Feeding our egos, starving our souls

05/12/2013

A whole lot of our live long days are increasingly being spent interacting online. Social media, I’m looking at your cute little butt, and particularly at your ability to suck our precious time in to your well-designed and addictive vortices. I think we can all acknowledge that online interaction is largely out-trumping our real life interactions nowadays.

I want to share this short lil’ video that went viral a few months back. It’s about how our online behaviour affects our offline wellbeing, and I urge you to have a quick watch if you haven’t already:

The video covers off on the irony that the more we connect online the more we’re socially regressing as a species. We’ve become very adept at crafting an immaculate online presence for others to see. Our ego loves this because it serves as a crafty fortress – built to withstand vulnerability, and subsequently, true intimacy. Online we can virtually be, in the immortal words of Sia, titanium.

How many of us know people who’ve put fun-loving status updates of themselves up for all to see, when we know they’re actually curled up in a ball in the corner of a cold tiled shower cubicle bawling their eyes out? How many of us have been that person?

This isn’t meant to be a social media-bashing post, because I love twitter and his merry attendants as much as the next person, but what I am gently suggesting is that for us humanoids there’s a very fine balancing act  between our copious online connecting and solid ‘in real life’ time with one another. I believe that, beyond a certain point, our social media behaviour strays in to serious ego-gratifying territory, which is hard to reel back in. In the meantime, people get forgotten, deep friendships fall by the wayside to superficial and surface interactions, and the chance for real and true intimacy between us all is thwarted.

Humans are innately social creatures. We crave connection, friendship, conversation, love, and understanding. But I truly think that for the most part this needs to take place in 3D (or at the very least, Skype) – where we can pick up non-verbal cues, like the slight quiver of someone’s lip as they doggedly try to convince us they’re just fine thank-you-very-much.

Hugs

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I’ve reflected a little on this tug-of-war that can happen between the respective longings of my ego and soul in my world of connection and interaction (both online and off) and it looks a bit like this:

  • My soul wants me to meditate when I wake up in the morning, and not compulsively check my social media platforms.
  • My soul would rather I sit down and write than constantly try and keep up with the information super highway and its endlessly interesting and entertaining tendencies (Buzzfeed – I’m looking at you).
  • My soul would rather I pick up my long neglected paint brushes and play with my colourful acrylic paints on a blank canvas, instead of admiring well taken shots on Instagram.
  • My soul yearns to be close to the ground, mucking around in the dirt with my plants and being out in nature – earthing myself. Instead of being plugged in to my laptop/smart phone/insert other digital device here.
  • My soul wants to celebrate the goodness in others, their talents, their strengths and their beauty. My ego wants to scan for evidence of their faults, weaknesses and shortcomings, to make it feel superior.
  • My soul wants me to connect with my friends and family in person, instead of just clicking ‘like’ on the latest photo they’ve uploaded. My soul wants to give them a huge heart-to-heart hug, look in to their eyes and genuinely share in their laughter, joys and fears.

The common theme in all of the above? What my soul truly needs is to connect in a holistic and entirely authentic way to my loved ones, to the earth, and to myself.

Simple truths that are in danger of being out-gunned by virtual reality.

While I’m glad to say that I’m definitely tipping the scales in favour of my soul now, there are still times where my ego well and truly romps it in. And I suspect this could be the same for many of us.

I know we can’t all connect with our loved ones in person all the time (with half my family in Singapore, believe me, I know), but let’s try and make sure we’re communicating with them in ways that allow true, genuine connection to be shared and felt.

Social media is a wonderful tool, but we must remember to use it as just that – a tool.

Let’s try to not let it use us, because if we do, we’ll end up constantly feeding our egos – and starving our souls in the process.

A cute emoticon is sweet, but it doesn’t compare to a real life hug does it? How do you balance the use of social media and real life connection and conversation?

Photo source

8 comments :

  • Michelle Marie McGrath

    Beautiful and totally agree…..this morning I was walking down the road whilst scrolling through Instagram and bumped into a guy – who was doing the same. We both laughed but I was also a bit horrified and was like ‘come on’ as I took FB off my phone months ago, but here I was on Instagram. I have been very consciously pulling myself offline more and know I need to do it even more….and wanted to also creatively express myself in more ways – offline! 😉 Very timely gorgeous xx

    • Carly

      Haha, thanks Michelle. I find it far more disconcerting that I’m actually getting to be quite good at walking and looking at my phone at the same time…I swear we’re going to evolve as a species in to a very ugly looking hunched over creature! xx

  • Clare - Clare & Sage

    This post is absolutely fantastic and really resonated with me. Everything you covered has been on my mind lately. I have a bit of an addiction to social media and this tends to isolate me from ‘the real world’ so that softly spoken inner voice is starting to boom so am putting more non-negotiable practises in place to make my soul sing again. 🙂 Thanks for sharing hun. xx

  • Alana

    This is brilliant, Carly. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    “Our ego loves this because it serves as a crafty fortress” Love this line!

    xx

  • Emma

    Love this Carly – the more I move toward my soul the more I have to pare back on social media. It feels at the moment like I’m at saturation point for taking in new information.

    Good to know I’m not alone in feeling this 😉

    xo

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