Deciding to Be Better

Bo Burnham is my favourite comedian. I remember watching one of his standups a while back and he had this one line that stuck with me like nothing else. He said, “If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.” I’ve been trying to live by that rule ever since I first heard it, but suffice to say, it’s been hard. That audience is with us everywhere we go.

 

Bo was referring to the world of social media when he said that line. As a generation living in an age of smart tech, we’ve become accustomed to the idea of being watched at every moment. We share sily minutes of our day on Snapchat. We tweet every thought we have. We flaunt our daily affairs on Instagram. Our lives have become public, but that doesn’t make them any more authentic. What we post online isn’t necessarily what our lives are really like. In fact, they probably only show a perfect sliver of an otherwise-messy existence.

 

We’re so eager to be liked, desperate to be admired. There’s nothing wrong with that – we’re human. It’s natural to want likes on our posts, especially when it’s a creative outlet for us, and the Internet is a great way of sharing our work. What is wrong is basing our worth off these likes and obsessing over how people see us. We’re trying to convey this false image of our ideal selves to mirror the impeccably-staged Instagram lives of others. By letting our online audience influence the way we see ourselves, we’re succumbing to what is, in my opinion, one of the most vicious blights of the modern age.

 

 

We have to remember that the utopian essence of the social media world is largely artificial. We can’t forget that reality exists behind the camera lens, within the person taking the photo, as opposed to within the thoughtless image in front of it. When we convince ourselves that our lives are inferior to those of others, we’re hurting ourselves. Agonizing over who has the more aesthetically-pleasing profile only leads to personal dissatisfaction. Our online audience only holds as much power over us as we give it.

 

Remember that you are in control. You could delete your profile at a moment’s notice if you wanted, erasing your audience completely. You could post an unfiltered photo of your less-than-perfect morning face and you could choose not to care about it. You could choose to stop trying so hard to be an ideal version of yourself, because that’s exhausting. Basically, you could do anything you wanted to and the world wouldn’t stop spinning. Life goes on. Reality doesn’t care for your online footprint, and you shouldn’t either.

 

“If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.” If you have the chance to be alone with your thoughts while walking by the lake, do it without Snapchatting it. If you have the opportunity to go camping with friends, do it without spending half the time editing photos for Instagram. If you’re lucky enough to travel the world, do it with gratitude and soak up every second without stopping to tweet about all the places you’ve seen. The constant checking of social media distracts us from the present, taking us out of the moment and diverting our attention elsewhere.

 

I’m tired of being this person. I no longer want to live mindlessly, desperately grasping for moments of perceived perfection, clinging onto what my audience thinks is cool. I no longer want to live in constant displeasure, striving for a perfect reality I’ll never find. I want to live mindfully and thankfully. I want to be content with who I am and what I do. Most of all, I want to live a life that doesn’t revolve around the opinions of others. I have the chance to live a life without an audience, and so I’m going to do it.