How social media has turned us into monsters.
I have a confession. The pictures of your children on social media make me want to scream in agony. Your posts about landing a job in a profession you love bore me. Tagging yourself at every airport you are at to show how well traveled you are drives me insane. And continually putting on a façade about how great your life is has gone too far.
I know what you are thinking. Wow, she sounds like an angry bitch. If that is you, then congratulations, you are actually saying something that is not sugarcoated in fakeness or dipped in narcissism. Odds are you are also thinking, “She does it too,” and you know what, you are absolutely right, I am guilty of projecting a ‘perfect life’ onto social media at one time or another.
But what if we also talk about the days that things aren’t going well for us?
It is rare that someone will say, “Today I am having a really hard time and I don’t know why,” on social media. Sure there are some who post about the death of a loved one, losing a job or our kids being sick. Those are most certainly times of grief that some have the courage to share with the rest of the world. However, what about the days when there isn’t a tragedy occurring and we are just….sad. Or lonely. Or maybe we don’t even know how to describe it, all we know is saying, “I am not ok today,” is suddenly something we can’t talk about because everyone else’s lives are seemingly so perfect, ours must also be as well.
So instead, we post pictures of our vacations, our happy children and our loving partner. We share articles we have written. We showcase the latest projects we have been working on. Suddenly the competition of having the “better” life is eating at us and we don’t DARE say we are having a hard time because whether we are or not isn’t going to stop the next person from coming in with the better vacation, the happier children and the most loving partner. We are overcome with the need to make our fake lives, the best lives.
I’m not implying we can’t feel happy or proud of the accomplishments we have achieved. Many of us work very hard to be successful or fulfilled in our lives, so to know that people are cheering us on can be rewarding. The frustration isn’t in people wanting to share good news with the world, its people not being willing to admit when things are not going great. It’s people not being willing to say, “I am so sad today and I am not sure why.” It’s people being afraid to admit that the perfect life they brag about, sometimes isn’t so perfect. It’s people who are so consumed with themselves, that getting praise and adoration from people they haven’t spoken to in years or may not know at all, continues to fuel their need to personify a life that is merely an illusion.
Imagine what would happen if we said, “I am not ok today.” People would start to reach out to you, to encourage you and to make sure you know you are loved. The pressure to impress our neighbors and be the best would start to subside and we would realize, that they too struggle from time to time. They too need to be reminded that it is ok to have a bad day. To me, that is just as important as someone congratulating me on my latest endeavor. If we are going to use social media as a way to find validation in our success, why can’t we use it to find support in our failures?