“Snapshot Syndrome” 1.18.13

picture( Snap.shot.syn.drome) “The mistake of assuming someone has a better life than you based upon what you see when you look at their facebook page.”

I’ve been guilty of it and I’m sure many of you have too.  It’s the modern version of “keeping up with the Jones’s.”  We look at a snapshot of someone’s life and assume they have it better than us…. or, a good old case of jealousy sneaks in.  We think things like:

  • Their husband probably pays more attention to them than mine.
  • Their wife treats them better than mine does.
  • She’s a better mom than I am.
  • They have it easier than I do.
  • Their kids are better behaved than mine.
  • Their house is better than mine.
  • Their relationship with God is better than mine.
  • They are happier than I am.

Some of those things might be true, but dwelling on how you feel is a trap.  It is nearly impossible to be happy and content when you compare your life to that of others.  It’s a lose- lose situation   If you measure your life against someone you consider lesser than yourself- it creates pride.  If you compare your life with someone you deem better off- it creates discontentment.

I hope I don’t burst a bubble here…. But…. Did you know that most people only post pictures that paint themselves in a positive light?  I can’t remember the last time I posted a picture with a caption, “Hey world- this is me losing control and screaming at my kids!”  “Here’s another one of me being embarrassingly selfish, have a good night!”  There’s obvious reasons I don’t post stuff like that … I have what is known as facebook “tact.” (We all know people who need a good dose of it!)

A lady once said to me, “I wish I had a husband like yours.  He actually does stuff with you.”  Then she referred to a picture of Aaron and I riding a tandem bike together.  I encouraged her to choose healthier thoughts and gave her some ideas to try with her husband.

This is the picture that she was talking about.


First of all, this picture was taken as part of a photo shoot for our church.  It was completely staged.  Second, if the picture had a caption it would read,

“This is a picture captured during our second attempt at a photo shoot.
The first shoot (the day before) was a complete failure due to an epic fight about the photo shoot.
It was one of our biggest fights to this day.”

Beware of “Snapshot Syndrome.”  Nobody’s life is perfect…. So don’t get so depressed when you realize yours isn’t either!  Remember, you’re not the only person who has ever cried themselves to sleep….. and as my friend Jen Deweerdt says,

“The grass isn’t greener on the other side… it’s greenest where you water it!”


  1. Oh, Bobbi, did I ever laugh about the, “hey world, this is me losing control and screaming at my kids!” So, I guess I can say I can relate.
    Yet again, another really great blog! I truly enjoy reading them.

    1. Irene,
      You are such an encouragement to me as I learn how to write!

  2. I literally “laughed out loud” at the screaming at my kids comment. Oh and the honesty about the epic fight before the photo shoot. Makes me feel more “normal.” 🙂 Thanks for being so real Bobbi 🙂 LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! I’m off to go water my grass…

    1. Dina,
      I only wish I could say I’ve never lost control and screamed at my kids…. Thanks for being on this journey with me as we attempt to create a new “normal!”

  3. Shirley stadler · · Reply

    I really enjoy your blogs. You always have something to teach us weather you are trying or not! Thanks for taking the time to write them !! And thanks for being so real.

    1. Thanks Shirley! And…. Thanks for being part of a church that allows me to be real!

  4. Kris Janssen · · Reply

    I enjoy reading your blog Bobbi, you have great insight! In the world of Facebook and Twitter, informaton on others’ lives is so much more accessible. Vacation pictures or just day to day event pictures or posts of even the most casual aquaintances and high school classmates can make you feel like their lives are happy all the time, never a bad day for them! It can be disheartening if you don’t remember that what you are seeing and reading is just what that person wants you to see, not the whole picture.

    1. Kris,
      Thanks so much for your comments! I’m writing for me…. whether anyone reads this or not, but it’s always fun to see that others are getting something out of it too!

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