Even If You Try To Look Good, This Is Why Reality Will Trample All Your Happiness

Anonymous Anonymous in Bakkar. Chai. Sutta on 9 July, 2018

My teacher would always say that art is incomplete without an audience. She believed that art was not a secretive or solitary experience that could be confined to a garage or an attic. She felt that when we confined art, it became sterile.

She would always say that art does not belong to the artist alone. She said that only when art was interpreted in the right manner it would evolve and start blooming.

I would often feel that selfies too were a kind of art. I thought a selfie was a digital self-portrait in which we got to see a reflection of our expectations.

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I thought it was a subtle and an honest portrayal of the kind of person we are.

But now this form of art (and other art forms too) has started seeking feedback from a crowd. It keeps rectifying itself to gain acceptance.

It is no longer just a form of expression. It has become commercial. We have started trading our real images by using our skills. So our image now has a market value. The honesty is, therefore, missing and most of our images border on sensationalism.

We are now in the business of producing selfies solely for the consumption of others. The more likes we get the more popular we become on Instagram.

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But sooner or later we realize that it is a meaningless endeavour.

We have a difficult time choosing the filters. We then become anxious after we upload our selfies. And if there is a recession in the number of upvotes, it will wreak havoc on our self-esteem.

We will not even realize that there is not even a trace of reality in this virtual endeavour of ours.

Everyone seems to be leading a life full of riches on the internet these days. Everyone seems to be eating red velvet cakes all too often. Everyone seems to be shopping quite regularly for the high-end brands. Everyone also seems to be extremely satisfied with their job placements and they all succumb to the temptation of carrying these labels on their foreheads.

Everyone, of course, is involved in a love story which holds the promise of becoming the next script of a Bollywood movie. But is the image we project on our social media real?
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We might be giving relationship goals to others when we post a picture of having a candlelight dinner on a yacht. But maybe in our real lives, we are doing a lot worse than the couple who is leading a very empathetic and easy love life. Such couples may not be able to afford to have their dinner on a yacht but they are not missing out on anything either.

Maybe we are placed in an MNC. Maybe our juniors are hungrily coveting for a job like ours. They may message us and ask us for interview hacks. But we still feel that the work is mechanical and monotonous. Our tie continues to strangle our necks and we do realize that we waste a huge chunk of our six digit salary on rents and cab fares. Of course, leisure has become a distant dream.

We check out cafes like Starbucks and Hard Rock Café. But how many of us really think of the coffee as value for money when we go to Starbucks or really appreciate the music in Hard Rock Café.

Aren’t we projecting a fake profile of ourselves in the virtual world?
Human memory is extremely short-lived. Our virtual persona is not going to make an everlasting impression on anyone.

We can confirm this by just becoming dormant for some time on any social network. If we hibernate for a while and turn off all our notifications and stop posting our updates about our well-being, we will find that within a short span of time even the buzz of our notifications will seem unfamiliar to us. Our space in the people's feed will instantly be filled up by others. Our name in their chat-box will start slipping lower and lower until one day no one will ever find a reason to ping us.

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So it will do all of us a whole lot of good if we just go off social media and do everything the way we used to earlier.

That includes going on that yacht date, doing some bar hopping, window shopping, going on road trips and treating ourselves to red velvet cakes as often as we can.

When we do this we will find that all these most exciting experiences remain just as exciting even when no one applauds us for it.

We then realize that often we ended up doing the things that we were least interested in just because others had set the trend. Suddenly all these things seem so very unappealing to us.

We are content with the uniqueness of our own bittersweet experiences.

Social media is like a noisy local train in which we are sitting cross-legged after dressing up in the purest of silks. Even if we look good, we will get trampled upon in reality.

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I curbed this obsessive-compulsive disorder of trying not to miss out on things last summer by making it a point to not read the daily news. I looked only into the editorials of the newspapers and skipped reading the front-page. I replaced my news feed with articles that I loved reading. I stopped reading the latest stories and started reading the books that interested me to make up for the lack of reading.

I then realized that I had saved myself from a lot of wasteful analysis. My mind no longer went numb from all the entertainment trivia that I constantly fed it. My opinions were no longer biased.

It was a delightful experience and I had ended up saving a lot of my time without alienating myself from the real world in any way. News- reading and socializing are best done selectively and occasionally.

The feedback that we get online should never be considered as binding. It should never be mistaken as a means for seeking approval. Especially when it involves our lifestyle, viewpoints, physical features, relationships or other things that matter to us and that we have to live with.
The people who really love us will show us their love but it may not be done exclusively in the virtual world. They will accept us even if we hate high-end places or have an under-hyped job or hate to travel or don’t understand food porn.

Let’s just take a look at our mother sometimes when she struggles to understand WhatsApp. We will then know that maybe not all our well-wishers are aware of the kind of person we are in the virtual world but they will love us nevertheless.

Editor's Note:

We do live in an age where despite all our smartness we feel lost without our smartphones. The virtual world gives us a lot of instant connectivity but we are missing out on connecting with the people who matter most to us. Only when we disconnect from the virtual world will we relearn the art of connecting with real people in our real lives. Let’s share this sensible story and ponder about it. Let’s hope it creates an impact in our lives.