“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.“
—1 Corinthians 13:9-10
One of the funniest yet worst feelings is when you go on-line to relax yourself but ‘lo and behold, you were instead stressed of all the envy you felt after seeing the images of friends in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
It is easy to feel sorry about yourself after seeing how well your friends are doing once you login to your social network accounts. While you find that nothing remotely interesting is happening in your life for months or perhaps years, you see your friends marrying the love of their lives, eating in the most expensive restaurants, watching the latest Iron Man film in IMAX 3D theatre, attending the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and obtaining the same afterwards and going places like the beaches because it’s summertime in the Philippines or even Paris. Believe it or not, all these events appeared in my social networks in a span of a week.
And what am I doing? Let us just say, our house helper just arrived from her two-week vacation yesterday. Guess who took over almost all her job?
When I saw all of these things on-line a year ago, I probably feel sorry about myself again for having a very “boring” life. But I came to mature and realize one of the most basic natures of every human being: We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves. First of all, it is no secret how many people, especially girls, who Photoshop their images before posting it as their profile pictures in the social networking sites. I saw some of my Facebook friends who are so blemish-free in their profile pictures that they hardly resemble such pictures in real life. I never altered my pictures but I am guilty in a way that there are times where I take about ten shots just to have that perfect profile picture. Sometimes, I even go beyond ten. This is a fact that I can never be proud of myself. The point is, if we choose carefully or even alter our profile pictures, most certainly we do the same of our posts in our social networking sites.
Simply put, the Internet is an avenue of partial truths. We get to decide what people see and what they don’t. Yes, one may seem very blissful of marrying the love of her life but what we don’t know is deep inside she only married the man because she was impregnated by him and she is currently unemployed and has no means to support her baby. Yes, a person may be seen eating with friends in an expensive restaurant but we do not know how he starved for several weeks just to meet with his friends’ expectations that he could actually afford such place. Yes, one may have watched the latest movie in IMAX, but she only did so in order to escape her abusive father temporarily who beats her up and her mother whenever he gets drunk. Yes, one may appear to buy all the latest gadgets and thingamajigs but would one be crazy enough to post his credit card statement of account which he only pays the interests for years?
The infamous Greek philosopher, Plato, once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” We all have our own crosses that we bear and do not burden ourselves further with envy with the partialities our friends posts in the Internet. Also, we must ask ourselves if we do really know these people that we really follow or observe. Personally, I have more than 800 friends in Facebook and I could say that I really know and care only about 50 persons there. The rest are high school batch mates (almost all are my friends and we are almost 400 students in our batch), friends from gym (I lasted only for four months and I do not really contact anyone from them), distant relatives who added me (my surname “Ayuyao” is a very rare surname), old classmates and friends from college and my first law school (majority of them I do not talk to anymore), some are my old teachers or professors (who I admire and I just added so that I could still get some bits and pieces of their wisdom whenever I feel lost), some friends of friends who I met only once in my life, and some people in my current school now (we added to have groups to share files, make announcements and ask for help in some matters). There is no point comparing ourselves with these people. Reality bites that even your closest friends before move on, have a life of their own and live a life separate from yours. There is a point when you do not really know them anymore except of the life they tried projecting to everyone by their posts in the Internet. And since we hardly know them anymore, what is the point of comparing our lives with strangers?
Sure, we cannot say adios anymore to the Internet at present. For many of us, the Internet became not just a luxury but a necessity. The Internet inspires, teaches and connects us. But do not use it to compare your life to another person. Instead of comparing, start living your own life. Life has a fair share of surprises for all of us. The only way to do find it is by logging out of your computers every once in a while.