Whatever your social media of choice — be it Facebook, twitter, instagram, or whatever — you are likely inundated with friends, acquaintances, perhaps even complete strangers sharing tidbits of themselves through opinions, thoughts, memories, or general goings-on. Given the incredibly narcissistic time in which we live – there’s even a book about it – it shouldn’t be surprising how often these tidbits feel like a slap in our face.
I remember reading my friend’s post about being a stay at home mom last year. I read about her joy of “making memories” and somehow twisted it all into meaning my not being home meant I was NOT making memories. Because, you know, everything is all about me, right?
Oh wait. It’s not?
Yeah. It’s not. It’s not all about you… or me. In fact, I’d venture to say most of the people we interact with on social media post whatever they post without thinking about me (or you) much at all.
All those pictures of your friend’s latest vacation? It’s highly unlikely she posted those to remind you that you’re broke, with three little kids and a husband who’s working two jobs making it difficult just to visit family, let alone getaway to some tropical beach somewhere.
That throwback Thursday post of your friend beaming on her wedding day? Sure she’s been married for five years, and the honeymoon has long since ended, but I doubt she’s sharing that picture to make you feel crappy for being single.
Those friends carrying on about their plans for the upcoming year of homeschooling with all the talk of curriculums? Um, I bet they’re actually focused on educating their children, not on giving you a big ol’ guilt trip for shipping your kids off to be schooled by strangers.
That writing buddy who just announced getting a literary agent and a publishing deal? Dude! That’s awesome. And you know what? She’s probably not sharing the news to remind you that your work in progress is still sitting there, half-edited, and gathering dust while you struggle to find the time to work on it.
Nope, none of it, not one bit of it is about you. Or me.
Yet we have this selfish tendency – whether we admit it or not – of painting everything in the light of us us us, me me me. Even if we know the world doesn’t revolve around ourselves, it often seems like it does with how we view everything around us through the lens of our own circumstances.
I don’t have any real advice here, though. I could tell you “well, just stop”, but when has that answer ever actually helped anyone? How many of us are aware of this issue, berate ourselves for it, try to do better, yet still fail? I doubt it I’m alone in that, but even if I am the only person struggling with self-centered, narcissistic, eisegetic tendencies, the answer still wouldn’t be to “just stop”.
I think the best we can do — all we can do, really — is remember in Christ we’re forgiven. We will likely never fully be rid of the narcissistic tendencies this side of Heaven. After all, our Old Adam loves that mirror, doesn’t he? But because of Jesus on the cross for us, we can notice when we screw up (because we will) and remember our neighbor (that’d be everyone around us) isn’t out to make us feel bad about our lives by celebrating their own (because it’s not all about us), repent (which, ahem, also means to apologize to that neighbor if we happened to give our selfish feelings a voice), and be forgiven.
Again. And again. And again.