Per­cep­tions of per­fec­tion

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Fitness -

IN TO­DAY’S world we are in­un­dated with in­for­ma­tion. Whether it’s about peo­ple, places or things, we have ac­cess to data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While this sounds great in the­ory, should we dig a lit­tle deeper to val­i­date the source? Do we ask where it comes from? Do we even care any­more? In this in­for­ma­tion age, step­ping back to get some per­spec­tive on what we are con­sum­ing can im­pact how we re­act to in­for­ma­tion when it is pre­sented to us.

Let’s face it, as a so­ci­ety we are ob­sessed with our phones. We try to con­vince our­selves that it’s nec­es­sary, as the phone is the key provider of in­stan­ta­neous news and up­dates. The truth is, we need to aban­don this false nar­ra­tive that con­sum­ing me­dia equals stay­ing in­formed. That’s not why we do it, most of the time. It’s be­cause we are ad­dicted to it. It’s also the fear of miss­ing out, or ‘FOMO’ to the younger gen­er­a­tion.

A re­cent British study re­vealed the av­er­age smart­phone user clicks, taps or swipes on their phone 2,617 times a day. But wait for it, there’s more — the top 10% of phone users are guilty of more than 5,000 in­ter­ac­tions with their phone daily. And yet we of­ten com­plain that we can’t find 20-30 min­utes in a day to ex­er­cise.

We have been in­tro­duced in re­cent years to the phe­nom­e­non that is so­cial me­dia. So­cial me­dia can some­times feel like a num­bers game, but at the end of the day, it should be a tool we use to sim­ply com­mu­ni­cate. Why then do we be­come so con­cerned with how many peo­ple like our posts, how many new fol­low­ers we have, or how many views our videos re­ceive?

Wor­ry­ingly, the lines be­tween re­al­ity and the ‘so­cial me­dia world’ are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly blurred. For younger peo­ple, es­pe­cially, it is im­por­tant to re­alise that so­cial me­dia can cre­ate a false sense of re­al­ity. The dark side of so­cial me­dia re­lates to the per­cep­tion of per­fec­tion.

Many of us are guilty of it, for ex­am­ple tak­ing 27 self­ies to find the “right an­gle” that shows us in the best light.

From fab­u­lous meals to dream get­aways; In­sta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter are filled with the “sen­sa­tional” ver­sion of ev­ery­thing. How­ever, it’s only a por­tion of the story. Take so­cial me­dia for what it’s worth and un­der­stand that be­hind the per­fec­tion are flaws. Re­mem­ber a per­son’s so­cial me­dia page shows their high­lights reel, you do not get to see be­hind the scenes.

The ease with which we can edit and ma­nip­u­late our so­cial me­dia ac­counts proves that any of these sites al­low us to cre­ate a ver­sion of our­selves, to how we want to be seen, a false per­cep­tion if you will. We do so, to in­crease that feel­ing of ac­cep­tance or some­times self-worth and it’s in­trin­si­cally linked with the num­ber of likes and fol­low­ers gained on our so­cial plat­forms. Don’t mix up who you are, with your ‘so­cial me­dia self’. Do not take so­cial me­dia val­i­da­tion as a sign of your value, worth or your con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety.

Some­times we can be­come over­whelmed by so­cial me­dia and the con­stant pres­sure to be per­fect. We can also be­come frus­trated with our so­cial me­dia pres­ence, want­ing more fol­low­ers and no­ti­fi­ca­tions. If this arises, take a breather. Some­times we all need to step back from the so­cial me­dia world and live purely in the real world.

Per­son­ally, I wish every­one would post a lit­tle more about their chal­lenges and their ‘not so good days’ too. We see all the amaz­ing mo­ments, but it’s only a snip­pet of the truth. Be­hind the fab­u­lous hol­i­day was the hours of pack­ing, fight­ing with the other half at the air­port, de­layed flights, crap meals and over­priced ho­tel rooms. These are the in-be­tween mo­ments that we rarely post about.

Per­spec­tive is how you see the world, per­cep­tion is how the world sees you. Get some per­spec­tive on what is im­por­tant — be­ing your real self.

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