BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Sometimes I think that we have too much time on our hands. Even though technology has amplified our societal, economic and familial obligations, we still have time. Time to scroll, to watch, to consume. Most of the time other people and their lives manage to consume our own, as we endlessly judge through their feeds. Social media has birthed a culture of superficiality, making us less forgiving of perceived faults. It has invited intolerant reactions and foolish reprimands.
I’ve made a conscious effort to frequently disconnect because regularly ingesting and engaging with social media makes me less humane. This might read dramatic, but I’ve realized it’s tapered my sensitivities, peaking my receptivity to surface-reaction.
It doesn’t allow me to see beyond a photo, or a post. I feel a need to read in-between non-existent lines, and to nitpick when there is nothing left to examine. I truly don’t believe that I am judgemental by nature. Sure, it might seem like a frivolous self-statement, but social media taps into these grey areas of disposition that aren’t always positive.
The good news is that we are becoming more mindful of social media and its influence. The problem is that we are fixated by the immediacy of its gratification.
But what I’ve learned from frequently staying offline is that people are easily duped by fallacy. Choices like a woman’s desire to wear makeup are deconstructed and micro analyzed to shame her. It’s these sort of notions that I stray from by disconnecting.
Being authentic doesn’t require disconnecting from social media by any means. But it definitely helps to regain your grounded self.
The prerequisites of beauty are constantly bombarding social media scrolls. Social media has almost elicited a culture of self-obsession and unhealthy rumination. Online personas who use rudeness under the guise of comedy are alarming and deeply unhealthy.
If more people were honest about their lives and what’s really going on behind the screen, people wouldn’t face unhealthy pressures to always be okay. So much of our experiences are based on seeking validation through our social media constructs.
Perfect meals, relationships, jobs, lifestyles. We sum up our worth in a highly contrived status or photo. That’s not reality; it’s a portrayal of reality. And it’s not only those who are actively engaged in social media, but also bystanders who may not be active or online. Nonetheless, the knowingly, or unknowingly ascribe to those ideals. The one take-away I hope to lend is to embrace reality for the imperfections it presents. Alas, that is life.
We live in a time where we expect to celebrate and receive validation for every aspect of our lives: a meal, an outfit, a vacation. I want to remind people that life is real. It is messy and happens organically behind the screen – and that is as worthy of celebration as getting your “dream” job, or being proposed to. It is perfectly normal to fail because it means you are trying. It is okay to face rejection because it builds resilience. It is okay. That’s what we must remember. We are okay. We are enough.
At the risk of preaching, I can only speak for myself and the experience I had disconnecting from social media.
Offline, I am just living, feeling, experiencing the moment and my truest feelings. No filter. No autocorrect. No pretences.