I am quite new on social media when it comes to image-sharing. I’ve had a Tumblr blog, Instagram and Facebook for ages, but I haven’t really been active when it comes to sharing photos of my own life. Recently this changed when I started this blog last September. I just felt comfortable sharing some aspects of my life and I went for it.
Entering the world of image-sharing opened my eyes to something that I consider extremely negative and fatal even.
Jealousy. False assumptions. Hate, even.
Photos can be beautiful reflections of moments in our lives. But that’s the problem. They are only that, reflections of moments, not entire lives.
They are two dimensional momentary captures of what you feel, experience or are at that specific moment. Not what you always feel, experience or are.
This is what creates the whole issue.
We open Instagram (or any other social medium) and see an endless stream of beauty and perfection and unconsciously start to compare our lives and things we might lack in with all the things the others don’t seem to lack.
We as humans naturally like to share our moments of success and happiness, things we find cute, attractive and beautiful. We share things we want other people to see about us, the angles and aspects that we are confident and happy about.
A couple happily smiling and holding each other. Wow, what bliss.
A cooing, smiling baby. She’s got an amazing, calm baby.
Friends holding hands in some lovely setting. That girl is so popular.
A picture of a graduating person with a Hollywood smile. He’s so lucky…
But the truth is that we don’t know how hard that person struggled to reach the point they are in or how much pain they’ve had to endure. Hasn’t it crossed our mind even once that perhaps the person in the photo, all smiley and happy deserves what they currently have? That moment of little happiness in the midst of all the struggle that life gives you? Don’t we all cherish those moments?
The issue of jealousy comes in because we don’t know and fail to recognize what is behind the photo. And that means that we don’t know the truth.
No matter how active someone is in updating their Instagram stories or Facebook statuses with photos and video clips, it is not. the. truth. Not all of it, at least. Not all the time.
Nobody would probably ever think, during a fight with their wife or friend, of taking a picture of their crying or angry face and more unlikely think of sharing it online. I mean, what would you, as a social media user think of such a photo? What an inhumane person! Why doesn’t he/she go and fix the problem instead of taking photos? Exactly.
Let me give a personal example. When Yunus is having a superbly bad day for no obvious reason and all he does is whine, cry and throw things around in a seemingly endless tantrum, I don’t go ahead and pick a camera and post a photo with the caption of “Bad day today”. Or when I have a fight with some of my siblings or parents or husband and all that you can see on my face is anger or tears or pain, I don’t go ahead and take a selfie. Nobody does.
My sister-in-law/love Alaa once very wisely said that if any of us were given the choice to pick out someone else’s life to trade for ours, but with both their struggles and happiness, their up hills and down hills, we’d never pick except our own lives. I couldn’t agree more.
And let’s be honest here. We as humans naturally feel aversion towards sad and negative aspects of life, especially if we are feeling fine at the moment. Posts about struggle, pain, depression and sadness are often overlooked and those who post them labeled “attention-seekers” or just “whiny”. For example, a mother who posts about her deceased child often receives heartless comments like “get over it”. This aversion has two sides to it: we feel afraid or uncomfortable with sharing negative aspects of our lives and as a result, unknowingly create a web of jealousy and false assumptions about our seemingly always happy lives.
I’m not saying that everyone should be super realistic online. What I’m saying is that those who feel jealous about others should stop and those who wish to share both aspects of their lives should be allowed without labeling or judging.
There is truly no need for jealousy and the hate that often accompanies it. It’s a huge loss of energy for nothing.
Please, let’s just all practice being happy for others. Your winning season will come too and you’ll want others to be happy for you then.