It’s funny how social media works.
Whenever we see a photo of someone swimming in the clear blue waters of Maldives, a photo of friends skydiving across the endless sky, a photo of the most glamourous wedding ever, we can’t resist from liking that photo and giving it a thumbs up.
Most of us see it as a mere social signal to indicate our acknowledgement for having seen it, but it’s way beyond just that. The reason why we like the photos we see in our social media feeds is because they’re projections of the kind of lifestyle we want to have. They’re moments that overlap with our own illusions, something we can relate to and use as a metric in comparing our lifestyles against that of someone else’s.
What’s posted online is often an exaggeration, a meticulously curated process where photo after photo is deleted until the perfect one is found. Add in the editing and color grading, and viola! The illusion of the perfect lifestyle is created.
On a subconscious level, we all know that these photos have been edited to showcase the best moments of someone’s life. We realize it, but choose to disregard that fact because the truth is, we also do what everyone else is. We pose, we take photos out-of-context and exaggerate in order to create our very own best moments to compete with the moments of others.
As we post more frequently, the photos we’ve carefully selected and manipulated becomes more than just a portrayal of the lifestyle we want to live in; it becomes our reality. We lose ourselves in this exaggerated, alternative version of our lives and struggle to maintain it because that’s how our friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and even our friends’ friends already see us.
So we’re caught fueling, photo after photo, a never-ending lifestyle that becomes farther and farther from the truth. We become the very actors in our own movies, infatuated with the profile we’ve created for ourselves online and forget who we really are.
We lose ourselves, forget the ambition we’d once held in achieving our dreams and desires because in the fantasy lifestyle we’ve already built online, we’ll feel like we’ve already achieved them. Eventually, we stop paying attention and give up trying. Our dreams die and our goals remain unaccomplished.
Years later, we might regret it, but by then it’ll have been too late. We’ll have finally realized that everything we’ve posted can be nothing more than an exaggerated version of our lives, a dream. We’ll realize how fleeting the satisfaction we get from our likes and thumbs ups is compared to if we had actually achieved in real life, the version of the lifestyle we wanted.
The worst feeling ever is to realize that you haven’t progressed, grown for years because it’s then when you realize how much time you’ve wasted, time never to come back again, time that could’ve been better used to actually turn your dreams into reality.
If you still have what it takes to achieve your goals, the time is now, the moment in your hands. Make the change, put in the effort and turn the very lifestyle that has been a fantasy into a reality.
“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.” — Anonymous