We live in an era where we see what people post on social media and how they present their lives and start calling other people’s lives as “goals.” Beautiful couple that get cutesy online, “relationship goals.” A successful business owner talking about their products & revenue & lifestyle = “business goals.” A fly ass group of chicks that take a mean photo = “squad goals.”
And all of that’s great and good except for one thing: how are people, scenarios, relationships, and lives that you really don’t know the truth about a goal? I’m not hating at all. I live for a good story and LOVE when people are out here slaying at life. But I’ve never and will never call anyone else goals. And not just for the basic spiritual reason – which is that motto that what’s for me is for me. But also there’s this: YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN ANYONE ELSE’ s LIFE. Period.
Let’s keep it a buck: most people on social media are like me- they show you what they want you to see. For me that means there are certain things I just don’t and won’t talk about. That’s been an evolution. But despite what I do share, I’ve increasingly become extremely private in recent years. For every semi-personal thing I talk about, there’s a world of stuff I don’t. Similarly, just because you see a couple smiling for the ‘gram, doesn’t mean you know the inner workings of their relationship. Think of all the couples you know of who have separated or divorced or even just revealed they were having problems. One of my favorite bloggers just revealed before Christmas that she left her husband and one of the things that she mentioned in talking about it are the reactions she got from other people when they found out, some including this idea that her marriage defined her (full pause because…wtf).
I can’t help but think some of these people’s reactions are based on needing her and her marriage to be something to aspire to- at least their vision of this marriage. Similarly though, I know women that still are mad at Jesse Williams because of the breakup of his marriage (mind you their level of relationship with him isn’t even as deep as being a loyal Grey’s Anatomy viewer) and still side-eye Jay-Z over 4:44 and Lemonade ( and I’m referring to non-Beyhive members here.) I mean I won’t lie: I love Black Love and I do get sad when I see famous Black celebrity couples break up. But just as quickly I remember: I don’t know these people. Who am I to even form an opinion about their relationship when I know nothing about it and it has nothing to do with me? That’s crazy.
But that’s what people do. We hang up our ideals and desires on others as though these human beings that are having their own human experiences are our vision boards come to life. And that shit is not fair to anyone. I know of couples that probably look great on their Christmas card picture , but meanwhile the woman has no idea that she’s a part of a one-sided open relationship. I’ve seen pictures of successful businesswomen that someone has called goals- meanwhile having no idea of the struggle and difficulty said woman is going through. I don’t mention either example as a critique of the specific people, but to point out that you never really know what is going on with people. You don’t know the true struggles, the problems, the secrets , any of that. ( Nor should you – people have a right to their privacy.) And even if you know people, you have to remember that there is still a private side that you still likely don’t know.
The bottom line is that while it’s great to have goals, they shouldn’t be based on looking like what other people have. We have got to stop putting people on pedestals they never asked to be put on. And we have to stop acting like other people’s lives are supposed to be a map for our own. Not only because we don’t know the reality of other people’s lives – what they are enduring or have endured to get to where they are – but also because their journey is their journey. Having mentors and role models to refer to as a guide is one thing. Career-wise I know I look up to some people as a guide to what I want to do and accomplish. But I also don’t call them goals because I know our journeys are different and our desired destinations probably are too. Anytime I ever even catch myself going down the “I want my ______ to look like that” I remember that great motto I follow: What’s for me is for me. The same goes for you. What’s for you is for you, not what someone else has – or more to the point, not what you think someone else has.