The Things Left Unshared

We live in an era of exposure. The things we do, the foods we eat, and the people we associate with all play into the currents that charge our social media driven world. We are fed the notion that documenting our lives and sharing them via a little black handheld screen will help us stay connected.

At the surface of social media, communities are formed that connect people from across the globe through similar interests and ideas. But on a deeper level, social media can generate presumed identities and false characters based on what an individual has chosen to show the world through their posts.

I have been sharing my life regularly on social media for years now. Mainly through Instagram, I justify posting by saying it’s a form of expression, as if it’s just me being passionate about sharing my travels and photography. But I’ll be open in admitting to the dopamine boosting feeling of posting just to watch likes roll in, and I’m sure I’m not alone in those feelings of instant gratification.

But what a sad way to validate the amazing experiences we’re having in this life by numbers on a screen.

How often do we scroll though someone’s photos and immediately make assumptions about who they are? We seem to be given the right to comment on what they’re doing or how happy they are based entirely on what they are showing us through social media. Trust me when I say I so often fall victim to the comparison and envy of someone with a beautifully curated online persona. But I have to remind myself that our lives are so much deeper than that.

As time passes, I find myself more protective over the things I care about most, and ultimately less willing to display them on the social media world; as if not to cheapen them.  In a world of oversharing, it is a beautiful act of rebellion to keep parts of our lives personal and off the internet. This idea is pushing me to become more present in each moment without feeling like I need a picture for Instagram to give it weight, allowing my relationships to become more fulfilling, and my days more enriched.

As silly as it may be, I still enjoy sharing the "pretty" parts of my human experience through little squares on an app, but I’m certainly becoming more conscious about my mindset surrounding it. I try not to forget that social media is nearly a highlight reel. There is freedom in accepting that life is nearly never as it seems through someone’s feed, but can still be appreciated in the way it’s being presented. At the end of the day, we are all just specks hanging out on a little blue dot anyways, looking to be acknowledged and appreciated for our own journeys, and that is a beautiful image that no amount of likes will ever be worthy of.