Thoughts on a World of Relentless Self Promotion

So here we are again, it’s been a while! I wrote before I went to Sri Lanka about my own struggle with social media in relation to the blog and the pressure I was putting on myself. It’s something that has been on my mind for a long time, but I feel like it’s finally time to get it off my chest.

I’m not even sure where to start with it all, but, well – what’s it all about really? Don’t you ever wonder what the point of it all is?! It seems to me that there are so few people these days that actually really value just being in the moment. Just living life and observing. Why is it that everywhere we go we seem to place more value in recording and sharing the moment? Now don’t get me wrong, I love photography, but that doesn’t mean I need to take pictures of everything and anything, and really, there are times I go places when I just want to enjoy it, I don’t even think to take a photo or record something for snapchat or instagram, and I’m happy with that. There’s a lot to be said for just living your life – being in the moment as a participant rather than just a spectator through a lens.

We are living in a world of relentless self promotion, being conditioned to believe that this is the way we should be living, but why? Do we all have to ‘do’ something? To ‘be’ something? I AM something already, I am a mother, a wife, and first and foremost, I am ME. It sometimes seems to me that we’ve all forgotten what it is to really live. Isn’t the most important thing just to really live life?

I’ll always remember one New Year’s Eve I spent with my older brother and his friends when I was 18. After several drinks, with the forthcoming year in mind the conversation turned to what everyone wanted from life. Going around the table everyone answered, some, fairly simple desires and some quite emotional based on personal experiences, but then it came to me, and I answered with a heartfelt “I just want to be happy”. And in not quite the response I’d been expecting, everyone laughed. Yes, I’ll never forget that evening because of that moment. They all laughed at me. I was written off as being young and naive, and not really knowing myself well enough to know what I wanted from life yet. But what was wrong with my answer? It always struck me as very sad that everyone thought that way, that they felt so certain I’d change my mind as I grew older.

Back to now, and I didn’t start my blog to make money, or to seek fame or even just to ‘be’ someone and validate myself somehow. I started my blog because I love to write. That’s it, I just love to write – it really is as simple as that. And I do still love writing, and blogging, but the longer I have done it the more certain aspects of it have begun to bother me. I recognise that if I want people to read what I write that there is a certain amount of promotion I need to do, but I can never quite get beyond the idea that this is what seems to make the world turn. Cue nervous laugh… perhaps I’m getting old! But, how important is social media really? I’m not looking for fame or fortune, I’m just happily doing my own thing. And yes, of course social media plays a part in modern life and there are times when it’s both fun and valuable, but is it just me that feels it’s got to the point where it’s taking over our lives? In the grand scheme of things how important is it? I’m certainly not going to look back on my life and feel validated by how many followers I have on any given social network, or how much time I spent interacting with people through a screen instead of in person. Numbers and likes don’t make anyone any better than anyone else, yet cases of depression are rising drastically based on people comparing themselves to others social media and feeling as though their lives don’t match up or aren’t good enough, or because they don’t have a certain desired number of followers. The world has gone mad! And what does it all even mean anyway, especially in this day where fraud, use of bots, fake followers and purchase of followers for the very purpose of making someone appear more powerful than they really are, is rife. And more than this, if this is where we are now, where is it all going to end up? Social media absolutely has a positive place in the world, but it has become the antithesis of what it was intended to stand for – it’s a conversation killer, a mood killer. How many times have you sat at a table only to be surrounded by people silently staring into their phones?! There’s no doubt that it has, at times, become positively anti-social.

And I’ll admit that it’s easy to get caught up in, and that’s where recently I’ve decided to step back a bit with the main purpose of reclaiming my own life, and focusing more on the things I love again, and less on the things that don’t matter. Yes, I’m still active on social media, but I’m much more mindful of the things I post rather than just posting something because I feel it’s what I should be doing. I had no idea that starting a blog would take me down the path it has, and I’m grateful for my loyal followers and opportunities the blog has brought me, but I’ve also become quite jaded about aspects of it too. As my readership has grown so have the demands – everyone seems to want something from me, and I’ve learned the hard way that much of this is to my own detriment. So I’ve had to set myself some new parameters and I’m much more at peace with that. I’m putting less pressure on myself, I’m feeling happier and more relaxed as I have more time to concentrate on the things I really want to do, not the things I think I should do.

And as true as it was when I was 18, all these years later – all I want from life is to be happy, so laugh at that if you will, but to me, that’s what’s most important and I’m focusing on not losing sight of that. Life really is too short not to, don’t you think?

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