Picture Perfect… Or not

I received a Christmas card this week from a dear friend and the picture was so beautiful it literally stopped me in my tracks. She and her husband and their two gorgeous little girls were perfectly arranged on a blanket, smiling into the camera, with a fence and a host of trees in full autumn glory behind them. I sat with that card for a good long while just loving them! Then, setting aside my twinge of envy, I decided to send her an email telling her how beautiful they all were and what a lovely picture they’d taken which they’d be sure to treasure for years.

She responded with this.

Subject: It’s a farce

“Perfect picture – Ha!  The funny part is our 4 year old was completely misbehaving, the 1 year old cried almost the entire time and my husband and I were both VERY frustrated.  The photographer somehow got a few good pics and I was ready for Moe’s and a margarita afterward to calm down a bit! Anyway…thanks!

I loved how honest she was with me; the scene she described was exactly what I’ve experienced in photo sessions and it made me feel better to know I was not alone! She got a great result despite the chaos it took to get there, but I was only viewing the end result.

How often do we do this to ourselves? We judge our own chaotic process against everyone else’s picture-perfect result. It’s crazy-making. How much kinder it would be if we’d all own up to the days when the kitchen isn’t clean or the laundry isn’t done or the workout never happened or the lunch wasn’t so healthy. Our friends might realize they are not alone…and maybe we’d all be just a little more gentle with ourselves, especially during this incredibly busy season.

Try it. Own up to the little imperfections in your own life. Let someone peek behind the curtain of your own “perfect picture” – the honesty just may be a relief to you both.

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