Public Faces, Private Lives

The disparity between who we are and who we want others to think we are is oftentimes irreconcilable, especially in modern times, where more people are privy to intimate details of our lives than ever before.

Three faces…

A popular adage that I’m sure we have all heard before, is that of the Japanese positing the existence of three different faces; the one we show to the world, the one we show to those closest to us, and the one that we show to no one. It then follows that this final face is the truest reflection of who we are.

Why is it, then, that we possess so many different faces? Linking this back to our topic, I am convinced that the standards set by users of social media lead to us feeling like our own lives lack punch, are not interesting enough, and so are somehow inadequate. This leads to us putting on a show publicly – posting the funniest pics, happiest photos of ourselves, and all around creating an image that obscures who we really are, and the internal struggle we may be going through. Those who laugh the loudest are often the ones crying inside; those who act like they don’t need approval, often need it most. 

Public faces, Private li[v]es

Before the integration of social media into our everyday lives, these issues still existed, of course. This is an age-old problem, and one that most likely will not find resolution anytime soon. The difference between now and then is the availability of material for comparison. In days of yore, one had to guess at the superiority of the lives of others – today, it is broadcast (however inaccurately) for all to see.

However, it’s not all bad. These days, the instant accessibility of information means that we are not alone, and we do not have to carry our burdens alone, either. If you are suffering under the illusion that you have to hide who you are in order to ‘fit in’ or gain acceptance, seek help.