I know, I know. That’s one lengthy title. But read on (if you dare) and try to understand why.
I used to read a lot of articles. You can’t blame me for that – I started to develop a love for reading since I was young and when I already became aware of how love and pain felt, I became a sucker for words. So when I started using the internet, aside from making my own personal, online diary (aka my own definition of a blog before) and wallowing on Friendster, Neopets, and other social media sites as years passed by, I drowned myself in all the articles I could possibly find no matter how diverse they were. From “10 Signs You Are An Introvert,” to “The Letter to The One That Got Away.” From “10 Things You Need To Remember To Be Successful,” to “25 Things You Need To Do Before You Turn 20.” I shamelessly shared all those articles from Elite Daily and Thought Catalog, to name two, a few years back. I’ve stumbled through more websites and shared them across various platforms already but most of the ones I did were from the two aforementioned. I quoted lines and even paragraphs from the articles I read. I posted screenshots on Facebook and Twitter. Because I felt that what I read were but mere projections of all that I felt. And then last year, a few weeks after I started working, I realized I should ditch them both and all other sites with similar content.
Before I elaborate and continue to try to explain why (in great lengths, if possible), I want to clarify that I don’t have anything against both Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and all other websites that have the same kind of articles or posts being published. No, I won’t judge you if I see you sharing an article or two in my feed. No, I’m not telling you to stop reading them. No, I’m not writing this to start a movement for them to shut down their sites. But no, I won’t click on them anymore.
I ditched them both because of one main reason: I have to stop letting other people dictate how I should feel and what I should do with my life. As a person starting to figure out her life (last year), it didn’t help me at all, you know, reading through articles that made me feel less of myself or what I’ve achieved. Either that, or I just started questioning a lot of things based on their title, without even reading them. I think this does not confine blog posts or articles only. This even applies to social media in general. You see a friend of yours uploading photos on Instagram of how she’s living her life, or see your favorite blogger/actress living the life you always wanted that you tend to belittle yourself. So you buy whatever they have with nothing to put on your savings account even though it’s not really necessary (yes, sometimes, without even them directly telling you to do so) or do, wear, and try whatever they have on. Tell me you never felt those things (even once) while reading these articles and you can already stop reading here, ditch my blog, and never come back.
Below are sample titles (I’m emphasizing sample because just in case it coincides with an actual article, I didn’t really mean it to) and the questions that my 2014 self started asking.
- 10 Signs Your Man Truly Loves You – So if he only gets 2/10, he really doesn’t love me?
- 15 Proofs That Being In A Relationship Is Better Than Being Single – So people who are single are considered failures in life because they don’t have partners?
- Why Every Woman After Me Will Be Haunted By Our Memories – Why can’t you just be happy for the other person after all you’ve been through?
- 25 Things You Should Have By 25 – So if I don’t have any of the things on the list, I’m a miserable piece of crap?
- You Should Visit These 25 Cities ALONE – What if I want to travel with my family? Or my friends?
Do you see my point? I noticed that articles such as the ones I previously mentioned usually use the words “should, must, ought” and the phrase “you have to,” as if implying that it’s required and that you become less of a person if you weren’t able to do all those things. We all have different ways of having fun or getting through our days, weeks, months, or days. Why let someone else’s experiences mold yours? For one, we live across different countries, with different beliefs and different cultures, so I don’t know why there has to be a rule book for every 20, 30, 40 something living in this world.
You might say, “Whatever, if you don’t want to read them, then just shut up rather than write a blog post about it.” Well you see, I could have done that, but I just want to share my thoughts and shed some light on others.
- I get it. It worked for you (to anyone who wrote something on this line). But are you even 100% sure that it’s going to work out for me the same way? I live a life different than yours. My family, friends, beliefs, work, lifestyle, and all other factors that make me me are, too.
- You can all travel to wherever you like, do whatever you want to do, and write viral posts about it. But no, I won’t follow everything in your rulebook just because I “need to,” or just because everyone else is sharing it and doing it. I’m starting to do things, taking interest on hobbies, developing love for art, because I suddenly got interested in it. Not because anybody told me I should.
- I came to realize that most of the articles glorified love too much like it’s the only thing that matters. I understand going through a heartbreak and trying to scour the internet for how to get over a break-up. But love, love is not the only thing that matters. Being in a relationship, a mature one, does not only require affection, but trust, time, and effort, that mere articles or words can never actually satisfy. I realized that instead of lurking around the internet to find something to “help me get through” or maybe “worsen the pain altogether,” that time can be used to instead make myself busy and improve myself. Make myself better. Believe me, I know how it feels. And as I matured, I realized that being overly attached to emotions can lead you in a path so bleak: you crave for sad songs, you yearn for lonely words, you stop trying to trust someone, and altogether, you start losing the trust you have for yourself.
I think this is one of the main reasons why a lot of people are sad. The internet, as much as it is helpful, also toy with a person’s emotion. It sets standards that does not formally exist. It makes people feel underachieved. I know, you’re going to tell me that it actually depends on us how we like to perceive and be perceived, but not all people are emotionally stable enough to look on the bright side rather than the dark one.
Did I go too hard with what I stated above? It all goes down to preference, I guess. I decided that I’m going to define my own way on how I’m going to live my life and my how-tos will be based on what God tells me through His Word or what my experiences have taught me. I’m not going to let other people dictate what I should do just because I’m approaching my mid-20s. I’m not going to rate my life based on someone else’s standards. I’m not going to start doing something just because a lot of other people are doing it. Ever since my “articles-under-the-categories-of-musts-and-shoulds”
cleanse abstinence, it really proved to me that I can be my own person. I can be genuinely happy without having to worry if I’m living my life the way a 23-year old is supposed to based on others. I won’t go on and overglorify love and heartache when I have other more important matters to think about. I don’t want to tell other people what they should or not do. Because at the end of the day, I can’t really blame anyone else if I end up miserable trying to conform with whatever the world dictates. Besides, who else made the choice to listen but me, right?
I have no regrets. I am definitely happier.