I deleted my Facebook.
Understandably, this may not sound like much. However, we exist in a world where narcissism is more prevalent than compassion. A world where the word “selfies” —which I can only imagine is internet shorthand for the painfully self absorbed— has been added to Merriam-Websters. A persons every thought is uploaded at such rapid succession, that little is left to the imagination. It’s time to break the cycle.
Mystery & modesty have become dying arts. In their place is a platform to showcase your shallow assets, accompanied by “likes” that, despite their silence, cheer out as if you’ve received a standing ovation. As if the outfit worn was so great, or the comment so profound, that praise was merited. This reinforcement rings so loud in our minds, that this behavior becomes conditioned. And, subsequently, your validation has now been reduced to the thumbs up of others.
This becomes some grande parade of endless requests for approval and brand development, as if we were marketing ourselves to an audience. And that sentiment leads me to another all too blatant truth: If you are not the consumer, you are the product —in more ways than one.
Inevitably, we market our minds. “I mean, that status really was clever, wasn’t it?”
We market our appearance. “Pretending I didn’t spend the last half hour primping in the ladies room applying Revlon. #NoMakeUp”
We market our hobbies. “Just picked up a protein shake and headed to the gym. #LegDayBro”
And we even market our children. “Little Timmy’s reading at a third grade level and Suzie’s lead clarinet! #ProudMom”
Many of us have become masters of branding ourselves into that superior, superhuman version of ourselves. You know, the one that doesn’t actually exist? We are acutely aware of the differences between our own Internet personas and reality but blind to the fact of this same discrepancy in others. This bombardment of only the best & brightest moments can lead to unwarranted feelings of inadequacy. Even with the conscious knowledge, it’s hard to not to challenge an unsolicited and unwilling participant into a competition of comparison.
But, I digress.
And it is in this newfound time that I wish to become fully immersed in the activities that truly engage my mind; that soothe my soul and promote my growth. I hope to only seek validation from myself and from those few whose opinions are relevant. I hope to experience each moment with depth as it is occurring and without desire to broadcast it, or capture it, to share it on a broader scale. I want to appreciate and experience each moment for what it is as it is happening and for no other reason but to do so.
I want that freedom.