Living in a Filtered World

The last blog I wrote focused on happiness and what it means to be happy. There is much more to be written on that subject, and I am going to write some more about it today, as a part of my larger overall thought.

The other day I read an article that made me contemplate the aspects of life; emotions, the role of expectations, market noise, perception, and reality. Life is a grand adventure. It twists and turns and forks and dives at a million different places, and each path leads to a wonderfully exciting possibility. Life is meant to be enjoyed and we try to maximize our happiness and minimize our sadness to come up with the best results possible. Just as any business tries to maximize its profits, we as people try to maximize our utility. We don’t like to feel sad, and we crave happiness, however, both emotions are equally important simply for the fact that they are real.

The world currently lies in a precarious position that is without precedent. The creation of social media, mobile phones, and wireless internet have made it easier to communicate with anyone around the globe. A post on Facebook, a tweet, or an Instagram post can be uploaded in a moment and shared with the entire world. Emotions and feelings attached with these forms of communication are instantly transfered and seen by people we know and love very dearly, as well as with strangers in a far off city.

This creates a problem of false perception throughout the world. The biggest issue with gaining an understanding of the world through social media, is that everything we choose to post is filtered. When we scroll through our newsfeed or look at pictures people post the message we get back is the message people are trying to send about themselves. Everybody wants to look good. Everybody wants to be happy. Everybody, to some degree, wants to show off. What we end up seeing on all of our favorite social medias are glorified versions of peoples lives. We see the great things our friends are doing, the fun they are having, the promotions they are getting, the places they are traveling, the people they are dating and it overloads our brain with perception that everybody is happy and has magical lives.

Yet, that is not the case. If we look at our own social media posts, we would see that we ourselves are guilty of the same actions. We post pictures and news that we think other people want to hear, which means we post happy news and pictures. In our society it is viewed negatively to express our true emotions and it is even a part of our every day vernacular when people ask us how we are doing we always respond “good” whether we are actually good or not. In our current society we are not good at dealing with people who aren’t good. If you were to meet somebody and ask how they were doing, and they told you the truth about how their day was really going, you wouldn’t quite know how to respond.

Unfortunately, in our society, it is not okay to be not okay. We have to be happy all the time. If we are feeling sad, somehow it is wrong of us to “bring down” the people around us with our negativity. But the truth is that each emotion we experience is valuable and insightful to life. If people were to accurately portray their lives through social media, you would see a wide spectrum of emotion, ranging from the brightest of reds to the deepest of blues, and back up to the faintest yellow you could see.

I guess what I am saying is that it is okay to feel. It is okay to feel anything and everything, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to state what it is that we are truly feeling. If I were to reflect on my own life, I would feel a million different emotions every day. I feel upset, sad, jealous, excited, grateful, peaceful, bored, happy, worried, nervous, scared, brave, hopeful, inspired, adventurous, and in love. Yet, which emotions do I choose to share with the world? If you were to look at my own Instagram, you would see pictures of happy and exciting events going on in my life, adding to the market noise that everybody is happy all the time. Market noise is just that, noise. Don’t let the noise of others filtered lives drown out the reality that each person goes through ups and downs.

Life is meant to be lived. Each emotion we have lets us live a little bit more.