online world is amazing. You can meet people with similar passions and callings and personality as you. You can find accountability, encouragement, inspiration. Friends and role models.

I love being a part of the online community. I love connecting with writers and readers and musicians and everyone, but as I meet these people and get to know them and talk and laugh with them, I can’t help but wonder.

 

Would they view me differently if we were talking face to face?

 

Online, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of looking perfect. Fun bookish photos, bright colours, laughing emojis. We all do it to a certain extent. We do it to be a bright, positive person in someone’s life. But for me it’s theย real people who I feel like I can really trust. It’s the people who are honest and open about their shortcomings and their mess who have a more special and real place in my heart.

 

Being positive and joyful is a blessing to others, but only if it’s real. Pretending that you’ve got it together won’t help anyone, least of all yourself.

 

I used to stalk instagram and see all the amazing book photos and stand in awe of the authors and bookstagrammers because they were all so perfect. Now, I can speak from personal experience. It’s all about the mountain of deleted photos. Behind the perfect bookstagram shot is at least ten that weren’t ‘good enough.’

Beneath my bookshelves are messy piles of papers and pens and clean clothes that I haven’t put away into my drawers yet. Behind the scenes is me in the most awkward positions as I try hold the books and the camera straight at the same time and not get my head in the photo. A few seconds after the perfect Harry Potter book stack, the entire series topples over.

This week I even had to blu-tack my phone to the shell to stop it from falling off. Can you see that in the end result? Absolutely not. It just looks like I have some serious balancing skills. (Which might be true as well. ๐Ÿ˜›)

 

I’m not perfect. I don’t have it all together. I forget to do what I was meant to do. I miss deadlines. I fall behind. I feel down for no particular reason. And that’s okay.

It’s okay to not always be okay. God made us with emotions, not as blind robots. We don’t have to pretend.

 

Don’t let my professional website, the number of books written, or the ‘freelance editor’ badge fool you. I’m Jane, and that’s what I always want to be, in real life and online.

Do I practice what I preach? I don’t know. I try. I want to be real with you and with everyone else, but all too often I fail and I slip into the professional ‘I’ve got this’ mode, even when I know I definitely have not got this.

Which do I value more? Being a real person who can be a real friend, or being the perfect, put together insert-fancy-title-here? That answer is easy, though doing it is much harder.

 

A bit of a rambly post today, and I also feel like I’ve said a lot of this before, but it just came to my heart when I was thinking about a post for today, so there you have it. ๐Ÿ’•

 

How about you? Do you struggle with pretending to be ‘perfect’ online? How are youย really doing lately?

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Adventurerโ€”exploring the endless wonders of Godโ€™s beautiful creation. She started writing by accident, but since the very beginning has loved the enchantment of words on paper. If you say anything about pizza, superheroes, books, or any of her many, many fandoms, sheโ€™ll come at the double. Aside from crafting worlds using only twenty-six letters, she is a passionate Jesus-lover, freelance editor, self-trained martial artist, songwriter, and musician. In her spare time, she's often off on random adventures in the name of story research. She seeks to inspire her readers to step out and become the heroes of hope this world needs.

20 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Loved this post, Jane. ^-^

    I sometimes struggle a bit with the whole “gotta be happy so I don’t bring down anyone else’s mood” and through the internet, it’s a ridiculously easy thing to do… so yeah, while I hate acting like I have everything together, any and all reminders like this post are really encouraging. <3

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      Aw, I’m so glad, Sarah. ๐Ÿ’•

      I definitely have that too sometimes. We’re all in it together, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  2. Audrey Caylin

    Ugh. I can relate so hard. Especially when my perfectionism takes over, it’s easier to look “perfect” online than it is in person (especially when I can edit everything I say online, while in person, once I say something, I can’t edit it. Hence I’m more eloquent online than I ever will be in person… though I actually do you “hence” when I talk sometimes :P). I think the hardest thing is still acting professional and positive while showing that we’re human. I don’t think I’ve quite found the balance yet, but your post here definitely encourages me to! <3

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      Yes, absolutely! I kind of wish I could edit my words in real life before people heard them. ๐Ÿ˜…

      That’s a tough one, definitely, but so important at the same time!

      Reply
  3. Kendra Lynne @ The Wanderling

    Aw… this post is so beautiful, Jane. Sometimes it is hard to remember that all the most professional-looking bloggers are flawed people as well.

    Thank you so much for this post, Jane! By the way, random question… have you ever listened to the Newsboys’ music?

    Reply
  4. MiddleEarthMusician

    Excellent post Jane!!! <333 (And even though you blue-tacked the phone to the shell, it still looks amazing. XD)
    I'm doing better than I have in a long time. ๐Ÿ˜€ How are you? How is writing? (And…how is Ben today? XD)

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! I was actually really proud of how that shot turned out, haha. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I’m so glad to hear that. I’m really busy, actually, but it’s all good things that are keeping my schedule full. ๐Ÿ˜„ Writing is slower than normal but still going all right. (Ben’s still alive. xD) I’ve passed the halfway point so it’s on toward the climax now!

      Reply
  5. Jenna

    I needed this post, like, REALLY bad. And I didn’t even realize it. ๐Ÿ˜‰Thank you, Jane! โค๏ธ

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      I’m so glad this was an encouragement, Jenna! Love you, girl. ๐Ÿ’•

      Reply
  6. J.A.Penrose

    The trick with this is probably finding the right balance. You don’t want to be a structure Nazi who is unnaturally perfect, but you do want to give people your best. Kinda like different drafts of a book, really. The first one is full of mistakes, then they keep improving. It’s just a case of making sure it is still you, all the way through it.

    I don’t even know. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Anyways, thanks for being open with that Jane, and I agree with you 100%

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      Great points–that’s so true! We shouldn’t pretend, but we should give our best. All about the healthy balance. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thank you, Jess. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Reply
  7. Hannah Remraf

    You know, I’m not sure if I struggle with being perfect online. I mean, I don’t think I try to be, but I do wonder if it comes off like that, because I’m not very active or engaging online, and I don’t put many personal things out there. Although truth be told, I think I am afraid to put too much of myself online. What happens if people don’t like me as me, you know? It’s so much easier to just hide behind the screen and pick and choose what people get to know (altho I am down for a deep convo anytime xP)
    Anyway, thank you for this thought-provoking post, Jane. (also its been like forever since we’ve talked; we should catch up sometime!)

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      It’s always hard to know how you come off to others, yeah. I can never be totally sure myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it’s way too easy to only show parts of your personality that you think other people would like.

      You’re welcome! ๐Ÿ˜Š It HAS been an age, though?? I can’t believe how long it’s been. We totally should!

      Reply
  8. R.M. Archer

    I don’t actually know if I end up being artificial online or not. I worry about it every once in a while and wonder whether I sound genuine, or wonder how to make myself sound more real even when I don’t know how I’d be more real.
    I don’t have much of a life outside of the internet, which I think has an effect. I don’t know at this point what I’m normally like in social situations? (Wow, I sound like a mess. XP)
    I think I need to figure out again how I act with people and figure out whether or not that’s translating accurately and genuinely online.

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      I definitely relate! It’s hard to know sometimes.

      Haha, that’s actually funny. ๐Ÿ˜› That makes it even more challenging. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  9. Nicole Dust

    I know Iโ€™m super late to this post (Iโ€™M SORRY) but WOW, Jane. This is so true. Sometimes I forget that being real and authentic online is more important than having a perfect aesthetic. <3

    Reply
    • Jane Maree

      Haha, I know the feeling. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thank you! Yes, I definitely value authenticity in others higher than their aesthetic appeal.

      Reply

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