If there’s one thing I have learned about love from Instagram, it is that love is easy.
We’ve all seen those images, right? The ones where it seems like some professional iPhone photographer has followed this couple around, documenting that time they both looked awesome at a friend’s wedding or had the perfect quiet evening together or gave each other happy piggybacks in a summer field. It seems as though their whole relationship is one perfect VSCOcam moment after another.
Love is always smiling.
Love is always in a good mood.
Love is full of romantic dates and romantic adventures and above views of the romantic dinner you ate together.
Love is flawless.
Love is constant.
Love is always affirming, always dresses well, always puts the other first, always the perfect mixture of silly and hopelessly serious.
In my experience, this is maybe half of what love is.
The other part of love, the one you won’t find in your Instagram feed, consists of frustrations, insecurities, disagreements, awkward moments, exasperation, fatigue, and hard conversations, among other things.
Yes, love is blissful. But love is also made up of those things two imperfect people face in order to have a healthy and genuine relationship. And let me tell you, they are not the first things you want to show the world.
This is why it is so dangerous to judge the quality of our relationships and love lives based on an edited version of what others choose to present to us.
I’m not saying that the pictures we see of happy couples are not portraying real love and truth, but we are missing the full story (or the big picture, if we want to go full-on pun here).
This other part of love, this part we don’t hashtag, filter or edit, is a part we should not be afraid to show other people.
In fact, I think being honest about the not-so-pretty moments of our relationships helps others gain a better understanding of what it means to love someone well despite not having it all together all the time, in addition to keeping ourselves honest about our own struggles.
I’m not saying we should start posting images of these types of moments (and I don’t know how one would do that anyhow), but when we realize that love, even healthy and good love, has its struggles, we can let go of this idea that our relationships have to be picture-perfect in order to be good. We can stop feeling less adequate than those laughing couples on our feeds because we know they too work through difficult things to get where they are. We can cut ourselves some slack on our own journeys and stop freaking out when not every moment of our relationship would earn 103 “likes.” We can let go of the expectation that love is supposed to be idyllic all the time.
Because despite what Instagram may portray, love is not idyllic all the time. But that does not make it any less the real thing.
© Julia Feeser and HelloSoul, 2014.