When Social Media Meets Real Life

social media icons.jpgMany 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!

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Why do you want to get married so desperately?

wedding

This is a question I always get tempted to ask some of my friends but I have never really found a way to say it out loud in a much nicer way…if there is anything like that. However, there is another important question I think people forget to ask; why get married at all?

For the latter question, there are well coloured responses like; procreation, sense of belonging, companionship, a show of real love and many other such reasons. I believe it is this group of reasons that hold (to a certain extent) valid reasons as to why one should start panicking when they reach a certain age and are still not married. However, there is another set of factors that people are not so proud to say out loud but they have put these reasons at the top of their list so much that they would do anything just to have someone they can call husband or wife.

One of these reasons is simply that, ‘everyone in my circle of friends or age group is getting married.’ This embarrassing reason is coupled with pressure from friends and relatives who question you for still being unmarried when you have reached or passed the ‘right age’ for marriage. To hell with falling in love or being emotionally ready for such a huge commitment, they are simply informing you in a round-about way that something is wrong with you!

Sad to say but women tend to feel the pressure more than men. They have two battles to fight – nature and society, and it leaves them paranoid to the bone! Even before a guy officially asks you out on a date you are already picking out colours for the wedding theme and what you will wear for the kitchen party. Some women become so wrapped up in their need for marriage that they have no patience for a prospective suitor who isn’t yet financially stable or feels uncomfortable talking about the number of kids he wishes to have on the first date. It is this rush that forces them not to see the potential in a person that could have probably made for a great spouse in future.

Another reason why some people are in desperate need of marriage is financial dependence. Some time back this used to be mostly a problem for women but these days, there is a certain class of men that have convinced themselves too that getting married to a financially independent woman means that they don’t have to hustle for money at all. I cannot even begin to stress the disadvantages of such an arrangement. Unfortunately, I have seen women throw themselves at men that are financially stable and have ignored all other aspects of their personalities or habits. They choose to spend the rest of their lives at the mercy of someone who will not by any means empower them but leave them financially dependent forever. Whether happy or unhappy, such people will stay in the marriage simply because they cannot imagine going back to their old lives.

For some men, it’s when they leave home and start living on their own that they become desperate for marriage. Companionship might not even be on the list, but the need to have a multi-purpose machine that can cook, clean, as well as provide sexual pleasure is all that matters. These kinds of men think that maids are expensive, but they always get shocked when they discover the true cost of marriage. A man that isn’t emotionally ready for marriage but still does so simply because he needs a maid with benefits is exactly the type of man that makes for a terrible husband…and an unhappy woman.

There are too many people out there that are married and miserable but they can’t get out because they fear judgement from society or having to start all over again with some other stranger who might just turn out to be an exact replica of the devil they are already married to. The truth is that it’s very possible that you might be very happy being single. I sincerely believe that there are genuinely happy single people out there. In this modern world, there are so many things one can do to keep from being lonely. Now, I am not saying that there is an absolute substitute for human companionship; I am simply saying that some things can wait.

The kind of loneliness you are likely to feel married to someone that you don’t really love or doesn’t really love you back is on a much greater scale than if you were lonely all by yourself. Forget all that stuff about crying in a Benz compared to crying on a bicycle; eventually you will need to get off. The question is, where will your feet land?

What some people might not realise is that the only reason they think they need to get married is because of pressure around them and the need to live according to society’s expectations. However, once you sign that paper that binds you to someone else forever, those people that caused you to get into that situation will not be there to help curb your problems when they occur.

I don’t know about other cultures but if you are an African woman, it’s better to stop admiring or envying the life of your married friends on social media. As women, we are trained from a very tender age to never broadcast our marital trials to the public. Therefore, what is seen on social media or on the outside is never the whole picture; that’s simply the cover page. Granted, marriage is very good, I should know…so far I have experienced the good way more than the bad but this is probably because I married out of love…and I believe that both of us were mentally ready at that time to make such a commitment and stick to it.

There is no harm in being single and waiting for the right time or ‘right person.’

Only give in to pressure if it’s possible to hold all those pressuring you accountable when the time comes.

Unhappy marriages can lead to unhappy people, unhappy children, and a society filled with unhappy people. The ultimate result of this is exactly what we see in society today; people constantly shooting each other or plotting to murder one another.