We live in an age where everything is instant and everything is too much. We live in a self-centered world where we think more of ourselves and too little of others. Throw in social media sites and their huge influence in our culture and behavior, cultivating to egocentric narcissist and selfish individuals. We have such an attention-starved culture that we breathe and live Facebook and Instagram. We base our worth by the number of followers or subscribers we have. We feel liked by getting one too many likes & we measure our sense of worth by the number of retweets we get or followers we have. We feed into generation’s entitlement and incessant need for validation and approval, and nonetheless constant judgment. Here are the things we become when we are too obsessed with ourselves and when we are found to be in a passive consumption in other people’s lives. This isn’t just for the 20-somethings, the struggling millennials who are described as technology-driven, easily-offended, often offensive, over-analyzing generation. This list that I have come up with from my readings and research hits the spot and reveals the things that we don’t know about ourselves, or maybe we do but we are afraid of admitting it. Welcome to the Me Me Me generation.
1. Never compare - You are not the summation of your comparisons to other people. From what i read in Thought Catalog, we feel a sense of inadequacy whenever we compare our behind-the-scenes with the highlights of other people’s lives. People’s peak experiences feature your lack in that moment. We feel substandard to the status updates, engagement photos and all the parties your friends attend. But keep in mind that no one posts struggles or problems they’re dealing with. So the need to post these Twitter status or Instagram videos and share these feelings too is a need for affirmation and a way to move past insecurity.
I have learned not to announce and post everything that’s going on in my life. And just because your life doesn’t look like someone else’s doesn’t mean it’s less than theirs.
2. Stay classy not trashy – Girls, I am not a nun (no pun intended) but i always pin this in mind – Carry yourself with class. It’s true, respect for ourselves guides manners and respect for others breeds morals. According to Elite Daily, no one needs to see you in sports bra showing off your abs or bikini-clad showing off your curves. As Emma Watson has said, “Leave something to the imagination”. It’s true, our icons used to be Audrey Hepburn & Grace Kelly, now it’s Miley Cyrus & the Kardashians. If you don’t think your parents, children or boss should see it, then don’t post it.
I have nothing against #ootd that people (mostly girls) post everyday all over our social networking sites. It has become acceptable and less annoying than a selfie. Sartorial choices serve as an inspiration for the many. But striking a pose in a lacy little number or skimpy bikini is a whole other level. Why do these girls want to sext the world? I have read from a write-up that the temporary thrill that made you feel sexy and popular might damage your future career or relationships. Its true, no one bashed Miranda Kerr for being a Victoria Secret angel but the difference is that you’re stripping for free – or worse for “likes”. Stop being so self-involved and self-absorbed, there are bigger and more important things in life.
3. Never flaunt your money – I have read this quote saying, “It is the preoccupation with possessions that prevents us from living nobly”. Admit it, we take photos of our Louboutins, our latest gadgets, our flashy sports car. We aren’t a definition of the things we have or the things we acquire. The red-carpet, glossy world has become a materialistic competition. Everything becomes shallow and we live in a credit card debt because of our need for these luxury items that shouts our status quo. Sometimes it’s better to invest in experiences rather than material things that don’t really last. Don’t also pretend than you have a transparent, fictional, improved lives when you don’t.
4. Enjoy fully – Thought Catalog says, if your life has become more about going out to take photos and show to the world all of the great, fun things you’re doing because you want to show people what a great fun person you are, it is time to reevaluate. Life should be for living, enjoying, experiencing and growing, not proving to other people that you’re doing all of those things. Aside from celebrating your own face and lunch, Instagram is now used for bragging about your social life. You want to make sure everyone knows that you’re at a dimly-lit bar on a Friday night getting sloshed with all your beautiful friends who won’t sit still. Or be a true anachronism by leaving your phone in your pocket and simply have a good time. Trust me, it will be exhausting to put up a show. (Disclaimer: It is not wrong to take a few snaps when you’re having fun but never let it eat all your time because i, myself, love to record moments too)
Climb the mountains so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.
I have this itch before to post a photo in Instagram at least one per day but sometimes it does ruin the fun when i can’t do so in an event or when doing something interesting, thus i can’t live in the present. Imagine walking along a beautiful beach and all you can ever think of is the best angle and location to take tons of photos, ending up in a pile of same shots. Those countless attempts to take the perfect Instagram photo following that up by carefully concocted filters and edit features take entirely too much time and effort. Meals go cold, sights go unseen and moments pass by. Social media sometimes stops us from focusing on our own individual paths and prevents us from being grateful. Do me a favor, drop down your phone and live your life.
5. Choose your battles – You don’t have to engage in every hate comment haters post to your photo or blog entry. I have always had a hard time just shrugging off nasty comments or remarks people make about me, online and in real life. If haters hurt people closest to me, that’s when i bring out my sword but when they are on a hating spree on me, i try to keep silent because i know myself better. Kill them with kindness and it is better not to stoop down to their level. People will always have something to say about your actions or decisions in life. It will always be accompanied with due criticism and judgment. Don’t feed nor respond to the haters’ negativity and complaints. Deal with them like a mature adult. Don’t give them the attention that they are looking for. The world we live in today has bred a large generation of haters that bring others down so that they can feel good about themselves. And lastly, weed out those who are good for you and who aren’t.
