Before you read this, just know this isn’t meant to be a complete generalization of the world. It’s just a very obvious observation of the world that surrounds me. Please, watch this video before continuing to read on here.
I came across this video the other night and its mantra has been playing in my head over and over since. It’s a concept that I’ve been struggling with trying to control in my own life for quite some time, and as much as it bothers me that we spend so much time worrying over it, I still can’t quite let go.
We, as a society of millennials, are so enthralled and fascinated with the idea of fantasizing our lives on social media that we forget to make the allusions we create online into a real fantasy in our own lives. We allude to the happiness, success and love in our lives, but do we actually feel happy? Do we actually have success from hard work? Do we actually receive and more importantly, give out love?
Self-promotion has taken the place of experiencing the world in the present. Instead of sharing a special moment with a special person, we share that moment with the world. It’s not so special anymore, is it?
I found myself the other day explaining to my boyfriend the popularity of a certain well-known gentleman at my university. I started off the validation of my statement with the ridiculous, albeit impressive, amount of “likes” he receives on virtually anything he posts on any platform of social media. My boyfriend looked at me and said, “This country is absurd.”
He was so shocked that I began explaining how awesome the specific guy was by proving how many “likes” he receives on a daily basis. Not by how charismatic or philanthropic or generous or humorous he is, but by how many “likes” he got on his last picture. Is this what we have come to these days?
I think about the many times I’ve gone to a restaurant with friends and nothing has been said for nearly five minutes because we are all on our phones. I’ve been in the movies and looked over to laugh with a friend and she missed the joke because she was scrolling through Facebook for the thousandth time that day. I’ve had moments where my boyfriend has said something so sincerely kind to me and I didn’t even answer because I didn’t hear him. Why? Because I was on my phone. Now looking back at the few moments I have left with him before he moves back home to Australia, I think to myself, were those seconds reading a status about someone I don’t even like worth missing out on a single kind sentence from my boyfriend, not via Skype or text message, but the rarity of being in person with him?
How many moments of opportunity have been lost because we are so obsessed with our online lives instead of being obsessed with our actual lives?
The line in the video that keeps replaying in my mind is “Look up.” I look back to the moment where I met my boyfriend for the first time in the dark, little pub in Dublin, Ireland. Had I had WiFi, would I have even noticed he was sitting at the edge of the bar with his friend? Would I have been aware of my surroundings and made eye contact with the love of my life? Would I have met him but then turned him off with my constant usage of the technological shackles that seem restrain our present social life?
It took one moment of eye contact, one interpersonal, nonverbal form of communication, for him to get the courage to walk over to talk to me. And here we are, five months later, with him living in the U.S. for three months and me about to move over to Sydney with him. Although I can’t take the credit being it was not quite my decision to go without service, all it took was to look up, and my life had been turned upside down.
My favorite quote from the whole video is this: “Give people your love. Don’t give them your ‘like.’” Show the people that surround you, support you and love you that you care about them. Not by “liking” every picture they post, but by telling them in person.
This is my advice to myself. Take it if you want.
Look up. Stop alluding to the world that you’re happy. Go out in the world and be happy.
I hope one day that this phenomena of personal satisfaction via online popularity approval will cease to be a phenomena, let alone an issue at all. Will I ever give up my Facebook or Instagram or Twitter? Probably not, but the least I can do for myself and for my loved ones around me is to look up.
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