friday's confession: it's smoke and mirrors.

Last week, I attended an amazing birthday party for my friend Stacy, and my thought throughout was - Wow. I get to do stuff like this? How incredible is my life?

{Answer: VERY incredible.}

And I instagrammed the party and posted about it on facebook because it was exciting! The entire experience of the evening was surreal - surrounded by great people in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable, celebrating a very special person.

And I wanted to celebrate it.

But the dark side of the online sharing is that someone else might have seen my photos and my celebrations and my exclamation points and hashtags and thought I wish my life was like that.

I wish I could do things like that.

Why don't I have that?

And they might have felt bad about their own lives, when just minutes before, everything had been fine.

When I went on my honeymoon last month, I made a very conscious effort to stay off social media. No checking in, no quick posting, no just a peeks because I wanted to focus on where I was, on being with Tim, on celebrating the beginning of our marriage.

And during those two weeks, I never once felt bad about myself. I never once felt inferior. I never once thought, If only I could do/have/be that, everything would be better.

I realized it's all smoke and mirrors. This online life we're living, how attached we are to our social media accounts, the stories we are telling with our filtered photos and 140-character slices of life.

And maybe that's okay.

Based on the photos I took at the party last week, someone who doesn't know me well might think that this is my life, that my days are filled with exotic parties, beautiful settings, and a wonderland-like way of interacting. They may not know that, most nights, what really lights me up is having enough time before bed to watch two episodes of the West Wing instead of one.

I used to think that part of the solution was to quit social media altogether (which I, of course, recommend in small doses), but now I think that it might be to surrender to the smoke and mirrors - to recognize that we are all sharing our stories, celebrating those amazing, magical moments that must be shared.

Because sometimes smoke and mirrors entertain. Because they make things beautiful. Because they help us all feel like we're part of something bigger.

And isn't that what we're all really looking for in this life? The belonging. The community. The idea that maybe, just maybe, those magic shows aren't just smoke and mirrors. That just maybe this magic is the real deal, just this once, that we can trust that all of what we see - and more - is possible for each and every one of us.

That's what I want to believe.

And I encourage you to believe it too, and to remember it when you get that hit of jealousy or inferiority or life shame when you look at someone else's celebration on the internet. To some extent, it's all smoke and mirrors.

And each of us is just trying to find something to believe in.

**photo by me; graphic by Erin Cassidy for Tiffany Han Coaching


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