By C. Grell
An alluring selfie on Instagram gets thousands of likes. The bikini model on the cover of Cosmo, the one we once thought was obscuring the image of real women, has been replaced with a plethora of superficiality online. Whose fault is this? Is it a fault? Or is it a shift in our society that we need to pay attention to? The correlation of the increase in suicide rates and depression is a red flag that no one is paying attention to.
As a society, after a tragedy, we always hear we did not know this person was unhappy. But do you really care to help? We are so focused on our own lives that our so-called friends are out of our sphere of genuine care. What if that person is crying out for help? Would you help? Even though we complain that our society shares too much on social media, we are still missing (or ignoring) the red flags. It’s not about blame, it’s about root cause.
We are busy, we are disconnected, and we are inconsiderate. How many times have you replied to a text message saying you’re busy? How many times have you blatantly ignored a message? How many times have you given a pseudo message with a caveat that you’re in the middle of doing something or getting ready to?
The fact is, the numerous alluring selfies is not just a sign of attention, but of loneliness. Amidst hundreds of connections online, the general consensus is there are not many genuine connections for that person to call at 2 am. But let’s say you do put it out there, you make that call, you push the envelope, you send that message. What happens when there’s nothing? From what I have seen, that person is trying to reach one person or particular people. It may help if they get support from whoever might be listening, but usually, that help is rejected.
A case in point is this young girl I know. Broke up with her boyfriend, no guidance from family to steer her towards a good education, no traditional ingrained values, environment of worry, fear and no excitement or happiness, and a passive family system of she’s just drama. She is crying out for help on social media, self-diagnosed as mentally ill, taking loads of anti-depressants, yet everyone thinks she’s just looking for attention. Of course, she is! But why?
Do not make connections if you don’t have time to invest
The root cause is the environment. We cannot blame a person because of something that is brought upon them. The key is helping that person to alleviate themselves from the situation. Why is it hard for that person to get help? They seek validation or justification from that which hurt them the most. So, what do we do now? We change our attitudes. We become cognizant that everyone we connect with matters. Do not make connections if you don’t have time to invest. Don’t connect with others when you’re bored and ignore or reject them when you’re living life to your fullest. You may be all they have in their life, not just their boring times. Be considerate of people’s feelings. If people felt loved and cared for, they will be happy.
The flip side to the alluring selfie is the most dangerous side. The side where you see and hear nothing. A once vibrant person suddenly shuts down. Nothing to prove, total retraction, a silence that no one pays attention to. Out of sight, out of mind. Isolation with nothing and no one. By this time this person has more or less shut everyone out. Be present before this. Be considerate of the people you connect with.
We live in a selfish society where people are left hanging because they are treated as disposable. It’s a superficial world of “likes” and cliched comments, memes, and inspirational quotes that replace real interaction. You hit the shutdown button and lives are put on hold. You make excuses by saying my phone was dead or shut off, or I was driving and could not respond. We center our communication by the use of a device or an app that we’re no longer on. Or worse yet, to realize we are living in a different time, a time where people have their real families and an alternate world of disposable acquaintances. As the world is shrinking in the sense of online activity, we need to know our limits and our responsibilities within this sphere. Your actions can do one of two things, it can make someone happy or it can leave them sad. We all have a part to play, lets always do the right thing.