My relationship with social media is a precarious one. Some days I love it and other times, I curse the person whose idea it was. More than once, I have considered shutting down all my social media accounts and obliterating myself from the internet. Well, I typically consider it for all of a nanosecond and then promptly cast down the evil thought. The only thing that stops me is my thirst for information and current affairs (also known as amebo); how else will the latest gist reach me?!
One of my principal gripes with social media is that is a well oiled envy breeding machine. Sometimes, it’s obvious. We see something someone has and instantly start plotting our ‘get it too’ strategy. Other times, it’s more subtle. All seems well until we wake up one day to find we are no longer satisfied with our lives. Other people are ‘doing big things’ while we stay drowning in the well of relative insignificance.
It is an accepted fact that people tend to portray the best of their lives on social media platforms. You post a selfie when you KNOW you’re looking hot but those pictures where you’re looking jacked up rarely surface. When you are in a relationship, we know about it because your poetic status and photo updates make the rest of us want to curl up in a ball and weep for love, but it is your silence that tells us when the relationship has ended. When you get a new job, we see the update on LinkedIn but we only know you were out of work when you post a new job update and we realise there’s a six month gap between when the last one ended and the new one began. We see the portraits of your feet on Instagram when you’re wearing Louboutin and Zanotti but the portraits of your Atmosphere and Store Twenty-One purchases never get their day in the spotlight.
I’m no wet blanket. I’m happy when good things happen to people and get ridiculously excited when I see people living out their dreams and succeeding too! I also have no issues with people owning luxury items. If you can afford them, knock yourself out! I mean, I’d quite like to play landlady to a Chanel Boy bag myself (hi Yoruba Boy!). This is just me pointing out to the people who haven’t figured it out yet or those who have perhaps, forgotten, that what you see of people’s lives via social media is;
- what they want you to see
- a miniscule glimpse of their bigger picture
- false advertising
- all of the above
Let’s consider the possibility that life IS going really well for them (they are happy, rich, successful, in love, famous and everything else you dream of and haven’t quite managed to become) because let’s face it, fortune shines blindingly over some of us mortals. Alongside that, let’s also consider the reality that success is more often than not, the result of the shedding of sweat and blood. Whose blood (their ancestors perhaps), is irrelevant. When we see the evidence of other’s success advertised via social media, it’s worth reminding ourselves that;
- It came at a price
- Your success has a price too
- No payment, no collection
- all of the above
I know we’re considering many possibilities here but let’s also consider the possibility that most of your dreams do not come true in your lifetime. This is a likely possibility…and no, I’m not cursing you! What happens then? Does your life become a den of depression, regret, envy and lust?
The ability to find contentment regardless of the hand fate deals us is necessary, mandatory, if you will. If we live life happy when things are going well and miserable otherwise, we will soon turn into self-induced manic depressives.
The moral of this epistle is simply this; be content with what you have and where you are. By all means, aspire for better but on your way there, make the most of the here and now. You cannot stop people from advertising the best of their lives on social media (and I advocate celebrating others’ successes) but you can control your long throat so please, do yourself a favour and rein it in before it stretches to the point of no return.
Thanks and God bless.