Happiness In The Times Of Social Media

Day 29

Social media is a dreamy place indeed. Everybody is happy here! They all have the perfect jobs, fancy wheels, life changing vacations and relationships that could make anyone envious. It sure seems to be a parallel world, compared to the real world we live in.

Scrolling through your feed sometimes, can be the most depressing thing to do, because no matter how successful, rich, or beautiful you are, you’ll always have someone more successful, richer, or more good looking, posting updates and pictures of the weekend escape, fun get away or the supposedly crazy life that they’re living, and you end up questioning your life, while admiring someone else’s. Nobody posts the pain of failed relationships, empty wallets, incompatibility, insecurities and everyday struggles, on social media for all to see. Like in a job interview, you only want to show off your best side. Nobody shows off the unhappy side of their lives, but the more important question is, do they have to? They don’t owe it to the world to show both sides of the coin.

Enough has been discussed about how social media is superficial, which it absolutely is. Everything we eat, drink, think has to end up on social media, or what will the world think? Too often, it becomes our escape mechanism from a routine life that’s painted to perfection before showing off to the world. With seemingly nothing left personal, you’re bound to wonder if people are indeed that happy, or struggling with social validation?

My concern however, isn’t with the ones who spam our walls with updates screaming “I’m the happiest”. My concern isn’t with wondering, if they are indeed that happy, and if they are, why are they trying so hard to prove it? My concern is with our mentalities of getting depressed or questioning our own happiness, when we come across such posts. From when did we make happiness comparative? Why does someone else’s happiness make us uncomfortable? Why don’t we go “Oh wow! She went for another vacation! I’m so happy she’s travelling” or “She got a better job! Good for him, he’s worked hard for it”. All one sees on social media is what someone wants to show. No struggle behind the happiness, or imperfection behind the perfection is highlighted, but do we need such reminders to stop us from questioning our happiness? Why does our happiness, have to depend on someone else’s? Isn’t happiness personal and objective? Does the joy of cherishing our own life to the most, change when someone else does it a different way? When we look different, speak different, live different, why does our happiness have to be subjective? Where’s the good old world where people were happy for each other? If you’re truly at peace with yourself, why should someone else’s display of happiness make you question your life?

It’s time we move the spotlight from the ones posting, to the ones getting affected by it. I’m in no way justifying the seeking of social validation, or putting up all of your life up on social media for the world to see. However, if someone does it, who am I to judge? All of us have different ways of expressing ourselves, and if someone wants to do it through pictures and updates on social media, irrespective of how true a representation it is of their life, it’s their choice entirely. I’ve often heard people saying if someone’s posts bothers you so much, why don’t you unfollow them? But before that, ask yourself why does someone else’s happiness bother you so much? Would you still unfollow them if they showed you a real, raw picture of the struggles they face?

We’ve been raising our fingers for too long now, conveniently forgetting the fact that our thoughts need questioning too. Don’t let scrolling through social media depress you. Instead, let it open your thoughts to more constructive curiosities about your own responses to such posts. Don’t undervalue the happiness that you work so hard for, by comparison. When we don’t look, hear, feel and emote the same way, why should our happiness look similar?

The next time you log into social media, remind yourself that you’re at peace with yourself, and happy for everyone else who is. Be happy for the happy faces you see. Life is tough, yet here they are, or they seem to be, in a happy place. If someone else’s happiness makes you uncomfortable, it’s time to question yourself and change that.

Celebrate the differences! Happy scrolling.