Brace yourself, folks. Because here comes yet another entry about social media and relationships. But! I think I’ve figured out what it is that drives so many of us crazy about the people who overshare posts which overstate the obvious. Or people who share posts to make themselves feel wiser, perhaps even more mature than others. And also the people who post some downright crazy sh*t just to call attention to the fact that they’re “hardcore” and don’t give a f*ck. Basically, I’m talking about almost everyone who shares (and overshares) on social media for the sake of conveying the sense of humor, the personality, and especially the morality they want you to think they have. Which is why I’ve come to call social media posts “public proclamations.”
It seems that almost every public proclamation nowadays has become “virtue signaling“. And virtue signaling (or is it “signalling”?) is just a fancy way of saying, “I’m giving you my opinion to show you I’m morally more right than you.” Which is ironic because most are not sharing their original thought. They’re literally making a public proclamation of someone else’s watered down opinion which often times overstates the obvious. But I get it. Not everyone has the time or inclination to have a solidly good thought and then pen it. It’s just so much easier to let someone else say something relatable and then jump on the bandwagon. Once upon a time, I did it, too.
But seriously, there’s a principle in sales called the “Yes Set” technique. And it works for psychological reasons. Meme writers seem to have this down pat. They understand that being relatable is a way people say “yes” to their content. And there is no better place to see a slew of (mostly) women with their fists in the air, collectively sharing their “yeses” than when it comes to public proclamations via relationship memes.
You see, social media is a place of “public proclamations” of every kind. It’s actually the place of public proclamations. And what’s even better is people can say whatever they want from the bunker of their carefully sculpted pseudo-identities. And often they think their “likes” and shares make them appear as though they’re deep. But the truth is they come off as – what did the kids call it? Oh, that’s right…cray-cray. So indulge me for a moment as I take you on a short journey. By the end I’ll prove my hypothesis.
And I suppose this is where I should give you my hypothesis.
The type of "public proclamations" shared on social media are directly correlated with one's emotional maturity.
Public Exhibit A
The young woman who shared this post has had a most troubled life. She had opportunities to zig, but instead of putting forth the effort to make a better life, some would say she zagged and took the “easy” road. And this public proclamation is where it got her. While the stylized photo is well done and speaks to those deeply committed to their personality type, the sentiment is immature at best. It seems to imply a “through thick or thin,” “ride or die” perspective. But it’s actually nothing of the sort. We simply can’t know, or even recognize, true love if life is a mess. Honestly, when life is a mess, we can barely figure out what to have for dinner, let alone know that our one true love just swept through the door.
I can unequivocally tell you that when you’re a fucking mess, you have absolutely no business getting into a relationship. And if you do, and someone sticks around “no matter how hard shit gets,” it doesn’t mean they love you. It means that they are just as lost as you. And perhaps attracted to your dysfunction. Someone who meets you “in your mess” is salve for the wound. It makes the time it takes to heal easier simply because they divert your attention. And diversions are how people end up getting into cycles which can land them in making the same mistakes over and again. (Not saying there aren’t exceptions, but they’re rare.)
This young woman made her public proclamation by sharing this sentiment because she wants people to know how hard her life has been and that she survived. She also wants you to know that she is in a committed relationship and it’s “real.” And the man she abandoned her children for is worth it. Based on this, I’d be willing to expand on my hypothesis and postulate that the more extreme/ridiculous the public proclamation the lower the emotional maturity.
A Bit Deeper Analysis
The truth is we are using our public proclamations on our quest for self validation. But we’re utterly confused. Because we’re not validating anything for ourselves. We’re using other people’s words and sentiments to define us. And then we let other people’s little yellow thumbs and red hearts validate this imaginary version of ourselves. We literally put zero effort into our own awareness and subsequent validation.
So instead of using these public proclamations to air our dirty laundry, or make the chip on our shoulder a bit bigger, perhaps we could take the opportunity to use them to actually better our lives. Inspire ourselves to do better. To be better. To think better. Instead of just demonstrating our “yeses,” how about we challenge ourselves? We’re already using social media as a public diary, why not log something worth logging? Or at the very least, let’s stop using our public proclamations as a way to seek attention and garner more “yeses.”
Public Exhibits B – H (not kidding)
Source: I do not know who created all of these, but I left the public pages on which they were posted.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that all of these are from one person’s Facebook. And I couldn’t be more confused. So I’m going to attempt to summarize this individual’s personality and what she thinks through her public proclamations.
If you’re a grown woman, don’t be a gossip, but do be the insane type of partner who makes your man/woman check their brakes every morning. Also, be with people who don’t pull the madness out of you. (I could be wrong, but the brake line thing might mean it’s too late.) Don’t ask for anything from your man, no communication necessary, he’ll be a mind reader and exist only for you. Don’t ask him to plan a date, but never stop dating, but I only truly need my energy reciprocated. Nothing material is important, not even the flowers I’m not asking for. Mr. Right will know what I want anyway. Oh, and being myself means people might not like me.
As funny (and bipolar) as it may sound to put it all together that way, the truth is, this young woman has a diverse personality. Just like all humans. But we rarely see the person behind the public proclamations until we look closer. And the truth is, we never look closer. We’re too distracted with scrolling, liking, and all together avoiding self awareness. But there’s something more that needs to be said of all of these posts.
A Bit Deeper Analysis II
From where I’m sitting it seems that this young woman is looking for something deeper. She’s looking for a relationship which resonates within her. And all of her posts are shouting it from the roof tops. But has anyone cared to have that conversation with her? Doubtful. But they have given her 👍 and plenty of ♥️ . Being that I am loosely acquainted with this young woman, I know that she is currently avoiding countless red flags as she tries to fit someone into the vision of her perfect life. Whether she realizes it or not, she is looking for emotional maturity, but has no idea how to achieve it. So for now, these public proclamations will momentarily fill the void.
Time for My Virtue Signaling (or signalling…still not sure)
I’m sure you can see how I came to my hypothesis on the connection between social media posts and emotional maturity. And maybe you can see that emotional immaturity is perhaps the most frustrating element of social media. But believe me, I am not expert on emotional maturity. I’m on my path. There are those ahead of me, and those behind me. But as I have moved along this path I see so many (mostly women) distracting themselves from their realities with relationship ideas and ideals they wish they had, but have no idea how to achieve. Perhaps these public proclamations are an attempt to “fake it till you make it.” I can respect that. But at some point, there must be a (self) reckoning.
You see, there was a time when what we said publicly meant something. But it seems we’ve become a culture of meaningless public proclamations. So perhaps it’s time that we make our words, and the words we share, more meaningful. It is quite possible for us to use our public proclamations to mature emotionally, instead of using them as an excuse to parrot worn out phrases which keep us stagnant. Wayne Dyer once said, “Am I going to live ninety years, or the same year ninety times?” I’d say that’s rather profound, especially when it comes to our repetitive behavior on social media.
So before you share that next witty meme, ask yourself who you’re posting it for – yourself or the person you wish you were?
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