LOVE: ‘LIKES’ COME WITH A PRICE…

IT’S A CRAZY WORLD WE LIVE IN TO­DAY, WHERE WE TAKE JOY IN KNOW­ING WHAT EV­ERY­ONE ELSE IS DO­ING VIA SO­CIAL ME­DIA. TO SOME EX­TENT, WE’RE ALL STUCK IN THIS CON­STANT GAME OF EMO­TIONAL ROULETTE EV­ERY TIME WE LOG IN. TAMMY CHAN SHARES HOW SHE LEARNT TO STOP COMP

Female (Malaysia) - - NEWS -

Are you ad­dicted to so­cial me­dia? Do you feel de­pressed when your post­ing doesn’t get enough ‘likes’? You need to read this!

We all have that one per­son whose life we can’t help but envy. For me, that per­son is Laura*. I’ve never met her, but I do know ev­ery­thing about her (or at least I think I do) from her so­cial me­dia posts. I scroll through her pic­tures, won­der­ing what it’s like to sit in a hot air bal­loon over­look­ing the sky­line of Cap­pado­cia, how tasty that plate of wagyu beef would have been in Reyk­javik and how that gor­geous pair of Valentino heels must feel as she tours Cinque Terre. Once I’m done scrolling, I lie on my bed and think about why my life is noth­ing com­pared to hers. Why don’t I drive a Range Rover? Will I ever look that good in a bikini? Why wasn’t I blessed with dim­ples so that I’ll look cute when I smile? What’s it re­ally like to be her? Like clock­work, I would then open my In­sta­gram and up­load one of the many travel pic­tures I’ve been sav­ing in my phone. I waited as the com­ments and likes came pour­ing in and within min­utes, I gained back the con­fi­dence I needed to go on with my day!

THE SAD RE­AL­ITY

I hate to ad­mit it, but my friends and I used to brain­storm the best time to post a pic­ture just to en­sure we get a good amount of likes. For ex­am­ple, if we pick the right fil­ter and post our images be­tween 7pm and 9pm, it’s ‘guar­an­teed’ that we’ll have at least 50 likes by the time the first minute is up. How­ever, if that doesn’t hap­pen, we’ll delete the pic­ture al­most in­stantly to avoid feel­ing ‘ashamed’. It’s ex­haust­ing and emo­tion­ally drain­ing cos if we don’t get the re­sponse we de­sire for the cute selfie we posted, does that mean that peo­ple think we’re ugly? Could they tell that we used a slim­ming app to make our faces look thin­ner? It’s a con­tin­u­ous cir­cle of want­ing af­fir­ma­tion from oth­ers and yet, we’re afraid of be­ing judged.

Truth be told, I’ve lived a life that I’m pretty proud of. I have a fam­ily that pam­pers me, friends who make me laugh, and a grounded up­bring­ing that I’m thank­ful for. I might not stay in five-star ho­tels ev­ery time I travel, but I got to spend two years of my life study­ing over­seas while some of my col­lege-mates couldn’t af­ford to leave the coun­try. I might not get to host the grand­est wed­ding of the year, but at least I have a fi­ancé who loves me un­con­di­tion­ally. I might not be earn­ing as much as my high-school friends who’ve since be­come lawyers, but my job perks (like meet­ing my idol David Fos­ter) are some­thing they’ll never get to ex­pe­ri­ence. I might not have the abs of a Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret model, but what mat­ters most is that I’m healthy on the inside. With that said, it’s still not easy when one is bom­barded with #woke­u­p­likethis, #cleaneat­ing, #travelgram and #rkoi images ev­ery day that make you ques­tion your self-worth.

TIME FOR A CHANGE

Face­book, In­sta­gram, LinkedIn, Twit­ter and Snapchat might have started out as medi­ums for us to com­mu­ni­cate with one another but it has since grown to be a plat­form for peo­ple to cre­ate ideal ver­sions of them­selves to pa­rade to the world. I’ve learnt things the hard way (af­ter sev­eral emo­tional break-downs) that it’s okay to have flaws and com­pare my life progress to oth­ers as long as it en­cour­ages me to strive for the bet­ter. Why are we as­sum­ing that ev­ery­one else is liv­ing a pic­ture-per­fect life when in re­al­ity they prob­a­bly had to go through 100 pic­tures be­fore they could se­lect the right one to post on In­sta­gram?

I, for one, know that I’m guilty of do­ing that. Once I learned how to take things with a grain of salt and look be­yond the well-fil­tered pic­tures, only then did I come to terms with how im­per­fect we all are.

To be hon­est, if it’s not Laura, I’ll prob­a­bly find some­one new to com­pare my­self to later on at dif­fer­ent stages of my life. So take it from me when I say that all you can do now is learn to love your­self in spite of liv­ing in a tech-ob­sessed world as that is what’s go­ing to get you places in real life.

*Name has been changed to pro­tect the pri­vacy of the in­di­vid­ual.

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