6. Unfollow & Unsubscribe – I have read and i have experienced that we feel guilt whenever we cut someone off. But it is also true that it is unhealthy to be stringed to the people in our past. I fully agree to what Thought Catalog has said in an article, we simply don’t need to know what everyone else is up to. Cut the rope. That’s why there’s an unfollow or unfriend (or even block) button. You can always unfollow those who post an entire album in their Instagram account with a minute (yes a minute or less!!) interval. Or those who store in their hard drive regular party photos from last year ready to post on #ThrowbackThursday.
And of course, loyalty doesn’t equate to liking everything your friends post. I have learned that it’s better to have a few true friends than a hundred that you can’t trust. It has never been easy to cut off relationships in real life (tbh it’s easier online) but when they do nothing but hurt you, it is the best thing you can do for yourself.
7. #Selfie – According to NY Daily News, too many selfies can alienate or damage your closest relationships. They said that the ratio of your selfies you take to regular insta-fodder (Starbucks, ootd, skyline, ramen, pets) is a social signal of your mental state. And hashtags have become the easiest way for you to express your feelings. It takes you stressful consideration and spend double digit minutes on what’s the best filter to use. You have this constant need for dopamine (“someone liked my photo!”) when someone liked your selfie or profile picture. We are so self-involved that we promote and market ourselves in a way that we want to, filtered and edited (because truth is, we don’t want to let the world see the less-flattering version of us).
According to Time magazine, the Me Me Me generation are entitled, lazy, selfish, shallow and overconfident. Here’s the cold hard data that they presented: The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now us, or older (National Institute of Health). They are fame-obsessed with higher rates of narcissism, materialism and technology addiction in their ghetto-fabulous lives. But it also turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great in keeping a job or relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, i love Instagram but sometimes it gets too far. I have read from dailymail.co.uk that broadcasting how great your lives are creates feelings of green eye to your peers and liking images or seeking likes means you are getting approval from your peers. It was said that Instagram (dubbed as the Instagram envy effect) is the most depressing social network because it’s the easiest way to show-off by providing an isolated snapshot in time. Hanna Krasnova of Humboldt University Berlin claims, ’You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich, and successful from a photo than from a status update’. She adds, ‘If you see beautiful photos of your friend on Instagram, one way to compensate is to self-present with even better photos, and then your friend sees your photos and posts even better photos, and so on’. Facebook-bragging, on the other hand, can make you feel socially isolated and miserable because of the envy it induces from achievements, social events, material possessions and the like that are posted (showing you have a perfectly crafted life). Likes and comments are said to be the most important in driving the self-esteem effects.
Self-promotion triggers more self-promotion, and the world on social media gets further and further from reality.
According to Relevant magazine, The danger of the Internet is that it’s very very easy to tell partial truths (decide what people see and what they don’t)—to show the fabulous meal but not the mess to clean up afterward. To display the smiling couple-shot, but not the fight you had three days ago. To offer up the sparkly milestones but not the spiraling meltdowns. This is a sad truth for most people: “I gave up Facebook for Lent, and I realized I’m a lot happier without it.” Or like this, “Pinterest makes me hate my house.” Or like this: “I stopped following a friend on Instagram, and now that I don’t see nonstop snapshots of her perfect life, I like her better.”. You trigger the resentment and envy effect when you are bored or lonely because obviously, you won’t be checking your phone when you are in labor, or laughing with friends, or having the time of your life with your significant other.
Before you pull the “hypocrisy” card on me, I’m going on record to say that I will continue to post heavily-filtered photos of my food, adventures, family, friends, trees, (god no, not #selfies) and other musings to chronicle my daily life. A lot of us are guilty of these things, myself included (I actually wrote this as a reminder for myself haha). I’m not anti-technology or anti-internet. Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. But sometimes i prefer actual table talks that go beyond the 140 character limit or carefully curated photos. I am a writer and an artist (to be honest, a struggling one). I use Instagram (not daily anymore because i have a love-hate relationship with it), Twitter, Facebook and my blog to express myself and connect to other people. But most things in life are good in amounts of moderation and the best things aren’t captured in photos or in status updates (the things we don’t really share like a bad hair day or a messy countertop). Sometimes i have nothing to offer (I used to feel bad for this like most of you for sure), sometimes i do. Basically, i’m not doing it for shit ton of likes or just to make my friends jealous, rather i’m creating an art or a story that really last a lifetime. I live (online, so to speak) in a creative community and partial-truths of other people’s lives is just a glass half-full, half-empty for me.
What i presented were just facts from researches and you can take it with a grain of salt, or not. Basically, it’s the truth that we live in. But it all depends on how we use social media and how we see it. For me, i see it as a medium to lose or find myself (in writing per se), a tool to inspire people, and a way to reach out to different cultures, race or religions from all parts of the world. We are the millenials and our use of social media depends upon us if it will make you incredibly insecure about your own lives or if it will inspire & influence you to create a better community – filtered or not.
Photo from The Huffington Post