Social Media and the Real Life In Between

There is a type of person that lives amongst us all who does not look inward for happiness. It is not there. In an attempt to avoid the dissatisfaction they feel deep within themselves, they seek meaning out in the eyes of others. They present an impossible (or at least an inaccurate) portrayal of their life for us to feed into. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have provided us all with an opportunity to portray what we consider the best of ourselves and hide the things we aren’t as proud of. We are able to pick and choose our lives and identities, to dictate our satisfaction and happiness to whoever is interested enough to have a look. We are able to compete with the best, the most successful, the most content, with our families and friends over awe and admiration. These are MY thoughts; these are photos of MY life. Don’t I look happy? Aren’t my opinions and the way I say I live my life something to be admired? Doesn’t my life look lovely, productive, exciting and accomplished? They portray an idea of the person they would like to be, rather than truly acknowledging and fine tuning the person that they are. Today, with the help of social media, we have defined happiness and success in tangible items. You are only as accomplished as what you post. Your satisfaction with your life is determined by what you have allowed others to think of your life. If you do not upload any photos on to your Instagram profile for a full 7 days, onlookers may find it safe to assume you did nothing of interest that week. The truth is, however, we are all very much alive outside of our fantastic photos and posts. We are washing dishes, doing laundry, daydreaming, arguing, bonding, sleeping, watching movies and eating microwave dinners. We are all very much the same. There is a real life that we all have in common in between these wondrous posts. The woman you have fallen in love with online, whose mind and ideologies astonish you, who goes on trips to the far reaches of the world and posts photos of her travels lives by the same rules that we all do. She budgets and finances, researches and works, saves and sacrifices, eats in, dresses plainly, prioritizes and can’t afford the luxuries that you yourself may currently enjoy. The super couple who you idolize, who always seem to understand one another, who throw events for the community and are guests on a panel for a discussion about rising divorce rates in our generation for a prestigious university also live by the same rules as you and I. They too experience strain and heartache within their relationship, argue over finances and work hard to keep up consistent and open communication with one another, even when it feels difficult to do so. We see these people and assume greatness personally unattainable. You throw bleach in your wash of white clothes and look down on your life, wondering what amazing things your favourite characters online are up to. And in an attempt to feel content with yourself, you feed in to YOUR online character. You go out to an event you don’t enjoy just for that perfect snapshot to upload. You keep company with people you aren’t particularly fond of merely for their online presence. You post words that represent the ideologies you subscribe to rather than those you realistically uphold. You crave to have people idolize you in the way you have idolized others. Maybe then that emptiness will be filled within you and your life will feel more meaningful. This existence reminds me of the words to a song by Black Star called Thieves in the Night. What an unfortunate existence, to portray happiness rather than be happy. Sadly, most of us will NevR stumble across the thin line between “good deed” and “good person”.  With all this said (and at the risk of sounding self-righteous), I’d like to share some words with you in hopes that you might find them useful. Embrace your reality, appreciate YOUR life. Your dreams are attainable, alongside your happiness. The poor souls you grow jealous of online are begging for that jealousy. They would rather impress you from an artificial place than be proud of themselves. Enjoy your humble walks to No Frills with your significant other. Dirty dishes and laundry are to be expected. Find peace and be content with your quiet nights at home. Appreciate all of your life, not just what is worth a post. And if you do feel unsatisfied or anxious, if you do have a dream unattained, work toward it. These things often take time and sacrifice. Take that time, make those sacrifices, and put in the work to reach those goals. There should be no expectation for spectacular life moments without hard work, patience and positivity (alongside some “less spectacular” moments) in between them. Your life is not a television show. The opinions and judgments of others are of no benefit to you. They don’t need to be entertained and astonished at your every move. Separate from those who live through their avatars with a fantastic online story and a painfully drab real life. Simulating satisfaction of your own life on the exterior will not arouse it within you. Start with YOU and the rest will follow.
Oh, and the lyrics to that song….

Not strong
Only aggressive
Not free
We only licensed
Not compassionate, only polite
(Now who the nicest?)
Not good but well behaved
Chasing after death
so we can call ourselves brave
Still living like mental slaves
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice


-This was NevR supposed to happen.

  1. An article that should be in the hands of the School Board, and evenly distributed to their students; of whom would benefit the most from this (mind-opening) point of view.

  2. Wow!… Such a valuable truth to always keep in mind, to always remember.

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