This has to be said! I’ve just re-watched a video on Facebook which I shared earlier this week in the Brit Army group. It’s a video that I really connected with and it got me thinking.
The video, summarized, was about how we share a “highlight reel” of our lives online. And about how we don’t reach out to each other and connect anymore. We assume someone is ok because they are posting happy photos online all the time. Yet, in reality, they may be miserable or struggling.
As I watched that video, I initially thought about the people around me who post all the time. I started to wonder what was really going on with them. And I really do hope they’re happy with their life as it is. But, then I got to thinking about myself. I started to think about the times I’d posted selfies with filters to make myself feel better. And the times I posted inspirational quotes because they were what I needed at the time.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found I look at other people’s posts sometimes and think, “wow, that person lives an awesome life!” You know those ones, where they ‘always’ seem to dress up and go out. They seem to ‘always’ be buying new things or travelling somewhere new. I’ve caught myself thinking about how they seem to have so much going on.
There’s nothing wrong with how they live their life, of course! More power to them, so long as they are genuinely happy. But, what is wrong with that thinking, is that in thinking that way, I would start to feel like I’m missing out. Like my life isn’t sufficient anymore. I start to think about what I could have or what I should be doing. These are not healthy thoughts. Because, well, it’s jealousy for starters. But, also because it can lead to feeling sad or depressed.
It’s crazy how something as simple as posting happy pictures can have such an impact. The person posting the pictures may be covering up what’s really going on with them. The person looking at the pictures isn’t getting the full picture either.
Mental health is a complex thing that is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be overlooked, though, because the mind is very powerful. We often take things at face value. “They seem so happy in their post last night!” we might say, but that photo is literally a snapshot in time. The very next second after that shot was taken, their smile may have disappeared. We simply don’t know unless we are there with them at that time.
There really needs to be more done about mental health. Particularly in a world full of ‘fake news’ and filters, it’s getting more difficult to truly know what’s real and what is not.
We spend so much time on social media these days that the lines between reality and the online world are being blurred. People are forgetting how to connect. It’s no wonder that there is an increase in mental health issues around the globe today. People would rather send a text than make a phone call, or even meet in person. It makes us nervous to be real and share what’s really going on in our hearts and minds. So, we pick the easier solution and connect via social media.
It amuses me because people see my social media, they see me wrestling, or running workshops and say to me things like, “wow, I wish I had your confidence”. But, I’m not that confident, really. The thing is, what you don’t see is the amount of effort I’ve put into giving the perception of being confident. Sometimes, it takes great amounts of caffeine to get the nerve to even get going. Most days, I’m really not that confident at all.
I tend to be the one at the party hiding in the corner trying not to be noticed. I’m the one who goes to the gym when no one else is there because I’m not comfortable with small talk. I may appear confident on the outside, but often, my palms are sweaty. My heart is racing and I’m doing everything I can to not cry because I’m that nervous.
It just goes to show, what we see online isn’t necessarily what’s really going on. Also, in reality, some people are good at putting on poker faces. It’s not until we truly connect with each other and take the time to get to know each other that we really know what’s going on. But, being able to connect with each other, without technology to aid us, seems to be getting more and more difficult.
I’m not completely against social media. It’s absolutely a great way to connect with friends and family around the globe. But, don’t forget to connect with people in the real world too. It’s good for your soul, and for your sanity. If you haven’t heard from someone in a while, reach out and say hi. Catch up with an old friend for coffee. It may feel difficult, but the effort will be worth it. And, hey, I’m always down for a coffee if you ever need a friend.