Saw a video being circulated on Facebook about how posting too much about your relationship online could ruin it, and it made me cry like a baby.
As someone who has spent many years documenting her life online for those who are interested to read it, I can wholeheartedly relate to this story. I used to share every last bit and detail of my personal life on my blog and social media. How I met the guy, what we would do on our dates, even when we had big fights and problems.. I was so glad I found love, and I was ready to show the world just how lucky I was.
At first it was simply to share my joy online, but after awhile, it felt like a parade. It eventually exploded into a full blown self-obsession.
I guess with many things on social media, it’s often a facade. Things are never quite what they seem. But when it comes to relationships, pretending to be happy when you’re actually not is the fucking worst. I’ve had more girls than I can count enthusiastically tell me how envious they were of the relationship I had.
I didn’t know it then, but that put even more pressure on me to have a great relationship. One that was not only great to experience, but to read about. It was a main feature of my life. You have no idea what went on behind closed doors. You don’t know how many times I’ve smiled and posed for a photo for the sake of taking a nice shot, when deep inside, I wasn’t happy at all. And yet, the show must go on.
Or, does it? What happens when the lights come on and there’s no audience there to cheer you on but just you and yourself in your own raw, miserable form?
Looking back on the special memories I’ve posted online in recent years, sometimes I wish I didn’t bring my camera and phone along. Maybe then, I could’ve been in the moment entirely instead of worrying about the composition / filter of my photos and what caption I was going to put next on Instagram. Capturing it with my heart should have been enough. I can tell you that no matter how effortless some girls make it look, appearing glamorous on Instagram is a full time job.
Social media can be a life leech if you’re not careful with it. By itself, social media is a wonderful and inspiring thing, but boy is it dangerous. It can work really unhealthy ideas, comparison and powerful manipulation into your head. Social media posts from your peers may be about them, and not you, but somehow they find a way to subtly tell you, “this is what your life is supposed to be like.”
Too many times I was taking repeated photos of a special moment instead of enjoying it, too many dinners with people spent chatting online or surfing the net on my phone instead. I have been told off repeatedly by family members and loved ones about this. For this, I am ashamed.
But I’m glad I’m not quite like that anymore. I want to be the sort of person who has enough self control, respect and maturity to put my phone down long enough to look my companion in the eye, whoever it may be, and really listen to what they have to say. Whatever it is you have on your phone, it can wait for later. You owe more to the people you spend time with in real life than anyone online.
I have finally learned through the hardest way to experience something cool without shouting all about it, and realizing that my own validation of my happiness is good enough for me. It’s nice if the rest of the world approves, but even if they don’t, that does not matter at the end of the day. I guess this is what it means when they say, “disconnect to connect”.
A very difficult lesson in the life of a social media addict. I hope I will always remember that the reason why I love posting my thoughts and experiences online is because I genuinely enjoy sharing information and ideas with other people, and not because I thrive off the self esteem boost from every “Like” I get for my posts.
My own “Like” should be enough.