It is not unusual to see different people plaster their success in the Internet. Facebook timelines are rife with Recognition Day letters, Instagram stories trace different travels, and Snapchat is overflowing with Saturday night escapades. Happiness constantly spills from smartphone and computer screens. The pixelated world is a kaleidoscope of bright colors, and its inhabitants are indeed the happiest and most carefree of people.
Looking from a window on the other side of the screen, do you ever stop and ask why your life isn’t like theirs? Why you couldn’t achieve things like they can—why you couldn’t push your QPA high enough, or why you couldn’t land opportunities to travel? Do you ever think about why their lives are so perfect, and yours is just burdened with trouble? Have you ever felt empty, sliding through a downward spiral with their selfies and groufies flashing before your eyes on the way down? Sometimes, you may hear a voice: “Look at them—happy, successful, living the life. Now, look at you.”
Image is one of the most important pillars in the pixelated world, and how you present yourself highly depends on what you post. Simply put, social media is a curated planet, and the lives people present in their timelines may not completely reflect the lives they live on the other side of the screen. In a sea of posts that portray only happiness and success, this eight hundred-word column is here to say: do not worry.
Do not worry if the selfies on your feed do not mirror your frown. The smiles in people’s faces do not mean that sadness does not exist in their world. You are not abnormal. You are not wired wrong. They can also be sad, and their frowns can be just as heavy as how their smiles can be so light.
Do not worry if you come across a night’s pictures of laughter, drinks, or partying. These people can also feel burdened and choked by a grim reality. If you are not fond of these things, you are not an alien. You are not a boring person. You have your own ways to cope with life. And although the pictures present them to be extroverted and social creatures, loneliness can still strike them by 3 a.m.
Do not worry if you scroll through statuses of landed job positions or accepted applications. Behind these letters are people who toiled in their work, who have cried countless of nights due to pressure and expectations. You are not worthless. You are not devoid of talent or capabilities. If you work hard, you can claim success as well.
Do not worry if you see people’s posts detailing plans, or expressing how worked out their future seems to be. They also endure inner battles of confusion and doubt, just as much as you do. Your life is not an unsolvable puzzle. Your pieces will also fall into place. No matter how organized and sleek a person’s Instagram feed is, behind the VSCO filters and flat lays are heads that shelter an ever-growing hurricane.
Do not worry if you browse through albums of your friends travelling to different places. Free as they are, they are not exempted from feeling restricted in other and much inner cages. Your walls aren’t the only ones closing in. You are not alone in feeling trapped. You are not alone in feeling rooted down to a certain place. Their roots can just be as deep as yours.
Do not worry if you see pictures of people laying freely in hotel rooms. Their pillows at home can also be damp with tears, and some of their nights can chill them to the bone. Your life is not incapable of warmth. Your life is not just a baggage of bricks. Relaxed as they are, those people can also be carrying the heaviest of struggles.
Everything you see in social media are mere snapshots of a reel’s worth of people’s lives. Just because they are smiling, or just because they’re waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care, does not mean that everything is alright in their world. They can be sad, just as much as they can be happy—and they can be happy just as much as they can be sad.
In this pixelated world, always remember that your life is no different from the lives of the people posting of success. Your life is not a series of bad episodes. You are not a depressing story. On the other side of the screen, you are and you can be so much more.