I recently read an op-ed in the New York Times that encourages us to look closely at the lives we portray on social media– and question whether it deprives us of true happiness. Envy, the author says, often drives or proceeds from our portrayals of perfection in cyberspace; not only do we desire to imitate others, we also desire to outdo others. And in the meantime, we are missing out on real life.
I don’t think that these new cyberspace platforms can be properly assessed as absolutely good or bad. With a positive spin, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and yes, blogging) is a brilliant way to share your story and ideas with others. It helps us put our best selves out there and inspire each other to grow and change.
But with a negative spin, these media are all about constructing an image of ourselves that only represents the highlights that we are proud of. Even our public confessions can take on a constructed, perfectionist pretense that fools others into believing that all our thoughts are coherent and presentable. The human experience is most certainly not so.
So, how is a blogger to take this in stride? Well, we can begin by remembering that we are not our blogs. Our blogs only represent a part of us– a coherent, carefully selected facet that is designed to be useful to others. And this is a good thing! In addition to my Journal category, I like to keep a real paper journal, the contents of which I can decide whether or not to publish. These blog posts are constructed to be encouraging and useful, rather than a word vomit of everything that has crossed my mind today.
Finally, there is life beyond social media, beyond personal blogs. There is life outside of what is simply trendy or popular, or what can be found in department store windows or lifestyle magazines. Simplicity Relished is, in part, about how to build that life.
Want to read more about simplifying your life? Check out these great suggestions from Joshua Becker’s suggestions for the weekend!