The art of acting has taken over human life more than we like to think. Taking a selfie, acting out a skit on TikTok, and even choosing the best lighting for an Instagram worthy photo are all examples of people staging moments in their lives to put on a good show for the world. We can’t help but become self-absorbed by our beauty, success, and outward contentment when validation is being received by everyone who stares at our lives in awe and wonder.
It is cliche, however, to believe that social media is a detriment to mental health. Many creatives, such as photographers, artists, writers, and influencer’s make a living by sharing their talents and skills with the world through digital means. These individuals have mastered the balance of acting on social media and living life to the fullest, which has more to do with character development than one may think.
I am currently reading, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, where I came across the idea of a proactive vs. reactive mindset. Covey’s argument is based on the idea that if individual’s choose to adopt certain values within their character, they are better able to deal with the variable factors of their surroundings. For example, if one chooses to adopt humility, they will not allow pride to over-inflate their ego, thus, reducing the risk of an explosion when they find out the perceived image of themselves does not match reality.
In the era of social media, where one tweet can tarnish an individual’s reputation in a few hours, it is important to return to our character values to mitigate the risk of making mistakes that could ruin our happiness – after all, a peaceful and content life is the end goal of most people. Before we post anything, whether it be a political opinion, screenshots of private conversations, or even a harmless meme, we should be critically thinking about what effect it has on those that view it, and the poster themselves.
However, some people may find it absurd that so many rules and customs should be followed on a site that encourages individuality. It is true that the act of having a social media account means that one has the right to post about anything and everything, as long as the terms and conditions are followed. However, this gives the account holder the power to create a facade of happiness, which may lead to detrimental mental health.
When we plan too much, we symbolically cast a viel over our faces so that people can barely see the emotion being it. Our worth becomes defined by the number of likes we get on a post, rather than the fluctuations of spontaneity that human beings are meant to have. If we are indifferent to the opinions of those around us and act according to our whims, however, we risk being deemed unacceptable by societies’ hidden rules and customs, and will have to live in the jungles of Madagascar eating dinner with howler monkeys in the bush.
Therefore, I believe that in the movie of life people should be conscience of their conscience decisions up to and until their happiness is preserved. The extent to which this is done varies between people, as some put more value on society than others. We all fit on this spectrum, but those that plan for society more will find themselves changing frequently than those grounded in their personal worth. Those who rely on their own beliefs will sometimes find themselves ostracised, ridiculed, and humiliated for being different. It is these laws of nature that both choreograph and add feeling to the scenes of our life, hopefully providing a movie that has both a concrete plan and a wall of impenetrable passion. We are all actors and we are all audience members and it is this fact that should humble us to treat each other with dignity and grace.
Masters of social media have learned overtime to walk this fine line with care and grace. They are careful not to create a facade of someone that they are not, but are not afraid to take videos of themselves as they are – human. It is a battle that young adults and beyond need to face. Hopefully by the end of it, we are better people when we find this balance, and can have a movie that we are proud of by the end of it.