When numbers lie I break them down. I learn to understand the equation that arrived to this conclusion that is a lie. Once I understand, I free my mind.
A huge quarter-life issue is happiness. Scratch that, a huge life issue is happiness. Not happiness in and of itself, but the re-evaluation of that subject matter. Regardless of how Zen or badass you may be, once in a while you will compare yourself to your neighbors. If the word hater comes out of your mouth to describe people that do not like you, then chances are that you are ALWAYS comparing yourself to your neighbors. Comparison is the thief of joy, but it can also be a motivator, so compare wisely, my friends.
What is happiness? Is it when all your chackras are perfectly balanced? Is it having 100 Facebook likes on a picture? Is it getting your tweets re-tweeted or having 12,000 Instagram followers you’ve worked hard to follow back? Is it knowing that your parents are proud of you? Or is it having every material wish manifested? Is it being in love? Is it being financially stable? Is it being mentally stable?
Happiness cannot be counted in numbers. I know this sounds redundant, but as Dominicans say, “ni tu te lo crees,” meaning, ” not even you believe yourself.” We all know this, but being raised in the U.S.A, a country that values how good you look on paper over how happy or kind you are as a person, it is easy to get caught up in the mess. We all know that what we see is often not what we get, but sometimes it is good to remind yourself.
For my college thesis I wrote a 68page paper on social media and the way it affects our interactions with each other. I conducted an anonymous survey with over 300 people, asking them intimate questions about social media. From this survey and extensive research I concluded that:
1. The more you are on social media, the more unhappy you are.
2. Those with the longest posts, for example 2 paragraphs describing how an event or week went in detail, might actually be suffering from depression.
3. No one believes the bullshit, but most of us agree to follow the unwritten rules of social media in order to “keep face.”
- Face-work: A term used by Goffman (sociologist) to refer to the actions taken by individuals to make their behavior appear consistent with the image they want to present. To keep face is to keep that image consistent and help others in keeping their own image consistent so that your own “Face,” is not threatened in the future.
Yes, except for a select few, we all know that social media is a lie. However, it still affects our lives because we no longer value alone time and our brains are addicted to new information (even if that information is useless).
When I feel overwhelmed by what I see on social media I personally have my go-to Facebook friends. My go-to friends are people who I know are kind and happy, but who do not stress social media or abide by its rules, and thus do not get many likes. Their profiles serve as a reminder that happiness and likes are not correlated. The numbers of likes or followers I receive never bother me; what bothers me is when people who I know in real life for who they truly are, successfully keep face. It makes me feel as if I am surrounded by impostors and no one else seems to care.
(Imposer bunny posing as a penguin)
I have a strong sense of justice that at times serves as my worst enemy. Why should I care if people are able to hide their true character from the rest of the world? But there are things in this world that are factual, straight-forward and you can put your entire faith on, because these things are real and they exist. These things have been researched extensively and these facts rest comfortably in the universe.
I recently had a conversation where someone mentioned not being able to trust atheists. She said, “Who do they go to when things go wrong?” to which I responded with the following:
When an atheist has lost faith in humanity, they put their faith in knowledge. They look at the all-mighty scientific universe and realize how small they are compared to the galaxy. How reliable facts can be. So reliable that you can rest your head on them in times of need and feel them comfort you when you are feeling defeated. How philosophy is never ending and how facts are constantly expanding. If this is not spiritual, I don’t know what is. When you are constantly looking to understand the world, there is no end to its beauty, no end to how much knowledge you can acquire. The faith of an atheist rests on the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child without having to experience the dangers that come with naiveté. It is to see the world in black and white, while knowing all the colors in between.