There they are.
Those smiling happy faces as you scroll down your feed.
Where are your happy family snaps? Why can’t your family look like that? How do you have a happy family too?
It’s easy to get lost in the filters of Pinterest-worthy family pictures. We know that what we see isn’t always what we get, though it’s still a slap in the face on a rough day where everyone is stressed out and feeling alone.
So, what actually happens behind the scenes of those gorgeous photos where the sun is setting perfectly, casting a perfectly flattering shadow among the autumn leaves?
Well, there are two possible scenarios – the fake and the real.
Both types can share those dazzling photos with award-winning smiles, though I’m betting you want the real version. One that you get to enjoy, at least most of the time.
Behind the fake
Aside from holding hands in the photos, there is no connection.
No real connection. Arguments are a-plenty here. Eye-rolls galore. Lots of yelling. Every family member for themselves.
Imagine how many takes those beautiful photos took to get something that mimics the real deal?
What else happens behind the scenes of a fake happy family?
Tears. Lots of them.
There is nothing wrong with crying, I’m a big advocate for a good teary session when the world is just too much to handle and we drop the many balls we are juggling.
Though the cause of the tears and how often they are happening AND where is a big clue to the health of the family.
Do they happen in secret? Is it necessary to hide the tears to save the feelings or reactions of others?
That’s not a sign of a healthy family.
How often are they falling in the shower? On the pillow? On the steering wheel after school drop off?
Every chance you get is a big clue that there is a big problem and it needs our attention.
Are your tears kept company by these thoughts?
Why won’t they just help me?
Why can’t I get a grip on myself?
What am I doing wrong?
How do I get them to listen?
How can I change them?
These are all really condemning thoughts and it’s hard to feel in control when we are relying on others around us to behave/act in particular ways for us to be happy.
If our happiness relies on others, then we will never be happy.
So, what happens behind the scenes of a truly happy family?
Connection. Lots of it.
Regular hugs - where it feels weird to walk past without some sort of gentle touch.
Eye contact and communication that actually works.
Where everyone is looking out for the others – this means that trust is in the air because you know your back is covered.
Smiles without a camera in sight.
Heated discussions where everyone feels heard and respected.
The desire to hang out together as a couple or whole family.
Almost non-existent photos.
Where being happy and connected together is just so common that you don’t feel the need to document every scene.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve truly happy memories, though you’re so caught up in the moment it’s hard to remember that you might not have this feeling again. And that’s ok!
Tears. Tears of joy – and lots of it!!
Lack of comparisonitis.
Where you can scroll through someone’s feed and genuinely feel happy for them that they have a happy family – whether its fake or real.
Coz let’s face it; we can’t tell just from one picture what is happening behind-the-scenes.
Though you will know your family is a happy family where you no longer dream of a different one and you can just live in the moment of where you are – together.