Perfection Paradox That’s social media. By Ar. Anika Singh
Perfection is everywhere. Or the image of it, the problem is the expectation of it.
The way you look, your career, marriage, kids, Facebook pictures, Instagram stories, gatherings – basically the whole life of some people, seems perfect. Now, there is nothing ever wrong in aiming and achieving the best of life you can. In fact, we all should, men or women. I am here talking of how it is on our social media accounts.
Published in Woman’s Era print magazine. Click to subscribe.
The projection of our perfect lives is a vicious cycle, almost all the people who post regularly on social media – friends, social influencers etc – whatever their phase of life, they seem to be going through it effortlessly. I in my motherhood prime when I had two little ones, looked like a beaten animal 24X7. My few friends and some social media friends in the same phase looked amazing in their posts of homes, their kids , their bodies, clothes they were wearing, despite little ones made me question myself, it wasn’t soon before I myself was ‘projecting’ the same thing, outings, dinners, holidays etc, the question is: do we enjoy the event more?
When I came back from my Goa trip last winter, I looked back on all my pictures. I was dressed perfectly, had the best boomerang and slo-motion videos, all that cool stuff, and I felt elated, now they did not stop me from enjoying my vacation. But what if I had not picked up my phone for instant updates, had taken general pictures from my camera and looked back at them later only if I felt like, and not have them on my Instagram with location etc, did I do it solely for my pleasure? Or to show my friends that I holidayed too? I had make-up on the beach, because who would want dull pics, as it was the holiday season I saw all of my friends’ holiday photos, they were honestly as unoriginal as mine. The last few years every festival, every national holiday is celebrated as never ever before, the effect of social media forces us to exaggerate our happiness, many real or the #realmoments , are fake in a lot of cases, Why? The answer: we expect and demand nothing less, and sometimes condemn the reality of self and others ruthlessly.
get over them
I am obsessed with social media like so many of you, I have a pretty normal career and I balance it all too, like so many women out there. I too try to project a perfect image in my life, I make effort in my looks, my home, my kids, my health and beauty and I may look okay but don’t feel up to the mark, One day I decided to stop, as an experiment, I deleted my Facebook, Instagram, all my You Tube subscriptions, except whatsApp (which is in itself a full story of dependence) and the first few days I was stunned by how obsessed I was. Within 24 hours, I decided to activate it all back as I missed it so much, I wondered what to do to overcome it, but continued for the whole month, after a few difficult days I did almost get over it. In a week, I felt light. Light. There is no other word for it, though there were dinners, outings, took my kids to the zoo, had a brunch but did not post. I cared for my appearance but not too much, I felt no need to take a camera out, thoroughly enjoyed each of these events.
Upsides? I felt there was a lot of spare time, I was less distracted when talking to my husband or kids (though he had not done any such thing) and the realisation that how much its normal now to talk with your spouse’s while browsing , I decided to look only at him, and forced him to put his phone down, if you are too the browsing, checking phone kind you will know, how difficult that is. Downsides? I still missed it, as it was a habit now of life to keep checking what other people are doing/posting. This experiment made one thing clear that, I did need these accounts. I was no Taliban and was not going to deprive myself completely from something I liked, but I found my solution to the chaos. I immediately unfollowed, unfriended each and every person I did not want to see or affected me negatively or had too much going on, as to make me feel like i was not doing enough or going out enough. I was ruthless, harsh and selfish, i decided if someone is going to be offended by not being on a online portal the person does not require an explanation if I was in good terms in real life. I was left with very few people whose posts I cared about. I now enjoy social media to the fullest as it was supposed to be – respect everybody’s way of life, even if you don’t identify with it, but don’t let it affect you, live your life more perfectly than any filter could provide. In honesty of your own being, social media was made connect and enjoy, if it is snatching your precious time by all means bend it to suit you and enjoy your imperfect life!