Getting out there

Fantastic opportunities don’t show up out of nowhere. They show up at certain times and places, and we need to be there in those times and places. The more interactions we have with people, the more likely it is we will connect, and learn a thing or two about something that’s outside our comfort zone. As to say, it is only by getting out, talking to people, and challenging ourselves that we get opportunities.

That being said, it’s hard. Rates of Anxiety and Depression are soaring, partly influenced by the increased use of social media. By plain genetics, being introverted means that dealing with people for long amounts of time is draining, instead of being fulfilling for extroverts. There’s lots of opportunities online, so for those who look hard it enough, it may seem pointless to get out there physically. Yet, when we meet people in person, we have a stronger connection to them. Interacting with people in person is far more uncontrolled, but that also makes it more interesting and fulfilling when things turn out well.

Putting yourself out there also includes putting yourself out there physically. Traveling can be scary and confusing. Walking around outside genuinely isn’t as fun as scrolling through social media in most cases. But it’s healthy and good, even as we dread it. We make the idea of things blow up greater than they really are, when truly, it’s going to be okay. Lots of people are awkward, and only a few know what they’re doing socially. Overthinking is easy to fall into, but it’s a common phenomenon. However, the basics of communication are pretty clear, we just overcomplicate it. If you’re unsure, ask a question. If you’re angry, explain why. If you’re tired, say so. If you don’t know what to say, then literally say, “I’m not sure what to say right now”, and maybe talk a little about why, or ask a question so the other person can speak. Getting out and talking is hard, but it’s also far easier than you’ve been remembering it because we encode the bad instances far more than the neutral or good ones. You can do this.

just talk to a dang person

As amazing and important as technology is, there is one queen bee we often forget about: socialization. Humans are social creatures! We organize in groups of kinship, then create groups of similar disposition. When we are afraid, we tend to recruit another human to go along with us. As a species, we have managed to create the most complex and dense structure of interaction to provide resources for not only ourselves and immediate family, but for virtually all families of our nation! There are of course many nuances, details, exceptions, and limitations to that concept, but just consider!

Take an individual who is living in a first world country. They live in homes constructed by people they’ve never met, filled with things that people have created machines to mass produce, have complex interactions with a variety of people who are potentially amazingly different than them! Even with violence and war, racism, sexism, and all those other isms, we manage to find massive conglomerates of people with our same beliefs! We are able to organize to the point of millions; that is absolutely crazy!! Humans are amazingly social, seeing faces in clouds and personifying things like toys.

Socialization is one of the key foundations of our psychological well-being. Loners might seem cool, but they also die faster and live miserably. To some extent, we likely adore loner figures in stories and fiction because of our innate drive to want to incorporate them into the group again. The “bad boy” stereotype is admired in part, not because he’s bad, but because of the hope that maybe he isn’t.

And yet! We stop physically interacting because of smart phones, opting for the easier option. Don’t get me wrong, technology is amazing and incredibly important! We could do so much with it, and do! However, there is a colossal problem with over using social media in a way that disrupts our naturally physically interactive social behaviors. You don’t have to chuck your phone, it would probably cause a huge mess because of all the responsibilities tied to it. However, what we can do is try to limit ourselves. Revel in being human! Sure, check out your feed, but then have a face to face conversation over dinner. Just talk to people, do something, don’t just scroll for hours on end! It sounds like unnecessary work, but it really isn’t– on the contrary, it is core to our physical and mental well being.

Social Media is Fake

Last night, from bits of conversation I accidentally eavesdropped, I heard this comment: “Social Media gives you the illusion that all artists are better than you– but that’s not true.” I think there is a good lesson to this. Social Media doesn’t show you the average. Think about it; we don’t post our normal photos, we post the best ones with the best filters. When an artist becomes popular and has thousands of followers, it’s likely because they are professionals. Those professionals show up easily in search engines and explore pages because lots of people like them and they have excellent work. However, their work is something that took years to cultivate.

 Even if you don’t care about artists at all, think about professional photographers, writers, models etc. What is popular is not always realistic, and rarely is. The more time we spend on social media, the more we spend becoming discouraged. After all, it seems like the world around us is doing significantly better because the extremes are what we like to share and talk about. We don’t see the best photo in the county, we see the best photos in the nation. It trivializes effort if your not careful, because one begins to think that 1. What they see is easy or 2. They can never achieve that level.

Life is hard, and it’s hard for everyone. Trying to compare who has it worse is a waste of time because you’ll never truly know. Furthermore, if someone is really suffering, we should be trying to help them, not feeling bad that they’ve experienced a worse fate than us. What we see isn’t always the truth because there is more to it that we cannot see. Keep your eyes open then, try to remind yourself that a lot of your feed is likely an illusion. It does not represent the average. You are doing just fine, keep going! Keep progressing! Let the work of others be inspirational, not detrimental to your personal journey of growth. 

“I want to die. lol.”

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The most beautiful part of any day is the fact that it exists. Particularly among the younger generations who’ve grown up alongside social media and computer technology, there’s a generally negative culture. Posting something means you are motivated emotionally to do so, and in most instances, we tend to feel more motivated by negative emotions than positive ones. That means what’s going onto our walls and blogs reflects those same emotions. There are jokes about the void, nihilism, and the ‘sweet embrace of death’ because we deal with these heavy feelings through humor. Linguistically, we’ve developed a form of hyperbolic speech contrasted with minor events and appropriated entire concepts into slang like “same”. However, we can get easily overwhelmed by this constant stream and begin to cultivate unhealthy thought processes.

Just take a moment to pause yourself and think about what you see everyday. We like to think of ourselves as unaffected by propaganda compared to the normal population (It’s called the third-person effect) but the truth is that, statistically speaking, you are affected by the media. There’s a whole slew of phenomenon and theories about it, but spending hours on social media has an impact on your psychological health. I am not immune, you are not immune, your friends aren’t immune; it’s just a result of living. It’s not always a bad thing either, but it is always good to be aware of what we are reading.

When you read these jokes and are surrounded with an atmosphere that mocks existence, it can be easy to feel purposeless. However, the existence of existence is important. Some claim that it would be better to not have been born at all. If you weren’t born, after all, then you would’t feel all the pain of living. You also wouldn’t even be able to appreciate nonexistence. Because we are, because we exist, we can feel every emotion. We can feel the positive feelings as well as the negative ones. We can laugh at stupid jokes and feel idiotic for not seeing something obvious. Existence and nonexistence aren’t comparable. Existence means being able to do something and grow past the difficulties. Existence means that you have the opportunity to both screw up your life, and also to fix it.

 

 

Davison, W. (1983). “The third-person effect in communication”. Public Opinion Quarterly. 47 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1086/268763