Find the Magic and Keep it to Yourself
Our world right now is one that is constantly sharing almost everything and anything that happens to us; I mean, “pics or it didn’t happen” has stretched far beyond a joke to almost an unspoken law of our society. So, this topic goes against all of that. Don’t get me wrong, sharing is awesome, because it creates space for community building through relating with others and learning from each other, but I think Instagram has really pushed us into the realm of oversharing, when there are things that are simply better off being kept to ourselves. There’s a sacredness that comes when things kept to yourself, I think; kind of like knowing a secret that nobody else ever will.
Social media shows us sneak-peaks into the lives of the people we are interested on a 24/7 basis, but it’s done in a way that makes us feel that we should be doing the same thing or living in that type of way. I feel that this invites a cloudiness into our minds, where our own interpretation and understanding of things is compromised based on who we are and not what the masses are doing our thinking. When we share things online (or in person) we tend to do so with an expectation of how it will be received and what the reaction will be, but when that’s not met with how you thought it would be, we can feel disappointed, and that’s totally understandable, but we also may start questioning ourselves and whether our original feelings were even true to begin with, leaving us in conflict with our own selves. Some situations require time to process and unpack what it means to us as individuals, and maybe the highest outcome can only happen by allowing the time to digest it raw and unfiltered by the mind or eyes of another.
Nowadays, whenever I am in a situation or experience something where I’m tempted to grab my phone and snap a picture or hit record, I just pause to reflect on why that is. It could be something pleasant or something shocking or something funny. Just taking an extra second to ask myself why my instinct is to document this; for what purpose? Usually it’s just out of habit and sometimes it’s because I want others to experience it too. There are times when I decide against it, and other times I confirm that it’s something I would like to share and so I do. I’m not saying this is what everybody needs to do, but it is a way that I have learned to be more present in the moment. I found that, for me, the act of taking a picture of something that’s happening actually takes away from the essence that is already in front of me and the magic that I’m a witness to. For example, when I want to take a picture of a glorious sunset, the act of trying to get the perfect shot will automatically take away from my ability to fully appreciate the beauty of it in the moment before it’s gone. Whether I get the shot or not, it automatically gets in the way of how I will experience it; the emotional and bodily responses that came when I first encountered the sunset are minimized and dulled, because I’m no longer completely in the present moment.
With instagram, our lives are literally put on display — only a small fraction, of course — but it adds a lot of pressure and maybe even anxiety, because it feels like we’re constantly being watched. When we’re always bombarded with what’s going on with others and what their going through and their projections and perceptions of the world, it can cause a lot of fuzziness in our minds and what we know to be true for us. To counter this, I believe a great way to balance this is by practicing voluntary isolation in order to better get to know who we are and understand our true selves. I’m a huge advocate for self-inquiry and self-exploration. Who are you behind closed doors, when no one is watching? Do you like how you act? And when answering, try not to incorporate how you think your friends would see you or how your parents would react or how your partner may feel. Just you. Do you like yourself? If yes, why? If no, why not? Quiet all the external noise and ponder on it. Some of us may have never had the opportunity to even reflect on who we are without any outside influence, but how can we grow into the unique individual beings that we were all meant to be if we haven’t even have the chance to learn about ourselves?
The same goes for sharing stories, too. The way you react to something may be completely different to how I react, even if we are looking at the same thing, because of our personal lived experiences and who we are. Something that resonated with me may not resonate with you, and I think that’s beautiful. We’re all different and we all have a deep ocean mind — like I mean deep, deep — deeper than we will ever fully grasp. I think that spending time alone to reflect on ourselves in a loving, curious, and well-intentioned manner is a great starting point to self-discovery. I also think it helps us learn how to be ourselves at all times, no matter where we are and no matter who is around. We will learn how to find home everywhere we are, because home will be understood as a feeling we’ve found inside ourselves, not a place, just inside ourselves.