Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Do you want to know? (07/06/16)

Think of the following like a Venn Diagram- I have two ideas that I want to connect, but I also think each has merit by itself. (Sorry I haven't been able to post recently. Summer scheduling is unreliable for me.)

Thought 1: We all have those memories we would erase if we could... Remember when you said something awkward in front of someone important? Or when you broke a bone or sprained an ankle doing something you admit was stupid? [Add your own moment of stupidity here] Why do we have to remember such painful memories?

As a kid, the worst part is when Mom or Teacher comes up to you and asks, "Now what did we learn from that? Are we ever going to do that again?" The truth is, the lesson you learn is valuable. It's not okay to hit your brother or sister when they make you angry. You shouldn't climb trees in flip flops. Don't pour all the soap into the washing machine at once.

What's your least favorite subject in school? Math? Science? Or even [gasp] English? (Don't worry, I won't judge.) I would personally pay someone if they found a way to teach me everything I needed for U.S. History if I wouldn't have to experience the actual classroom learning. I've been taught from the Native Americans and Explorers to the Civil War so many times that I'd be happier learning four times as much world history as long as there isn't any U.S. History. (You are entitled to your own opinion... provided you don't deprive anyone of theirs.)

Long story short, life is full of things we want to know but don't want to actually experience. Only when we experience them do we truly understand the lessons they teach us, even if it's just to avoid the same thing happening again.

Thought 2: (edited later on 07/06/16) Here's a big subject of controversy: Is social media taking away how much we like ourselves? I would argue that it it does, but not entirely. (Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, as this is all speculation and not inherently accurate. I'm also using several blanket statements, so counterexamples are very welcome.)

First of all, we feel extra pressure to perfect our outer appearances. We raise our standards to find ourselves presentable to others, and then we judge ourselves by the convoluted and not necessarily accurate feedback we get from others. Our eyes are trained to spot our imperfections in the mirror rather than our own beauty.

More importantly, our phones and computers keep us always busy. Sometimes we almost mindlessly pass the time watching other people's creations that we miss time we should spend with ourselves, pondering the little things in life and waltzing through our thoughts. You could be improving one of your many skills, but it's so much easier to tune out and enjoy those of other people.

On the flip side, how much self harm did we give ourselves before social media? Human nature never changes, so what we did before isn't the pure result of our extra connections online. It may just be a little more distilled. Also, the internet is just a tool for how we want to use it- if we want to find good ideas and harness them, we can get to know ourselves better and engage our creativity. If we just want to connect with friends from far away, there's no shame in that. And does the positive reassurance and connection over common experience actually help us feel better?

Social media or not, we still have a problem with accepting ourselves. Right now, try to honestly answer yourself: How much do you really like being you? Could you spend an entire day without access to the outside world and truly enjoy your own company? Can you make fun of yourself and enjoy the laugh without the anxiety of taking what you say to heart? Are you comfortable in your own skin?

Thought 3 (somewhat combination of Thought 1 and Thought 2): I have a wish. It's a strange wish, and I don't think I would enjoy it if it really came true, yet I somehow still wish it.

I wish I could secretly videotape myself acting as a normal person so I could see what's really happening.

No, really! I want to know if I look like an idiot if I do something a certain way, and I want to see how people react when I can't see them as myself. Am I leaving someone out? Do I unknowingly bother someone who secretly hates me? Is it obvious if I try to hide something? How does what I'm doing match up with what I think it looks like? (Do I sound too paranoid to you? I think I'm asking too many questions.)

I want to know, but I don't want to learn. I want to know that I look like an idiot when I do something, but  it's painful to find out. How much can I handle learning about myself? Will I like myself better if I "fix" what I didn't realize was wrong? Or is it not worth the pain of knowing my own faults?

It's the age-old question: "Does this dress make me look fat?" The woman asking this question (or man, although much less often, so I'm just assuming the asker is a she) needs the self confidence of knowing she's beautiful. Protecting her now eases the momentary pain of hearing the harsh truth, especially in a fragile situation involving a mirror and her harsh self judgement. But what about in the long run? When she finally finds out the hard truth, she'll be crushed to know that everyone had to see her in a less flattering way. Does she want the pain now, or save it for later?

Again, social media may act as a catalyst for this. I could accidentally say something really embarrassing on this blog right now, and many more people would be able to see it. Some friendly reader may stop and tell me what I did wrong, but people can hide behind their screens and assume someone else can tell me or just laugh off my insecurities and move on. That's why I like constructive criticism so much- I'd rather know I look like an idiot and come to terms so I can better embrace my weird self and not have to worry about the aftereffects when I find out later.


  1. (btw, these are comments I made BEFORE her edits)

    huh. I had never actually thought of that before--super interesting. I like how you tied the two ideas together!!
    -you made several reasoning "brushstrokes"/blanket statements/generalizations that don't help your logic (specifically in the 2nd idea). Example: Some people get on social media to get inspiration and to stockpile ideas for their own creativity. Some people get on to connect with their friends. Others use social media to advertise and actually sell their products and services. Social media can often be a help to a person's individuality and creativity. Like money (1 Tim. 6:10: "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil"), it's a heart issue. I think that envy and self-depreciation and the whole human idealism is just a part of human nature: it has always been around. (btw, I appreciate that you said you think social media DOES take away how much we like ourselves, but not ENTIRELY)
    Example: you said -- "First of all, we feel extra pressure to perfect our outer appearances." I would argue that that would/could/does happen in any circumstance. What's the saying? "Keeping up with the Joneses"? It is in our nature to envy anyone in our visual range/acquaintances (I can't think of the right way to say this...). I guess anyone that we come into contact with has the power to make us put ourselves down. But in today's world, our contact level is simply BROADENED. We know/see/hear more people in the world than ever before. You have to keep your factors separate and accounted for.
    That was incoherent. I'm sorry. Hopefully you got the gist of that...
    Also, I would suggest drawing out the conclusion a little more. I thought it was super interesting how you brought the two ideas together and I wish you had elaborated on that a little more. Don't preach, but your writing is so good and I love your ideas so much that I want more!!
    So. I will definitely read your blog!! (when I have timeeeeeee...) Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!! I enjoyed reading it. I loved your writing. Your logic was good. Your content was unique. Your depth was good.
    ~Naomi C

    1. Thanks for your input! I was trying to make my point too much without thinking realistically about what I was trying to say. I'm also occasionally inclined to make blanket statements, too.