I mute people on social media. No, they’ve done nothing wrong. No, it’s not that I’m not happy for them and no, it’s definitely not that I hate them.
So why mute?
Over the break, I finally had time to relax and preoccupy myself with things other than work. I watched Netflix, listened to podcasts about animals, attempted to leisurely read again (which didn’t last long), and scrolled through social media just a little bit more.
I stumbled across a few friends on Instagram who were thriving in their career of choice. I clicked on their profiles, watched their stories, viewed their highlights, and basically became well-aware of the milestones they’ve achieved in the past year.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was genuinely happy for them – even proud to some extent, to see them grow from dreaming to attempting and finally, succeeding.
After a couple of minutes (or probably more) of scrolling, I started to feel something different. It wasn’t jealousy, neither was it envy. It was pity. Pity that I wasn’t succeeding in the way they were. Pity that if they could, I should too, but I’m not.
Before we jump into conclusions, I’d like to make it clear that it’s not their fault. I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to post their achievements. It’s rather beautiful to have glimpses of such moments.
The issue laid within me. A creature named discontentment crept in with every picture and video I saw. Why am I not earning enough to afford that? Why’d they get sponsored? Why can’t I have more likes than them? Why do they get to travel so much? The list goes on.
So I mute people. Not because I hate them, but because I’ve discovered that the more I feed my soul with these things, the less content I feel about my own life.
Thus brings the follow-up question: Why don’t you just unfollow or unfriend?
Whether we like it or not, a social media connection somewhat represents a willingness to communicate or even a way of showing that you’re there if they need you.
I feel that the internal issue I have shouldn’t affect the relationship we’ve built.
It’s possible to be genuinely happy for someone without seeing what they’re pursuing, achieving, and succeeding in.
It’s also possible that once I’ve overcome this personal hurdle, I’ll be able to see them, support them, and be genuinely happy – with no pity attached.