In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, Foursquare, etc etc, Furtick’s words have never rung so true. I’m just as guilty as everyone else, trying to use FB as a way to show people who think I’m boring (yes, they exist) that my life is full of adventure and people should talk to me because I’m interesting. At least… I used to. I have reached a point of maturity where I no longer need social networking to prove myself to anybody.
Yet this new philosophy has the opposite effect if one isn’t careful. Other people like to use FB as a way to show family, friends, and frienemies how badass they are, how they don’t care what anyone thinks and be as rude/offensive/abrasive/wild as possible. Little do they know this is the same behavior as those who prefer to show off. The bottom line: people want ATTENTION.
Suddenly self-worth depends on how many “likes” and comments you receive on public posts. Perhaps the word “worth” is a bit of an exaggeration. Yet we who visit Facebook regularly all have moments of frustration toward friends who only document when they go out or attend an event, trying to make life appears like it's always moving and they’re constantly social. Facebook has become a Brag-a-thon.
I know this bothers people. Not everyone, but many people will temporarily shut down their accounts because all they ever feel from FB is frustration, jealousy, and anger. People who are so annoyed at the false face friends put on when posting online will suddenly feel the urge to filter their “Friends” list or stop posting for a few months. It’s possible you’ve done this yourself (I know I have).
While this used to affect me, I am trying to view such individuals with a mixture of humor and pity, especially because I know that most of these people who think they lead interesting lives that deserve constant attention are full of crap. A person who travels all the time might be fighting to keep their finances afloat. Someone who goes out all the time might be incredibly lonely… or can’t stand to be alone. An individual who drinks or shops a lot might have an addiction. How many celebrities that seem to lead fantastic lives we peons only dream of are actually on the brink of nervous break downs, have substance abuse problems, or can’t stop their marriages from crumbling?
My point? If you ever feel like your life is boring or you are boring, remember that on social networks you’re seeing someone’s highlight reel. At the same time, remember that these people who love to show off, could have major personal issues. You really never know.
A friend of mine—we hadn’t been close in a few years but he attended our wedding and lived with us for a summer—killed himself this past Sunday. He had a successful career, a wife of almost 2 years, a new daughter, and had started a software business on the side 6 months ago. On the Facebook surface, his life seemed utterly enviable and happy. To find out he was dead was shocking enough, but that he felt compelled to take his own life…
As you know from my battle with depression, I understand those feelings and the desperation in believing there is no hope. Who knows if some aspect of his life was so out of balance that he felt suicide was the only option, or perhaps he was taking medicine that screwed with his head so much he felt his life was worthless (the autopsy is still underway).
While his death isn’t my personal loss—that is felt by his family & close friends—the news has brought forth these thoughts. I wish people would be real, would stop trying so hard and be themselves. If something isn’t right, please talk to friends or family or seek help, but know that there is no need to make everything seem fantastic on FB. At the same time, I feel utterly checked at my past frustrations with friends who always seemed to brag. Not that my friend was one of those guys, but it has made me rethink any envious tendencies I may have toward others. Let’s all just love and try to help one another, and have the humility to accept love and help from others.
**If you know someone or have yourself been contemplating suicide, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.