“It’s a highly deceptive world, one that constantly asks you to comment but doesn’t really care what you have to say. The illusion of participation can sometimes lead to participation. But more often than not, it only leads to more illusion, dressed in the guise of reality” – David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
“How different would people act if they couldn’t show off on social media? Would they still do it?” – Donna Lynn Hope
About two weeks ago, I was sitting at a bus-stop. This latest harmattan breeze (sent by the Almighty to save us from the heat and mosquitoes) was already having a toll on me. Upon all the Vaseline and ‘Stella pomade’ that I applied on my skin, my ankles and elbows were as ashy as the faces of the night walkers in The Game of Thrones. But that wasn’t what was bothering me though. Honestly, my ashy elbows and ankles were the least of my worries. The quandary was that I used the money meant for the youth association in my church to play betting on Lotto and I lost everything. I mean: EVERY SINGLE DIME. Kai, e don be for me!
Now the members of my youth association have been looking for me around town so as to give me the beating of my life. I even heard one of them, who sold slippers at the market, had purchased acid to pour on my wor wor face. My goodness! So I decided I had to take a stringent step to save my life. I cannot come and go and die for nothing jare.
So there I was at a bus-stop, waiting for the next bus to escape to my village where I will stay for some time until the anger of the members of the youth association would have reduced significantly.
As I was sitting at the bus-stop with a hoodie over my head and concealing part of my face so as not to give away my identity easily, I decided to open some social media platforms to get some tea that have been spilled already. I mean, what will life be without all the drama on social media? And the news making the rounds was that a certain Nollywood actress cum singer had called it quits in her marriage. Poko Lee’s marriage had already hit the rocks even before she had the opportunity to celebrate the first year anniversary. Wow, Tragic!
In all honesty, I felt really sorry for her. In as much as I am a strong proponent of ending a marriage in which the partners aren’t happy, I still have goose pimples whenever I hear/read stories of another marriage that didn’t work. I remembered vividly when she was all over social media, dishing marriage advice to all that cared to listen, about how to find the right man and keep him.
And this now brings me to the point that was stuck within my cranium as I read the news at the bus-stop: the need for humans to seek validation on social media at all costs.
Ever since the advent of social media, man being a social animal has embraced the tool as a social apparatus to interact with other people. We get to make friends with people that we hitherto never knew existed. But while doing so, we tend to go overboard. Apart from constantly trying so hard to outdo our peers, or always trying to put up a ‘virtual self’ that is obviously different from whom we truly are, we go the extra distance in trying to get validation for things as flimsy as making the right decisions for ourselves. Folks post stuff on social media platforms that are different from what truly goes on in their lives daily. We interprete the number of likes on pictures we share as a form of validation. We translate the comments we get on our social media posts as confirmation or a nod of approval. Most times, we find ourselves having sleepless nights because of a vicious comment we receive on social media.
Let me state for the umpteenth time: seeking social media validation from others is not a phuckworthy thing. It simply doesn’t make any sense.
One time, my good friend Zinny and I were chilling at a lounge. She dey always get better gist for Omo Igboro like me, aswear. And on this day, she was telling me about a female friend that got married and she no gree make person hear word again. A post or two pointing towards how happy she was since finding the special one always graced her social media platforms on a daily. She even turned to a counselor overnight and started advising other ladies on how to successfully ‘trap and seize bae’, and how to be the perfect wife and mother in the matrimonial home.
Ironically, hers didn’t last too long. She ended it after a couple of months and confided in her close friends of how sad she had been all the while. She lived a falsely happy life just to seek validation from people. The endless comments and likes and calls she got from people made her happy, and she could trade her silent sorrows just to keep them flowing endlessly.
In life, we don’t have to prove shit to no one except ourselves. That is why I marvel at folks that spill their daily tea and put all their problems on social media. Frankly, no one gives a shit. When you do such, you think you are trying to garner pity from people by telling them your pitiable life stories. Maybe it is a form of closure for you while trying to attain the inner peace that you crave. Psst! Niggaism! Shit doesn’t work that way. Rather, you are creating a platform and a viable template for the social media vultures to launch vicious cyber attacks at you, when the shit hits the fan.
I guess people seek validation due to a need to be accepted; a form of reception into the hallowed chambers of happiness and bliss. But we’ve got to understand that we are all created differently, and as such, what makes one person happy might differ from what makes the other person happy. By all means, seek your personal happiness, as long as you don’t cause any harm to anyone else. And when you do so, it is enough. Case closed! There is no need to ponder on whether your neighbor likes your newly found happiness. There are no reasons to ask questions why that your special ‘bestie’ didn’t like the new Facebook or Instagram post you put up. It doesn’t mean he or she isn’t happy for you. Or that he or she doesn’t wish you well. It might be simply that they JUST DIDN’T feel like identifying with the post by commenting on it or liking it.
Seeking validation from others (just to feel better about ourselves) is not a phuckworthy thing. There is so much we have to focus our minds on rather than pondering endlessly on whom our happiness should gladden their hearts.
Pursue happiness as you so wish because it is an essential component of survival. But while at it, always remember Drake’s words in the song Tuscan Leather: Accept yourself! You don’t have to prove shit to no one except yourself. And everything good will come.
Fading score: You could be happy by Snow Patrol