Many times a lot of people have fallen in-love with the illusion that social media presents to them; the beautiful girls with flawless skins, killer bodies and hair to die for, tall handsome men with awesome lives partying it up every weekend, riding in their fancy fast cars and living it up from one hotel to the other. Who wouldn’t want that kind of life for themselves?
How many have felt that gnawing feeling of envy upon seeing the luxurious lives of their ‘friends’ on social media? Whether it was intended or not, social media has driven most people into forced self-reflection. They’ve found themselves consciously and sometimes unconsciously comparing their lives to that of others. They watch every day the lives of their friend’s glamorous lives unfold before them through photos and updates and they are left to wonder about their own lives. But the question that needs to be asked is; how much of it is real?
What’s on your mind?”
That’s the question that prompts social media fanatics to go all out crazy with their posts. How many times have you been confronted with that question and stopped to think; should I really write down what’s really on my mind? Chances are that your response is usually a resounding ‘hell NO!” The truth is, if people always wrote exactly what was on their minds, there would be a lot of divorces and very lonely people without friends out there. That’s just how reality works. In the end, people settle for posting what’s considered socially acceptable and engaging or what is likely to get them a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ without revealing so much about what is really going on in their lives.
The truth is that there are a lot of dangers to believing everything that is seen on social media to the point where you start comparing your life to that of others. Eventually, people will have to realise that it’s almost impossible for people to present every aspect of their lives on such grand platforms. Everyone desires to be looked at or perceived in a certain way and so they strive to portray a certain kind of life they think will make them look better in the eyes of others. This is very true as can be seen from people’s reactions when their friends post ‘too much’ information about themselves on social media; having breakfast in bed, having fun with bae, feeling sleepy, missing my sweet hubby, etc. The common reaction mostly is; do we really need to know all that?
There are certain people who will go to great lengths to portray a certain kind of image of themselves which is contrary to who they really are and the circumstances surrounding them. Some people will take a thousand pictures and end up posting only one or two that look best, that’s human nature. Others will subject their pictures to numerous filters to the point where even they cannot recognize themselves in the final image. Others will lie about where they actually are when they check in, some will never take photos when the background is not impressive even if that background is their own living room or bedroom. Worse, others will lie about their names, age, and even gender. For some, social media is simply an avenue through which they can express themselves in ways they wouldn’t dare to in real life. This is why it is important to be cautious before we buy into the things that run before our eyes in social media feeds.
There is a need for people to recognize the fact that not everything they see online is valid and a real representation of what’s out there in real life. Granted, some things can be very real, however, it is not enough to make conclusions about people’s overall lives based only on what they post online. For those that are married, you are not likely to see updates about them being physically or verbally abused by their spouses, or sleeping hungry not knowing where the next meal will come from. For those that are single, they will post images of themselves partying and living it up but you will never see posts about them searching the internet for possible soulmates or stalking their crushes on social media, crying in bed alone, or wishing they had someone by their side when things get rough.
It is a great feeling to be content with our lives, but it is an even greater feeling to be more intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated. Instead of harbouring hate and jealousy over what you assume are the successes of others, it is better to find things in your life that you can work on to make your real life actually better, to identify your weaknesses and at the same time identify your strengths and use them to better your life. There is no shame in being poor or uneducated; everyone has their own life story and journey to travel. Others will get there before you but as long as you are working hard enough to make a better life for yourself, there is no shame in admitting your circumstances, especially to those you consider ‘friends.’
So go ahead, be content, but still strive to live up to your potential. Do not be envious, but get motivated to work even harder. Do not always buy into the glamour and glitz that’s constantly being portrayed on social media. And instead of grading your life against that of others, how about actually making your real life fantastic!