admit it or not, we are living as many lives as we are having social media profiles and platforms. Information technology and artificial intelligence have changed our lives so profoundly in so many ways, that it will probably take at least another decade to catch up understanding how profoundly. Parents, teachers and other adults are hence increasingly (and justifiably) concerned about our younger generation as it has become bombarded with risk of internet addiction, selfie culture, influencers obsession and, not to say the least, frauds and traffickers.
Social media had brought another interesting phenomena. Have you ever heard a story of a young girl having 10K followers and glittery online life on one hand and is privately in massive crisis on the other, but because of her public exposure and reputation, she cannot admit it and if she did ask for help, she would have “failed” her second life and personality? This is more common than you might think and this person might even be your daughter or son, but you will have no clue about it until it might be too late.
I quite like the social media. It is a tool which can help us spread the word and share our message, keep up with people who matter, but we do not see every day and so much more. Like a knife, it is quite a useful tool (and a lethal weapon) if you use it as such. But there is one sincere promise in the content I decided to produce from the very beginning I started writing this blog in 2014. To never try to hide behind filters, make up or fake news. Undoubtedly I fail every once in a while and catch myself checking out influencers I like to follow as a form of my own escapism, but fortunately, this is rarely. This is far from easy. As someone working with people and often helping them find a way forward, I am under huge professional and public pressure. To be “normal”. The whole therapy (and similar) industry mainstream dictates that people who are in helping professions should appear as always strong, always knowing what to do, always cool and always with clever advice. Like role models, moral authorities, writing blogs and articles about what to do when X, how to react when Y or explain various mental health conditions which negatively affect people’s wellbeing, pretending they are above it and not at risk. As much as I support personal and professional mental hygiene, self care and supervision, I believe this pressure creates unnecessary barrier between us and our clients. I’d much rather say something like: “Hey, life’s seriously f***** me up a couple of times, but I’m still here and we are in this together”. And if each person would shout to another person a message of “We are humans and we are here for each other”, our communal mental health and connectedness would be different, not just measured in number of likes but also in people, who are proud to share themselves with the world as they are, not as they hope their followers want them to be.
So here is to the digital era of our multiple lives – may all of our lives and its shades shine in all of our imperfections and may our life lessons be recognised and cherished as a gift we are offering to the world, especially to young people who might be wondering what kind of people they would like to become and to show them it is possible to live a life they would enjoy even or especially when not camera ready.