All the way back in Daily Blog #20 (which you can check out here) I mentioned that I’m currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It really is a great book and I can see why it’s so highly regarded.
Another quote that cropped up last night as I was doing my nightly wind down that I want to share:
Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.
What a bloody great quote, and the sentiment behind it is pretty powerful; if more of us could remember this and base our actions off it, mental health issues would just plummet across the world.
It got me thinking though, and for today I actually want to discuss something that’s slightly tangential to it. Let’s pretend that the quote actually read like this:
Any effort that has external self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.
I actually think this amended quote sums up social media perfectly, something which I have a very low opinion of.
In theory, social media is a great thing. It builds connections, contact, and interaction among long-lost friends in a quick and easy manner.
But in reality, it’s far from that. I honestly believe that the majority of social media users (well, really just Facebook users) are using the platform to build themselves up to look “better” then they think they are
(Key word in this is “they”)
There are two problems I have with this;
The first is that it makes other people feel like shit. Plenty of people are dealing with things that none of us can imagine. Issues that have them feeling trapped, depressed, and out of control.
The last thing they need when scrolling through Facebook are posts that misrepresent reality in an overly positive way.
Let’s take holiday photos as a case in point; rarely do photo albums give all the details surrounding a trip. All we get to see is the mountains of great food, buckets of drink, and beach photos that are once in a life time – nothing but bliss.
We don’t get privy details on the financial preparation or stress that this holiday caused or the weeks of dieting they went through to get “beach body ready”.
So now, everyone looking in wonders why they can’t afford to do that and why they can’t lose that flab weight when this person makes it look so damn easy.
And maybe this holiday wasn’t that big of a deal for the people who went on it. Maybe it was a spur of the moment thing that caused absolutely zero stress on them whatsoever. Perfect, get that on Facebook if you want. All kosher with me.
My issue is with the posts that misrepresent the reality of the situation, making it come across as being better than it actually is. It’s posts like these that do no good for anyone.
The second problem is that people are using social media to try to find self-validation. Too many people are basing their entire worth off their social media presence – how many likes, shares and comments they get – trying to avoid the fact that they are overwhelmingly self-conscious and uncomfortable with the person they have become.
This could be mental or physical dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t really matter. All it’s doing is masking a problem that they have with themselves, one that if left unchecked will catch up one day and take a pretty hefty toll.
I get that social media has a huge list of positives, I really do. But honestly I would love nothing more than to see the abolishment of Facebook; I don’t know if it’s because of its form-factor of if it’s because everyone has one these days, but it seems to be the worst.
I feel like I should summarize this mindless drivel a bit, so let me leave you with this:
I really don’t think we are going to make any headway with mental health issues until people learn how to self validate within themselves and don’t have to look to external self-glorification to help fill a void.