Why You Don't Need To Share Every Aspect Of Your Life With The World
I tend to be pretty set in my own ways. Okay, fine, that's just my way to explain that I'm somewhat of a stubborn assh*le when it comes to certain things.
But, it makes me feel better to know that I'm just a product of my environment. I don't have to feel as bad about how I am because I know that my fellow Millennials are, in fact, also stubborn assh*les.
So, imagine my chagrin when I write something that I believe to be literary gold (or at least worthy of a trending Twitter topic) and I'm met with social discord. Attention readers: Please note, the above sentence was a purely satirical. I'm no Fitzgerald.
The point is, not everyone will love what you write or care about what you have to say. Still, this won't stop people from having opinions about things. That's just life. People may not like it and they may not care, but they'll listen. And so, we share.
Social media has provided us with an opportunity to share our views on a plethora of subjects that range from current political events to our sh*tty exes.
We have platforms on which we're able to rant, dissect, poke fun and publicize everything that happens to us, whether it's significant or not (it’s usually not).
You all know what I'm talking about: that chick on your Instagram feed who's fighting with her boyfriend again for the hundredth time this week. You know this because she posted another quote that Marilyn Monroe probably never uttered.
It's also that guy on your Twitter feed who publishes three-part tweets about the current state of national affairs. There's a character limit for a reason, people.
With all of these avenues for sharing things — even the most trivial of things — available to us, we've all gotten a little too comfortable. We've gone into overshare mode without worrying about the repercussions.
Sure, there's a certain kind of solace in knowing that strangers can relate to your stories. There's strength in numbers, after all. However, we shouldn't be looking for solace in other people; we should understand that not every story merits sharing.
I read the following quote once, and up until recently, used it as a basis for everything I would ever write or even, to an extent, say:
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
F*ck yes! I was no longer concerned about stepping on toes or offending. It didn't matter if I was inadvertently exposing someone in the process of telling my stories.
I had a foolproof defense; I owned everything that happened to me. If someone didn't want to have a positive role in my rants, then, yeah, he or she should have treated me better.
For the most part, people remained anonymous, but it wasn't hard for people who knew me to guess the characters, or even worse, assume I was referring to a totally different person.
I understand that not every person writes about his or her problems and then slaps them on the Internet for the whole world to see. This also applies to our daily, non-virtual lives.
Many of us engage in a healthy dose of daily sh*t talking. We talk about what's going on in our lives to friends, coworkers and even strangers. We share every detail, which is often far too many. We tell our stories to whomever wants to listen.
But, what about the other people in our stories? Maybe these people don't want their stories told.
The truth is, while we may "own" everything that's happened to us, we definitely don't have sole custody of it.
Whatever you read and whatever you hear is a perspective, no more and no less. You either agree or you don't. Depending on our emotions in a given moment, we can make people out to be monsters or heroes.
We often believe what we're told. If I write about someone and call the person a prick, you'll believe it and accept it because it's the only perspective you've been offered.
Unfortunately for us, emotions are a tricky thing. Often fleeting and ever-changing, it's fairly easy to go from adoration to hatred or vice versa pretty quickly. Then what? What happens when your perspective changes?
Stop oversharing. Stop telling your stories to anyone who will listen. You'll forever become that person; the one who can't be trusted; the one who causes people to put up their guards.
Instead, focus on creating rather than sharing. Our generation's constant need for validation and approval from virtual strangers has become a tiresome thing. It's futile and it doesn't matter.
If we refrain from sharing an event or situation, it doesn't become any less valid or exciting. Rather, the event or situation becomes more personal, more valuable.
Loose lips sink ships, my friends. So let's focus a little more on biting those tongues.
The silence will do us all a little good.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter