A couple of years ago, my life was an open book.
I posted on social media everything that happened to me, from chipped nail polish to matters that concerned my then partner and me. Whenever something came up, I’d craft my status in my head, carefully choosing the wittiest words or the most madrama, depending on the situation.
On social media, I got the validation I craved. I received the sympathy I was hoping to get from people I held dear. I was everyone’s darling.
Or so I thought.
I don’t know what took me so long, but one day, I realized that the habit of sharing everything on social media was actually toxic. It seemed harmless, especially when people supported your posts with a “like” and some comments, but allow me to share with you how social media suffocated me and why I now think it’s wiser to keep personal matters private.
People always had an opinion
It’s nice to hear a fresh perspective from friends, family, and people who truly care about your welfare. But remember that your friends list is not exactly reserved for people you’d trust with your life. It’s a hodgepodge of people you really know, vaguely remember, and whose friend requests you don’t even recall accepting.
Putting your personal matters out there meant giving both people whose opinion you value and total strangers the right to comment on otherwise private matters.
The ugly truth is, some people derive satisfaction from being spectators of other people’s personal affairs. The concern arises when their opinion of who you are and what you should be doing starts to affect your perception of yourself.
Your relationships are no one else’s business
Don’t fight me on this. Whatever happens in your relationship is no one else’s business. But when you put it out there, for everyone to analyze and overanalyze, you make it their business, too. It’s like inviting people — complete strangers, friends, and people you thought were your friends — to assume things about your relationship. Assume is the word, because really, what do they know about your struggles except for what they can read on your wall?
Think of the last time you posted about a misunderstanding between you and your partner. Do you remember how many people urged you to end the relationship? Do you recall how many went ahead to speak ill of your partner? How many times did you give in to their cajoling?
Putting your personal life out there not only makes you vulnerable to judgment; sometimes, when emotions are high and reason is clouded, other people’s opinion could even make you do and say things you would later regret.
You don’t need validation from other people
At one point, I realized that I was actually posting so much because I wanted to prove people wrong. I wanted to show everyone who told me I was with the wrong person that they’re all mistaken. So I made sure to post every single milestone in our relationship. Flowers? That will go on Instagram. A romantic date? That will go on Facebook, complete with a cheesy quote that does nothing to describe the current state of our relationship.
I didn’t realize that posting these details Facebook was intoxicating our relationship. I became so blinded by the varying reactions I was getting that I failed to see the state of our relationship as it really is. My view of our relationship depended so much on the validation and approval of others, that it drained the pure intentions of our actions and eventually, the certainty in our feelings.
A Private Life is a Happy Life
One day, I decided to do social media cleansing. I stopped hogging friends and kept my circle small. I abandoned my old account with thousands of friends and created a new one. I filtered my new friend’s list by adding only those I know in real life and with whom I see myself developing strong relationships with.
And then, I started posting less about my personal life. I try to shy away from long posts that detailed my recent fight with my partner, or why Tita Baby and I have ceased to talk. I reserve such intimate talks for my small circle of trusted friends.
When I stopped feeling the need to share on social media everything that’s been happening in my life, I became less anxious. I became less afraid of people’s judgments. I began to think less about what people could be saying about me behind my back.
I know deserved that peace of mind, and you do, too.
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Pint-sized Pinay. Writer by day, mermaid by night. Loves coffee, elephants, and the old book smell. Adoptive Mom to Churro, Laya, Alab, Chelsea, and Ivory, who all have four legs.