Instagram and Facebook have all of these perfect pictures. What's easier for people to see? Obviously the pretty, but people's lives are never truly picture perfect are they? Simply being alive is beautiful and amazing, but messy and complicated too. 'I know of nothing more valuable when it comes to the all important virtue of authenticity then simply being who you are.'~Charles Swindoll. No one knows what happens behind closed doors. As a young girl into young womanhood, I looked at beauty mags and envied some of the models who looked so beautiful and put together. Now, with social media, you get to see the highlight reel of your friends and acquaintances. No longer models but now, your basic, everyday normal people looking beautiful and put together with seemingly happy lives and families. It has set a standard of perfection that no one can achieve. Here's the key, we all know that no ones life is perfect but it's so hard not to compare. I find that I compare myself to others more during times of sadness or insecurity which makes things even worse. 'Comparison is the thief of joy,'~Theodore Roosevelt. The pretty pictures and social media are not going away so what can we do? We can continue to tell the stories behind the pictures. For every smiling picture there has been struggle and tears and hard core lessons to get to that smile. Behind my smile there are those things and more. I don't think we can feel true joy or the love of God without first going through pain. Look at the pictures, celebrate people's joy, but don't forget to ask about the story. Life is your canvas.' We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be'~ Mary Sarton.