Hello Internet Peoples! I trust you’re all feeling as feisty and fabulous as ever today.
Tonight, I’m not discussing my tea of the month, nor what I’ve been up to throughout April/May (although I promise I will get back to these things soon!). This post’s inspiration comes from deep-rooted thoughts that have been playing over and over in my mind a lot recently, and I’m not really sure how they’re going to manifest themselves within these words, or if I can find the right words to express my feelings right now. But alas, I shall try.
Tonight, I want to discuss… well, I’m not sure exactly what. I can’t pinpoint one set word or phrase that would sum it all up. Maybe you could decide for me?
As much as it pains me sometimes, social media has undoubtedly become the platform by which we connect with the people in our lives most frequently. And it is fabulous, and terrible. Fabulous, in that we can see how our friends move through life, growing, achieving and succeeding. But terrible, in that we’re all glued to computer screens and mobile phones, not “living for the moment” anymore, and we compare ourselves too much to the people around us, because the lives that we share via social media are constructed- not reality. But we know these things. Then again, we forget these things.
Earlier today, I was thinking about a conversation I had with a friend, who was incessantly ranting about a girl who followed her on Instagram for “always liking her photos”. The girl in question was a few years below them at school, and thus didn’t really know my friend. But what’s wrong with that? She looks up to you because you’re older! Be grateful she wasn’t spouting hate about you, perhaps? So she takes a moment of her time to show you that she thinks you look nice, or that she appreciates what you’re into. I think that’s really sweet.
Another thing. Personally, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to keep up to date with what my family and friends are posting on social media. Maybe I don’t like every single thing they share or upload (because I don’t want them to think I’m grooming them :S), but I try to show that I’m interested in what they’re up to. I make a conscious effort to show I care. Maybe you could argue that “liking” something isn’t really caring, but in a world is oh so technology-orientated, maybe it is?
However, about 73% of the time (I didn’t do the maths because I got my B at GCSE and that’s all I’ll ever need?), the effort I put into my relationships with other people is most certainly not reciprocated. And there’s nothing worse than things which go unreciprocated *clears throat nervously*. I’m not saying that in a looking-for-sympathy kind of way, because I know I’m not alone in feeling like this. But perhaps we’re all just waiting for attention or acknowledgement from people who are never going to return it. So why do we keep trying so hard? Are these people even worth our time?
What I’m really trying to get across is this- there are people around us going through all sorts of different things. People who are physically or mentally ill, people who are alone or afraid, people who want to give up. Yet we don’t know, because while we have these fabulous, filtered, flawless lives on social media. It’s all a guise. Cleverly-veiled and edited to show the highlights, and none of the lows, because people rush to our sides to celebrate in our success, but are nowhere to be seen when we falter and stumble.
I know so many beautifully-talented, tortured souls. People who can write captivating poetry and music, play instruments so beautifully, paint pictures so vivid you wouldn’t believe they were painted, make stunning films that give you goosebumps. And they’re all so talented, and yet so vulnerable. They expose their souls for the world to see, and they get no recognition. Meanwhile, the popular kid gets 200 likes on their latest Instagram post, because they’re popular. They make their voice heard because they can shout louder, NOT because they have more right to speak.
It’s so easy to feel lonely in this world.
I don’t want to be cringey and start talking about anyone’s “battle” or “journey”. But we’re all so busy editing our cyber-lives, we keep forgetting that behind these perfect pictures, there’s a real person, who is going through life, with it’s full range of emotions and challenges. And maybe that person is okay today, but then maybe they don’t feel so great right now. But we never know.
I try to show interest in what the people around me are doing, because I want them to feel appreciated, and cared for. Even if it’s just liking their latest profile picture, or leaving a comment to tell them how lovely they look, I’m doing it to show them that in that moment, I was thinking about them. I just want them to know I care! I understand that not everybody needs this kind of support all the time, but there are people who do need a little pick me up, and if I can be the one to brighten up their day? Fabulous!
Let’s quickly clear some things up- I’m not saying that you shouldn’t like what popular people do; just don’t follow the crowd. Be your own creative little soul. And don’t feel afraid to be different! I’m not saying that paying one person a compliment is going to change their life; for someone else who’s been feeling really awful, however, it might be the little spark they needed to re-electrify their life.
To sum it all up (or at least, to try), here’s what I’ve learned. The internet allows us to showcase our perfect life. No one knows what goes on beyond life logged-out of Facebook; we couldn’t possibly show that! So even if someone doesn’t seem to be struggling, show them that you’re there regardless. Be someone who reciprocates, spread the love. Maybe it’s too awkward to have that “Hey, is everything okay?” conversation with someone because you feel as though you don’t know them well enough, but there are more ways to manifest your presence than that.
This has quickly turned into a rant… Let’s call it stream of consciousness, eh?
MY AIM for the 2015 was to reconnect. To open up to new people, to rekindle friendships that had temporarily vanished. I believe I am doing this, and it feels awesome. I encourage you to do the same- be present. Prove to the people around you that you’re still listening, seeing, and caring.