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
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.