Happiness Project: Staying Quiet on a Noisy Cyberspace

At some point of our lives we all wanted to get recognition and get appreciated. Even a simplest gesture can provide an assurance of appreciation. In this time and age, people wanted to be seen and recognized. It is easy to know because of the current flood of social media status that details out every remarkable moment we can share or wanted people to know. We are more opinionated and more informed compared to few decades back because of fast-paced and advanced technology.

Looking back I am also fond of social media (and I won’t deny it). I have different accounts for my postings and musings. I used to post even the nonsense status and my travel pictures chronicling my so-called single life and I had to admit I do get a different kind of rush before while posting new pictures of my new escapades with friends. Now remembering those statuses and even the crazy pictures, I sometimes asked myself what the hell I was thinking during those times to put those sordid tidbits of my life out of spite with someone or something. To be honest, I cringe re-reading my previous statuses because it was a total nonsense. In my previous entries, I have stated that part of my happiness project for this year is to limit my social media browsing and posting which I did at first quarter of the year. I still post pictures and happenings but not on a daily basis. I still love to read on articles and posting it on my status. I still maintain my accounts but I seldom browse my accounts and only on a need basis only. Or I stay online but never bothered to browse my feeds. Why?

First reason is distraction. I have a lot of things to do and as a full time working mom; I have my responsibilities at home and at work. Stress and tasks can pile up if I don’t monitor my activities within the week. Even the late arrival in the office can have a significant impact on my whole week schedule because I need to adjust my pre-planned schedule and make up for the lost time accumulated in traffic. The adjustments has a domino effect on the slide of scheduled tasks across the week. I already vowed that weekday nights after office and weekends are reserved for bonding with my son and our activities so that I am still able to teach him even I am working. It is my personal resolve not to waste few precious times with my son. Most of our weekends are spent outside the house. It’s either we go to our favorite hangout or just having fun riding the bikes and jogging with my son around our neighborhood. In my alone time, I enjoyed reading a good book or watching my favorite movie just to de-stress. In short, I want to “switch off” on social media on weekends.

Second reason is the temptation. Social media became a haven for all kinds of marketing and commercialism to hook people on different products, services and advocacies. It entices you to buy even at times when you do not need it because you see it on someone else or a lot people are doing or using a certain products and services. It is common to have these scenarios in FB and Instagram:

Instagram pic: new Iphone #veryblessed #thankyouApple #newphonetoexplore #newbaby

Facebook pic: Shopping spree at Hongkong #blessed #moreshopping #outletstores #branded #thankyouCitibank

Instagram pic: Delicious dinner #foodie #newrestauranttolove #foodtrip #foodporn #ilovefood

Facebook pic: Travel pictures in Boracay with friends (this is the LIFE!)

Instagram pic: Thank you hubby for the new bags #chanel #gucci #lv #blessed

Sometimes the images found is social media is tempting and makes you question yourself, why they can acquire products and services, while I can’t? And since you believe that you have the capacity and cash including debit and credit cards to acquire additional stuff and experiences, then here comes the next resolve of putting it in your list to do the following: Buy a new Iphone even if you have a reliable phone that is still working, book a flight to Hongkong and live like it’s gonna be your last day on Earth, go to the most reviewed / pictured restaurant so you can have a sample of their food and post it on Instagram too, go to Boracay because you believed that all people have already partied and swam in Boracay and asked your hubby or boyfriend to buy you the latest bag because it is the most “IN” or fashionable item of the year. The different pictures produce an indefinite of temptation of wanting new things or experiences. There is nothing wrong with wanting and aiming for things and experiences as part of our growth and learning especially if we can fully afford it but it will be another story if it’s gonna cost us an arm and leg or a humongous debts just wanting to be seen or stay relevant in the social media. Sometimes the temptations in FB, Instagram and other social media accounts stirs our emotions to get jealous or envy other people for their different experiences or items we see on their feeds. This causes us to feel bad about ourselves even though there are so many reasons to thank God for our blessings. The needs versus wants mantra became unbalance that it all became WANTS because of temptations. If we don’t watch out the temptations, it will bury us in the pile of debts, misery and worry because of never ending jealousy or “I want to have that” attitude found in the different social media feeds.

