12-26-18 - "Peek Behind The Veil"

Dear Sweet Babe,

Today I want to talk to you about social media.

Allow me to start by saying: do not go on facebook, instagram, or any other social media platform and start scrolling if you are feeling bad about your life! It’s a trap! It will only add to your malaise! Run away!!

Look, social media is wonderful. It allows us to stay in contact with people that we would never be able to keep in touch with. It allows us to express ourselves in varied and innovative ways. It allows us to connect with new and exciting people that can help us to see the world in new and exciting ways, and to further enrich our lives.

But, social media can also be very dangerous.

Y’see, most people don’t post anything negative on social media. They see their stories, or profiles, or feeds as places where they can curate their image, and they only want that image to be as flattering and enviable as possible. Just like many people don’t step out their door with their hair messy, or without showering, or without wearing a cute outfit. Most people, also, don’t want to present any emotional messiness, or to appear psychologically unwashed, or to show anything but their best selves to the world…of course, that’s the where the danger comes in.

First of all, there is the damage that this series of curated images can inflict when it becomes normalized. When you go on facebook and only see your friends’ and family’s posts about their recent promotion or the great date they just went on, how they’ve booked another contract or how their love life is just going great, or whatever wonderful thing that is going on in their life, you don’t get the chance to peek behind the veil of their curation. Because many people don’t believe that their whole truth is their best self, we are lead to misconceptions about the actuality of life. Life isn’t a wholly positive experience. There is pain and anger, fear and anxiety, hurt and loss that are present in all of our lives, but if all we see our friends and family going through is their best and their happiest, we feel alienated.

Could it possible that we are the only ones who are experiencing unpleasantness?

Of course not. Everyone experiences unpleasantness…it’s just that these people presenting a curated image of happiness are missing out on the whole truth of expression. Which is where the additional danger of social media comes in.
When you only tell the world half of your story- the pleasant and happy and positive half- not only are you giving people a false image of your life, but you are also placing yourself under the additional pressure to continually remain in that pleasant, happy, and positive place. And that pressure, like all pressure, can grow to be dangerous. It’s a pressure that can squash you. It’s a pressure that can change you for the worse. It’s a pressure that can destroy you, if not put in check. Take it from your guncle, pretending to be someone you cannot possibly be is too damaging of a pressure.

So, sweet babe, when you’re beginning your journey onto social media the choice is yours. Do you want to place the pressure of falsehood on yourself? Do you want to alienate your friends and family through naïve deception? Do you want to present a manufactured, half-truth on your pages and profiles, or would you rather have your curation of your image be a presentation of both your true darkness and your true light?


Erik SchneiderComment