I’m sorry this is an almost photoless post, my friends. But I have made it a point to write more frequently here so that I can put out more regular content for you all. And also to return back to my first love of writing.
So on that note. Here we go :)
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There is so much hate on social media lately.
I know this is a rather strange topic to ‘return’ to this blog to be writing about, but it’s been a matter that has been circulating in and out of my mind for months. And the more and more people I talk to, or rather, the more people that talk to me about it, the more I realise there is a growing culture of discontent breeding and permeating the current generation of us who spend a large portion of our time online – which lets face it… is most of us.
So many of ‘us’ are unhappy or never truly satisfied. Just when we think, YES, I think I am ok, we are hit with another wave of restlessness. We want more. Or become jealous over those who have what we seemingly think makes up the life we wish we had.
It is because we are the person who looks at that someone’s never ending load of ‘free stuff’ and wonder why we don’t get the same things. We are the person who sees another’s perfect relationship online and then questions ‘why doesn’t my partner love me like that’. We are the mother who sees another’s child and feels crummy when they are celebrating their baby sleeping through the night when you are still waking up 3 times a night and questioning if your baby will ever do the same. We are that person who looks at the other person’s followers and goes – why aren’t I more famous? We are that person working 9-5 every day slugging it to make ends meet and looking at a friend who gets to travel the world and buy designer goods and you wonder, why is it so hard? We are the person who looks at another woman’s body and wonders why our own legs are not as long, or our abs only have 2 packs instead of 6, or why their eyes and nose are perfect when yours are small and crooked. You are the woman who cannot get pregnant after 8 years of trying and see what seems like the 50th pregnancy announcement on instagram this year and question, what is wrong with me? The list goes on and on people. I could keep typing for many more hours. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
And why is it like this?
It is because SO MUCH OF OUR LIVES is online these days. SO MUCH.
I know I am sounding like somewhat of a hypocrite writing out these words, considering I run two brands that heavily uses social media as part of its business.
But hear me out.
Just 6 years ago, facebook and instagram were still baby platforms. I hopped on the bandwagon when using the in program filters was considered cool, I had to sign up an account for my husband because he didn’t see what the big deal was, and back then it was not about curating the perfect looking feed. It was simply a means to see what your friends were up to. Just 6 years ago, my friends! Before that, I was using the traditional methods of a website and a blog to put out my work and my writing. People didn’t know what was going on in another person’s life unless you actually met up with them and talked to them face to face over coffee or on the phone and really just ‘caught up’ (that, or gossip. But for the purpose of this post, we won’t go into this latter. Maybe at another time, ok? ). People also didn’t check their phones as the first and last things they did in the day.
Today? Nowadays, our eyes and our minds are completely SATURATED with content. Daily. Hourly. Maybe even by the minute.
What others are doing, buying, eating, where they are, how they are feeling, are literally thrown at us even if we aren’t searching for it (anyone seen the explore feed on Instagram? See my point?).
It is no wonder so many of us are not content with our lives.
In all honesty, I also question myself daily – am I using social media right? Do I use it too much? Am I being an ambassador that inspires and encourages? Or do I also breed and add to this culture of discontent and secret jealousy? I will also admit that I have caved into the whole envy wave and have been caught grumbling and wondering a number of ‘whys’ – my husband will attest to that. Its a cycle I have fought over and over.
Anyway… this post isn’t to jab. Not at all. I just wanted to raise the issue. Because I felt sad for a number of people I’ve spoken to who feel like they dont have enough. Sometimes they aren’t even aware they are doing it. But when I read the things they say online in jest, or when I sat down and looked at their lives in totality, they are INCREDIBLY BLESSED. I kept thinking – don’t you realise SO MANY PEOPLE out there don’t even have half of what you have. You have it good, girl.
So I guess, the purpose of this post apart from raising the issue, was also to hopefully encourage more of you out there to do two things.
1) Be aware of what you put out. Be sensitive. Think about those who may not get to enjoy whatever it is you are possibly going to gush about, and be wise about your captions appropriately.
2) For those who are feeling like they are on the losing end, or that their life isn’t enough….Remember that the things you have now, were once things you didn’t have before. Or perhaps they were things you wished for previously. And for my brothers and sisters in christ, I want to share with you something a friend of mine shared recently that encouraged me in this area immensely:
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3
Did you read that? Did you look really carefully? BETTER THAN LIFE. Thats right people, God’s steadfast faithful and unfailing love is BETTER THAN LIFE itself.
We are cheated into thinking all the time that there is a better job, or a new life we should be living, or a more suitable spouse, a bigger house, nicer clothes and shoes, more friends, more followers an fans, that will satisfy this never ending thirst we have… but ever realise that once you have it, your mind wants more? I’ll let you in on a secret… it is because we weren’t designed for a life chasing purely after pleasures. They are good things to have and enjoy, but they should never be the basis of our happiness or contentment. I was reminded (again) of this recently.
I know we can keep looking towards ourselves (which is good! I’m not asking you to not do this. We should always keep working on a better version of ourselves) – but we humans are inherently flawed. And sinful at the core. So, because our flesh fails us, it reminds me we constantly need to look to the cross and our Saviour who promised complete fulfilment of our souls in Him. Only Christ can truly satisfy. He says so time and time again in His faithful word.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
We can have all the fame, riches, perfect marriage and kids in the world, and keep feeding our hearts with pleasures, and I can bet your bottoms that it will never be ‘enough’. There is ALWAYS something else next. It is a tireless pursuit to look for completeness in things and people… because people inevitably also fail us, and possessions cannot love us back. And lets be honest, sometimes even love disappoints.
Now, before this post gets depressing, hear me out for a little longer. It will end on a good note (I hope! :D).
I just want to say first and foremost (before you roll your eyes at me in judgement thinking I’m some martyr), I don’t claim to be good at this. I have failed many times. So I’m also writing this post for me. To remind myself to be grateful. To pursue the right things. To remember that pleasures like money, clothes, holidays and so on are good things that God gives us to enjoy, but they should never become the benchmark for our definition of success or happiness. I am reminding myself to drink the water that completely satisfies from the well of life Himself. I am hoping this post reminds you of the same things.
To my non christian friends reading this, I know what I just said sounds weird. But if you take anything from this, I hope you take encouragement to spend less time comparing. And appreciate what you do have in the present. Spend less time online scrolling, and spend more of those minutes and hours of yours cultivating real relationships with those around you. And to remember to always be grateful for the small and the big things you have been given for there are always people out there who have less or nothing :) . The grass is not greener on the other side. It is green where you water it.
Alright… Tuesday night reflections are over. And it’s time to put the baby to sleep. Til my next post. Yes, my friends, I am trying harder to write more often.. Shorter posts, but more frequently. Hopefully ;)
ps: Enjoy the little graphic I designed below. It’s there for anyone who wants to save it and print it to keep as a reminder on your phone, your desk or wall or journals :)