Thought for the day, a long one.
Individualism can be a positive thing. It’s wonderful to be self-reliant, independent, and focused on personal growth. However, it becomes less appealing when it turns into self-absorption. One of the reasons why I took a step back from social media a good while ago is because I found myself becoming too self-involved and too consumed with being liked online. It’s such an easy trap to fall in to. “Look at meeee”. “Notice me!” In the end, it’s exhausting and takes away from things that are truly important.
Of course, one of the ways we express our individualism is through the Internet. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The danger comes when it leads to self-absorption. Let’s face it, narcissism is an epidemic and social media is the root of its contagion. There’s this desire to be seen and admired. But what does it really get us? Does it improve our well-being? Life in my opinion, should not be defined by how popular we are online. Life should be defined by how we live and treat others. It’s also not so much about what we leave behind. How many times do we say, I want to leave a legacy behind? But what kind of legacy, one that’s all about us and our achievements or one that betters humanity?
One day we’re all going to turn to dust. What matters is the now. In the end, it’s not who we knew, or what we did. It’s how we lived that matters. We can write the greatest masterpiece or paint a scene that even Monet would envy but if we live a selfish, me-centered life we’re still going to be remembered as really cruddy human beings.
There’s just so much superficial bs on the internet. Just look at Instagram and all the so-called models. Okay, we get it; you’re handsome and, yes, you’re very pretty, but what else you got? What’s your soul made of? What are your thoughts on poverty and global warming? When was the last time you helped someone who was hurting? Better question, when the last time you thought of someone other than yourself?
Another scary thing about individualism aside from a self-centered mentality is that it can be isolating and a great deterrent to empathy. We are all over here living in our own little bubbles, meanwhile people are suffering, being abused or living in abject poverty. Empathy is so important. We have to be able to see things from other’s perspectives. We can’t do that if we’re constantly worrying about ourselves and our viewpoints. One just has to look at the current political climate to see what I’m talking about.
Okay, to be fair, social media isn’t the only culprit in this self-absorbed, individualistic trend. It also has a lot to do with our culture. The roots of our country are founded on independence. We also live in a wealthy nation, and that affluence can breed detachment. The more self-reliant we become, the less we depend on others. One would have to surmise that eventually this could lead to greater economic disparity. “Well as long as I’m not struggling.” However, if we don’t care about the less fortunate, who will?
I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe if we can find a balance between individualism and collectivism. In the latter, there’s a greater emphasis on others, people work together to promote change. Family and community are everything. I know for myself, I’m much happier when I get out of my head and think of humanity. My love ones are everything to me. My greatest joy is spending time with them. Of course, it’s okay to care about ourselves. We should be proud of our accomplishments and want to be liked. We should constantly be working on becoming a better human. I don’t begrudge anyone success and self-confidence, just not at the expense of others.
Let me close on a positive note. Those of us who live in the Western world have been blessed with much: civil liberties, the rule of law, democratic processes. Very few of us need to worry about being tortured or falsely arrested. We are blessed in many ways. Social media has it merits too. It can foster a lot of good. WP is an example of that. It’s lovely to see people sharing their creativity and supporting others. Social activism many times starts online. It can be a wonderful tool for rallying the proverbial troops. Facebook and its kind can be a platform for those who are lonely or shut in to connect with people globally. There’s a lot of goodness online and off. I’ve seen it in my daily life and in all of you.
Umm…just make sure you like and comment on all my posts, follow me on all my social media accounts, buy my latest book when it comes out, and notice my back to back to back workouts selfies on Insta. Baby got it going on, yo!