We stopped loving ourselves a long time ago.
You might disagree. If anything, our generation is the most narcissistic yet, no? We’re obsessed with ourselves: we take endless selfies; we want to be the first to tweet about a story; we place retweets over morality; we feel entitled to success without earning it; we need to be successful at anyone and everyone’s expense. Surely, we love ourselves TOO much? We place ourselves on pedestals.
But here lies the problem: pedestals often come crashing down. Especially when the foundation is hollow. We don’t do these things because we love ourselves. We do them because we don’t.
When was the last time you looked at yourself in a mirror, felt incredible, smiled, and walked out of the house knowing that you felt completely content with yourself? Chances are the process went more along the lines of: I look great, I’ll take a picture and post it, in hope that it’ll get likes. Then I’ll feel great. THEN I can have a great day, because people like me, people think I look good. This #NoMakeUpSelfie thing for example, I refused to get drawn into whether it was a just cause or narcissistic game (or rather, it was a just cause which turned into narcissistic game) but reading this article opened my eyes to the mentality behind the viral campaign and particularly, our generational values.
“Since the term ‘selfie’ entered our vernacular, it’s come to characterise the narcissism of the internet age. Every social network cultivates the self and in many ways, selfies grasp at our hero worship of celebrities – the modern day messiahs. Getting lots of likes on a picture offers a dizzying taste of this reverence, validating our physical appearance and so validating the carefully constructed image of who we want to be.”
We’ve placed too much importance on the opinions of others. We’ve let outsider appreciation replace self-love. We’re obsessed with validation from others: feeling good ONLY when we get over a hundred likes; doing good ONLY when we get co-signed. Hell, even I’m guilty of feeling like this. I love it when people like my pictures, my music, what have you. But I woke up this morning asking myself how I managed to get here. I know what I’m worth, and it is so much more than views on my videos, or followers, or likes. Yet I find myself a slave to social media numbers, and I hate it. It’s destroying my art, my creativity, my focus.
Somewhere along the lines our magic, art, and passion were lost to pixels. We’re losing who we are to plug into a digital world, to become who we want to be. Who loses, here? Our hearts, our minds, our souls – everything that makes us who we are. And once we lose who we are, we’re stuck in a world of emptiness. We become shallow. We become our digital selves. A copy.
We become… who we’ve just become.
Living in a world where our attention spans have dropped ridiculously, our access to mediocrity infinite. A world where power plays from political figures have made the world blind, and where memes and satire websites will have you believing almost anything, because there’s absolutely nothing to believe in.
I don’t know who created us nor why we’re here, how the earth, stars and universe came to be – and I hate that since entering the digital world, I’ve almost been rid of my initial curiosity and wonder. I wake up to see stories on #KimYe deemed more important than Ukraine. I see people finding Bieber’s deposition video more important than well, pretty much everything else.
It’s insane. And I’m sick to death of it. I don’t quite know how to change and break out of this, but it is essential that we do. We can’t have our future generation grow up on a foundation of masks, façades and emptiness. We need to start loving ourselves, and appreciating that we are who we are. We were born into this world, we create our legacy, we die and go back to the Earth. One of my biggest fears is that people won’t remember me after I’m gone. What’s now challenging that fear though, is me valuing my worth via social media. I’m better than that. We are all better than that. Social Media is a tool for expression, networking and communication. It is NOT for validation.
You are who you are in the flesh. You are NOT your online profile. Please do not forget that. Let’s talk over the phone, let’s talk in person. Let’s travel, let’s go to places without reading online reviews. Let’s forget Google Maps and get lost for a little while. Let’s support something because we WANT to, not because everyone else is. Let’s spend time getting to know ourselves. Let’s start loving ourselves again, so that we can love others the way they deserve to be loved. None of this fake-ness that’ll ultimately be forgotten about the following day. (Can you remember every picture you’ve liked on Instagram this week?)
Positivity can only be spread if it’s within you to begin with. We need it back.