Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Do Blogs Ever Make You Feel Badly About Your Life?

I'm about to ask a frank question, so brace yourself:
Do blogs ever make you feel badly about your own life?

I mean, does your reality look like this?
(a blogger's perfect life: filled with cupcakes, parties, handmade cards and butt-enhancing jeans)

By and large, blogs are a source of countless hours of inspiration for me.
There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't smile ear-to-ear after seeing a project shared on a blog and  think, "Wow, people are so creative!" Blogs connect us to beautiful interiors, festive parties, artfully composed bouquets, unique letterpress stationary, adorable babies in hand-sewn clothing...all of which capture the imagination.

But, sometimes, it's hard for me to remember that blogs are, in large part, imaginations at play.
They're edited and groomed and styled.
They're a small fraction of a blogger's whole life.
They're often only the most pretty, most well-lit, most sparkly moments of a person's day.

Too frequently, I see the homes/parties/families/dinners/outfits others' share on their blogs and I think, "Damn, so-and-so has it all together. How do they do it? How is my life so far from perfect?"
I grant you, it is an incredibly self-centered notion to believe that someone's else success or good fortune is a reflection on my own. Life is not a zero-sum game, after all.

But as a reader of blogs, I find myself having to consciously dismiss the feelings of inadequacy that blogs stir up in me and, instead, focus entirely on the wonderful network of creative people I am connected to through blogging. The honest-to-goodness truth is that I am happiest as a reader when the veil of perfection is lifted and and a blogger 'keeps it real', so that's what I'm doing today: keepin' it real.
So, now I ask:
Do you ever feel badly about your life because of blogs?
How do you combat the feeling that your home/closet/children/culinary skills are inadequate when compared to those shared on blogs?


  1. i love your blog and your home- i actually sent a friend over here the other day to check out your master (which i big time heart). comparison is the thief of joy- love your home and love yourself for what it is and for what you are and don't compare!

  2. YES.

    Though I think more so than blogs, I make myself feel bad. My incessant need to compare myself to others. My critical nature in never thinking anything is good enough. Blogs just provide the visual evidence.

    How I do I work at it? I limit my internet time. I make attainable goals and usually fail at them... but also reward myself when I achieve them. I also tell myself I'm ok.

    Too cheesy? Well that's the real me.

    I heart you Ashley! You have so many wonderful gifts!!

  3. Um.... YES.

    I experienced this a ton when I was planning my wedding, and while I thought wedding blogs were helpful, they were really making me a bit crazy. I thought more about how things would photograph one too many times. There seemed to be no "real" out there... and wedding planning is a time when "real" matters... and reminders of "real" are so tremendously helpful.

    I've spent the past few months posting (from time to time) about my wedding experience. My hope is that it might help someone else. Help them realize that behind every picture on a blog, there is a bigger story that isn't being shared.

    While there is a place for inspiration through photos, I am more inspired through the honesty in bloggers words. I think that as the blog world grows, it will be the authentic voices (good-bad-ugly) that find followings. Those are definitely the blogs I read now, at least!

  4. Uh, often.

    I go look at an ugly blog and feel better.

  5. This has been on my mind lately. It's not so much that I look at other blogs and think they are perfect and I am not--I know the power of photography, editing, and styling. It's more how I act because of blogging. I've never been so impatient with my home and decor in my life--and it has never looked so good. I also over-analyze the lack of comments on my blog. It's stupid. But also normal (I tell myself.) I find a ton of inspiration out there, and learn SO much from reading blogs, and try to imagine I must have something valuable to say if 108 people are following along for the ride. :)

    Love that you put it out there!!!


  6. Every day! My blog is very off the cuff and when I see such well prepared posts and impossibly gorgeous images, it makes my heart drop a little. Thanks for keeping it real at your place - I know this post will resonate with lots of folks!

  7. Things are never as they seem. I try to remember that. Great post. And yes, I think we all feel that way at times. I mostly feel badly for not being as consistent as I'd like where posting is concerned. Love your blog. I think it is terrific!

  8. I totally know what you mean, but what I found what works for me is stepping away from it all and focusing on my personal/family goals. I also found that since we've moved to Europe, I have enjoyed the 'living' aspect much more than the 'reporting' aspect - and that is very liberating!! Your blog is awesome, Ashley - I check it everyday and try to comment as often as I can!! Thanks for being so honest!

  9. Oh, my. You all are so wonderful and so honest. Thank you!

    Cassie--I love that Franklin Roosevelt quote! Thank you for the encouraging reminder!

    Naomi: I heart you, too. Limiting internet time and, more importantly, always affirming yourself seem like great solutions that really work--especially for us self-critical folks.

    Maureen: Ha!

    Prippy Handbook: Oh, boy, can I relate to the pressure to plan a "blog-ready" wedding. I'm convinced that, for me, the world of wedding blogs did more harm than good. What really matters on that day was making a lifelong commitment, not the perfect floral arrangements or hand-written menus. Thanks for being so honest yourself!

    Bromeliad: Hahahaha. I needed that. This is

    Heather: Lady, I know exactly the concern over comments you're talking about. For what it's worth, I try to comment on your blog as much as possible b/c you're fabulous! I can't believe how you manage to come up with great posts on a daily basis. You rock.

    Kim: You say you're posts are off-the-cuff; I say they are great! I love following along with your "dollhouse" transformation and always aspire to be a better bargain-hunter like you!

    Sharon: Amen! It's so important to keep it all in perspective. And thank you for your super-kind words! :)

    Fran: Aw, shucks. As a reader of YOUR blog, I really enjoy the breaks from design and the focus on real life. I've thoroughly enjoyed your recaps of Vienna life--it's like no other blog I'm reading and it always feels fresh and authentic!

  10. Ha! Yes! Bill and I joke that we started a blog to make us seem cooler than we really are.

    I always try to remind myself that I'd rather be enjoying life than driving myself crazy trying to mimic those pretty, sparkling pictures (though I sure do try!).

  11. Yes and no. I've often looked at other people's blogs and been envious at how well prepared their posts are, how well styled their photos are, and how they always seem to come up with such creative content. Then I realize that I have a life which includes a wonderful husband, a demanding (non-blogging) career, a home I love as-is, and lots of friends and family who come first. I'd rather that my life be fantastic and my blog (which depicts it) lacking :)

  12. Great post, Ashley. I think about this often, and think that's why more and more I'm drawn to the blogs whose owners/authors are honest and really "keep it real." I love the inspiration, but don't enjoy feeling like everything is unattainable!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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