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Don’t trust what you see. Even salt looks like sugar.

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Oh, how looks can be deceiving! Whenever I hear this quote, I think of a funny story from my mother where it illustrates this point quite literally.  When my mom was a child, she filled my grandmother’s sugar bowl with salt to see if she would tell the difference. Of course, by sight, it looked the same. Eager to have her morning coffee, my grandmother unknowingly heaped in two overflowing teaspoons of salt right into her coffee. And I’m sure you can imagine how awful her coffee tasted!

Now that social media has become a permanent fixture in our lives, we have so many examples of people living extraordinary lives that we wish we had ourselves. We see people we know who seem so happy, have the perfect family, who get to travel to cool places, have a promising career and look flawless in all their pictures. We are more connected than ever, yet studies show that we are lonelier than we have ever been.

What we are seeing around us is a curated life, a highlight reel – only what people want you to see. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others when we are bombarded by these images of perfection. What you need to remember is that what you are seeing, is often not the full picture.

That guy at work who seems to have it all together and take his family on luxurious vacations might really be swimming in debt. That girl in school who looks happy in every picture on her Instagram, may really be sad and feel more alone than she has ever felt.

Don’t always trust what you see. And more importantly, don’t be too quick to make assumptions. Patterns and context will reveal more rather than just relying on what you are seeing in the moment.

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