Falsehood of Feelings on the Internet

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Sarah Costello, Staff Writer

Your Facebook page sends you a notification about how your closest high school friend is having a blast with all their new pals at their university. Your childhood babysitter posted how she completed her doctorate and will be getting married soon on her Twitter account. Instagram has informed you that all of the people in your high school class are celebrating at a party where it’s nothing but smiles and great times, with a caption reading “Never gonna feel sad again ;).”

You look around wanting to feel happy for them, but all you feel is seeping jealousy and sadness. You wish you could get out of your rut and paint on a happy face like they can. You feel that you’re the only one who misses amazing opportunities of happiness, and that no one gets your pain.

Reality is your social media socialites are probably in same boat you are, hiding behind a facade of contentment and laughs for the sake of their networks messages.

In a day and age where we can instantly communicate anything to anyone, I feel we only seem interested in communicating positivity and frown upon all the sad emojis and messages that don’t scream I’m happy. We ignore what we feel in real life to tell all our friends how great our lives are. This, in turn, can have damaging effects on our psyches and make us lose confidence in ourselves.

Seeing others happiness (or at least the facade of it) can sometimes send the wrong messages to others by invoking anger and sadness about not having everything they have. People look down on themselves when they do not meet standards of friendships and success that others share on social media every single day. What people might not understand, is that the post-ers are under pressure to put out content that leaves the impression of constant happiness due to ridicule of negativity at times.

To others, a post about vacationing every other week could look like bragging. But, to those who upload the photos, it is expected of them to make their pages look cheerful even when they go through hardships and uncertainty. This, I believe, stems from the fact that people over look a post about how hard losing a job is in exchange for pictures of the Grand Canyon titled “On Top of the World.” There’s also the pre-existing sensation of low confidence due to positive social media messages that one feels they must outdo their competition and falsely assume their pals that they feel the exact same way. This pressure only eats away at our beliefs of achieving happiness in the long run and continues the cycle of questioning emotions and the thought of what ideal happiness is.

This isn’t to say that posts about feeling good are bad at all. They have the ability to inspire positive feelings from taking beautiful pictures of a sunset to sharing the warmth and emotional connection when we celebrate a beautiful friendship or romantic partnership. The issue comes from the messages that convey positive emotions without a break, making us think that happiness like that is only given to so few of us and the rest have a 50 – 50 shot at best.

The key to it is moderation.

Being an optimist is good on social media, but it can sometimes send the wrong messages to those who are down their luck. At the same time, being pessimistic all the time can turn people off and retract sympathy as much as it tries to earn it. Moving on into a state where posting sad news as much as happy news, and accepting that it doesn’t always have to paint a picture of rainbows and butterflies can help build confidence between online friends, while also help improve mentality and restore hopes by showing that we all go through the same struggles from time to time.

It is also important to note that we can’t take everything that represents positivity seriously. Life is a game of chance that doesn’t end until the end of us. It is not always best to assume that things are absolutely perfect based off of what we see on our SnapChat stories or Reddit posts.

We need to understand that although things seem peachy on the surface, we shouldn’t dig ourselves too deep in jealousy to not acknowledge what we are truly grateful for and all of the things we do have.

Exercising the types of posts we put online as well as how much deeper we think is true about constant positivity online can act with self-reassurance and also promote a more honest and healthy mindset with the internet.