This week my question might seem very broad, but we’re going to narrow it down to a specific area. You ever wonder what it would be like to be someone else? You catch yourself watching them, seeing all they have, or all that they can do, and thinking, “it must be nice”, and wondering what it would be like to have that life. If we’re to be real, I bet we’ve all entertained that thought more than once. It’s not limited to age or gender either. And I would venture to say that social media has increased this topic quite a lot. We watch someone on Facebook or Instagram, and see all the wonderful things they have going on and we wonder what it would be like to have that life. But we should also wonder what we’re not seeing, or what they’re not telling us. For the most part, whether on social media, or in personal interaction, what people show to the public eye is only the good stuff, the happy vibe. We don’t know what’s really going on in their lives. We do know what’s going on in our lives so we tend to feel “less than” or even “inadequate”, because we know the areas in which we struggle. But know this: their struggles may be different, but they too do have struggles. They do feel pain. They too do have bad days.

A good example of this topic could really be my own life. You read my posts on Facebook or Twitter, you see pictures of me in front of a large crowd, or maybe you’re there when I get a standing ovation, or you see me signing books, or you simply listen to these thoughts each week. And it can be easy to think, “wow, this guy really has the life; He gets to travel all over, meeting new people and seeing new places, his message is impacting lives, they stand in line to buy his book and/or get an autograph, and he gets paid to do it all. I wonder what it would be like to have that life?” I even had a guy a few weeks ago, at a local gas station, say “headed out again huh?” And I said “yep”, and told him where I was off to. With a smile he said, “Must be nice”. And I’ll admit; all of those experiences are great. But what about when the lights go down? I don’t post on Facebook about phantom nerve pain that still exists in my paralyzed hand. I don’t talk about it all. It’s not near as bad as it once was, but it’s still there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t tell you about the frustration of my short-term memory issues that require everything to be placed in my calendar on my phone to give me reminders throughout the day. I don’t tell you about the times that I sometimes cry when I’m alone and run into tasks that would be relatively simple with two hands, but prove impossible with just one. That’s just a few of the struggles you don’t hear about. And I don’t tell you any of that because I want you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want that at all. That’s why I don’t usually tell you those things.

I mention all of this, hoping that you see my point, and the lesson in it. Next time you catch yourself wondering what it would be like to have someone’s wonderful life. Take time to wonder what it is that you’re not seeing. You are not pathetic. You are not weak. You are not inadequate. You are human, and so is that person, who’s life it is that you’re wondering about.

Now, I must add that it is good to have people to admire, and lives to model your own life after. But just be sure you’re not watching them, or anyone else, from a point of insecurity or a feeling of inadequacy. Never forget that even if their life appears perfect, it isn’t. There’s so much that you can’t see. You look at them wondering what it’d be like to be them. You ever wonder if they’re looking at you wondering the same thing?

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Matt Potratz