Lastly is comparison. Ever since I was younger I hated the fact to be compared with other person or individual. Even in my younger years I have a strong sense of resolve that I don’t thrive on comparison and rather perform on what I think is the best I could exert. It’s cool to have lots of nice friends, relatives and co-workers sharing pictures and stories in social media but sometimes it could cause comparison with other people on why goals and plans did not push through and why it is so unfair that a certain friend has more cooler experiences or posts in the social media. The feeling of comparison can eat us away especially now that there is lots of stuff you can see and even start questioning yourself and your capacity such as:

Why is he able to travel to Europe and living the life?

How cool that they were able to migrate in UAE with their family? How lucky they must be!

Should I have enrolled my son in an expensive private school like my friend?

What is wrong with my kids? Why can’t they look cool in my FB while the rest of my friends clothed their kids in their most expensive garb, while my kids are in their diapers?

Am I a bad mother because I don’t follow the norm? (Feeling guilty 100x)

I should have tried that pre-school activity that they were doing; it must be cool to do that with my kids.

She is already taking lead roles while I am just staying here at home and taking care of my child

It is so unfair that he is always being sent out overseas for business trips while I am slaving away on my personal desk day to day.

Why does she look good on her pictures? I should have tried fixing my hair and get that facials. Or wait, maybe I could buy another set of make-up and clothes to perk up my look?

The list could go on forever and yet the comparison never ends. The social media influences us to sometimes question our thoughts and choices in life. What-ifs and regrets are piling up because we end up on doing comparisons on what we see in FB and Instagram. The temptation and comparison sometimes go hand in hand. When we compare ourselves and start to give in to temptations, we sorely assume that our wants will be satisfied. Sometimes you feel bad about yourself because you feel like you were inadequate or incapable of doing or achieving things other people do. We tend to forgot how to be appreciative of the present blessings and grateful for the things that we have or experienced. The comparison makes us guilty, unsatisfied, ungrateful and even resorting to making sure we are at par or better with someone or something. But when we analyzed the situations above, did we even consider the actual situation or the story behind the pictures in social media? Like when we see people travelling to different places or migrating to different locations, promotions, new looks, shopping loots, advocacy, motherhood and parenting did we even know how they are in reality? The social media can paint different interpretations and only capture what’s in the image but have we ever considered that it can mask and twist the actual situation and reality.

Despite the distraction, temptation and comparison, social media has also advantages. It can help us keep in touch with friends and relatives connect with other people and flourish our business through marketing and advertisement and push the advocacies or opinions that we believe. But do remember this: Social Media is not the real life. In social media, we can post whatever we want to say or what we want other people to see. Social media became our platform to be discovered and be seen. Social media became our outlet and stage for presenting the ideal life we wanted. In short, it can be a personal stage / podium / medium we can edit, decorate, filter, update and post. We can easily create a make-believe reality and fantasy we want to weave in our profiles so that we look and feel good including the hundred “likes” we garner from our connections.

Few weeks ago, I have read an article that too much exposure to social media can cause depression and insecurity. We harbor ill feelings because we keep on comparing or wishing we have stuff we see on the social media. Always remember this, the best experiences and acquisitions are not seen best via social media feeds but on our very own eyesight. So appreciate those snuggle moments or best smiles with our kids, personal achievements, goals met, DIY activities in the house which does not always necessary required to be captured by camera lens and phone lens. Best moments are etched in our own memories not on Ipad, PC or phone memory. So enjoy those private moments and get real. Live life the way we see it. Life is not all about captured images and Pinteresty worthy moments, but enjoying what God has provided and blessed us. Hashtagging “thank you Lord” or “soooblessed” does not equate on thanking and talking to God directly, go to a quiet room or bedroom and silently thank God for his provisions and blessings. Staying quiet on a noisy cyberspace is really a challenge but choose to take the path where life is real and not make-believe.


Note: Picture not mine! Taken at social media feed 😀