These last few weeks have been really stressful for me, and for many reasons too. After sharing my previous post with my peers, I quickly learned that there a lot people who you barely know that will be a friend and support you. There also many people who you consider as friends who will disapprove or even avoid you.

I decided to unplug from everyone and the web for several days. I thought I would feel lonely, but it really helped me to think things through. I punched a couple of walls, threw some tantrums here and there, and cried on the phone to some close friends. In the end, I felt like the privacy helped me to unwind and think about my issues. It made me realize how important if me would be to many people. I’m disappointed that I haven’t had time to work on it this term.

It also made me realize how nobody ever wants to vulnerable to their peers. Not only does this hold true at school, but also on Facebook. After sharing my previous post, I got a lot of private messages from people I barely knew who told me some of their stories. I felt like I encouraged people to open up in some way. We bottle up so much, and even when we hit a “breaking point” we never share the bigger story with others. For many, this story is too painful, humiliating or difficult to tell. There are people who are willing to listen, but there are also people who do not want to know “too much” about you.

Nobody really answers “What’s on your mind?”. Social media is just an extension of the offline world – people are putting their best face forward even when they shouldn’t. We have become obsessed with maintaining our persona. This weekend I overheard two people comparing how many likes they got on a post. On the bus today, I saw someone opening and closing their profile picture several times. I know some people who act like their vapid status updates or check-ins are breaking news.

“You didn’t see my update or some person’s comment about it?!”

“Let me spend hours thinking of witty statuses!”

“Ooh, what’s a good lyric to put beside my new selfie?”

“I must capture all of the memorable moments and also choose the right filter for them.”

“Let me assert how happy I am with this new [job, item, relationship, etc.] by complaining about it.”

Why do we even care about this?

Of course, it boils down to self-esteem. We live in a culture where acceptance is gained through successes or advantages. At the same time, if you don’t humble-brag then you are too confident. If you’re feeling vulnerable, there is a stigma attached to telling others about it.

You are either:

  • Too needy
  • Attention-seeking
  • Annoying
  • Or desperate

Most people don’t openly tell others that they are struggling. It’s something people only share with close friends and family or a therapist. I always fear that people will pity me too much – be too scared to talk to me because they are afraid of offending me. Although I’ve shared a lot, I am still hiding things. It is just sad that we let ourselves get unfairly judged by a society that also make us too self-conscious to speak out. It’s a double-edged sword, but we have the power to unplug and expose ourselves whenever we want to. There is no shame in that, and it’s better than lying to yourself.

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  • I honestly, feel your struggle. In 2004, I discovered that I have an unknown type of Seizures. Recently, I was able to go to a really good Neurologist, and was told they are happening due to stress. I’ve had one of these seizures (which I call Earthquakes) in front of my best friend. After she had seen me have one — she dumped me as a friend. I thought how low and self centered that was of her. But than I realized that she was sheltered and probably feared that I would have another in public. I think she wanted to spare me the trouble of being embarrassed. But still it hurt to be dumped as a friend. Bottling emotions is never a good thing. I’ve had family that has hurt me (emotionally) countless times, and I’ve tried so hard to push those feelings of hate, and frustration, and anger down. Finally, I gave up and lashed out. I am done with those that hurt me. You shouldn’t allow things matter so much. You should only allow the things that do matter to you :). You seem like a nice person, and I’m sorry you’re going through something.

    • That sucks to hear that you lost your friend that way πŸ™ It bothers me so much that people can be selfish in that type of situation.
      Yeah, the best thing to do is accept that certain people in your life aren’t worth “winning over”. Your health (physical, emotional, and/or mental) comes first.
      Thanks for the support πŸ™‚ I hope you have been able to get those seizures under control! I can’t even imagine what you are going through.

  • There will be people out there who are either genuine friends or fake friends.. Which the latter shouldn’t have “friends” in it. Sometimes, we just need time to ourself to rethink things and I think you did the right thing by taking a few days “off” to unwind about the whole situation.

    There are a lot of people who cares about the things like the number of likes and so on. Like you said, it’s mostly because of self-esteem and finding ways to boost it through other people’s “approval” or in this case, like.

    I’ve been in a similar situation a couple of years ago where I thought the person I trust can’t be trusted. I learned from that and since then, I immediate cut off anyone who’s negative “for the {wrong} reasons” and it made my life easier. Do what you gotta do πŸ™‚

    PS. I don’t know specifically what will be in the Fundamentals of CIS class, but here’s a copy-pasta description:
    Computer Information Systems as an academic and professional discipline. Principles and techniques of systems development life cycle. Development of digital student portfolios through prototyping and client-developer interactions. Information systems careers and emerging trends in the IS field.

    Hopefully that helps :).

    Take care πŸ˜€

    • I hate cutting people out, but you’re right, it’s totally necessary :S
      Ah so it’s a like a full-on development course? Sounds like fun! I wish I had a course like that at my school. All my courses have a strong theory side, so there’s a lot of mathy proofs. A lot of our UI or interaction courses are relatively outdated.

      Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚

  • Kuzuki

    I used to bottle up everything and pretend everything was okay, but it didn’t help at all. Now, I’m open, maybe a little too open, but it doesn’t matter. I figure if people really care and love me, then they will stick around me no matter what. I don’t need anyone’s approval for my life. I do what I think is right. I care about connecting with people and keeping in contact with my friends, no matter what. I relate so much with your post, and I too, feel like everyone cares about likes and comment and nothing else matters. I’m glad people could open up to you. That’s always good that they can. I help a friend by being honest and free with my depression/bipolar disorder/ptsd. It helps me face it and be brave despite everything. I don’t care if I scare everyone, this is how I feel…well I’m ranting now πŸ˜›

    Take care!

    http://colormusing.haneuri.net/

    –Michelle

    • I agree with everything you said! Being honest with yourself and others is best thing to do. Yeah, I’m glad that people have really understood what I’ve written here and in other posts. I hope everything is going well with you πŸ™‚

      Rants are the best!

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