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Emotions (Grief, in particular): Must I Post It As I Feel It?

EMOTIONS ( GRIEF, IN PARTICULAR ) : MUST I POST IT AS I FEEL IT?


Emotions can be either stress-less or stressful; exhilarating or exhausting. They can be negative or positive. Internally or externally provoked. But my concern is, must they all be expressed publicly, especially on social media, for one to be seen as authentic? As being real, genuine or caring?

For the past few years of my life, I've noticed that with the advancement of social media in particular, authenticity is being mistaken for extroversion. The more you show, the more real you are. This is a very false notion as it is not far-fetched to say that many frequently-active people across social media platforms show things that will make them look better not necessarily because they are feeling better. For example, someone could post a picture depicting herself as being in love with her partner while in real sense, she is not feeling those emotions at that particular time. They might have even gotten into a fight and she decided to use that picture to not only keep up appearances but also to console herself that if they could have looked so happy then, they could look and be even happier again.

I don't have an issue with the above scenario; in fact, I understand it. If people choose to use social media as a tool of consolation and aiding happiness, that is, in my opinion, a good use of their precious data or Wi-Fi as the case may be. But I have a real issue with people who think that just because grief or any other emotion was not expressed online, then it wasn't felt! If you didn't post, then it didn't happen? This notion is what irks me and it is most unreasonable.

Sane people were not born to keep up appearances a hundred percent of the time. As such, no one should feel obliged to post their feelings in either long epistles or drawn out emojis or worse, in dramatic videos! Especially if they are feeling grievous.

The top inspiration for this article came when a renowned actor in my country passed on and her cast mates who she had worked with for a long time took to their social media platforms to post heart-wrenching written renditions in her honor. Soaked in pain for her loss myself, despite not knowing her personally, I couldn't help thinking if it would have been perceived in a bad way if none of them had posted anything about her passing. Would it have been callous if no post had been made and instead one had decided to reach out to her family members in private and offer support? I'm not implying that the cast mates didn't do that or that everyone who displays grief online doesn't reach out privately; I'm just wondering if grief is only certified as long as it has been displayed online.

Let's look at this issue from another perspective; if a person is not usually active on social media and he or she experiences a known grief, as a public figure per say, are they excused from posting about it? Or will they still be viewed as callous even if they reach out privately?

In addition, what if a frequently-active person experiences grief in such a monumental way that they act out of character and choose to keep their emotions out of social media; does it mean they are being fake? Or lacking sympathy for the deceased?

These scenarios are not imaginary; they happen in real life. As such, we should know the right approach to take when it comes to assessing people and whether or not they express their grief. I know it can be weird for a usually expressive person to all-of-a-sudden refrain from sharing their emotions, especially in the face of so curious a situation as grief, but it would be wise to give grace to people and not expect them to always share their emotions publicly. Not suppressing one's feelings should not and does not equal showing it online! One can always talk to a close friend or a therapist in order to feel better. Public sympathy is not the ultimate solution to grief; and let's not forget the existence of cyber bullies.

Emotions don't have to be shared online in order for them to be felt; in order for them to be said to have existed. They can be enjoyed or suffered privately; away from the prying eyes of the world. It' should not be weird to cry in one's room, sleep on the issue, cry again, then nurse a cup of hot chocolate or warm tea, eat a few crackers, journal one's feelings, maybe call a friend and pour out the raging waves or decide to read a soothing book while snuggled under warm covers if the weather is supportive enough to be filled with thunder and rain.

So, what do you think? Must I post it to prove that I feel it? Must my love be exposed; my choices picked apart; my pain aired and my feeling left in the nude in order for me to really feel; in order for people to say that I felt so and so?

Is social media now the examination area for emotions? For esteeming the measure of one's care and affection and pain? And if so, must one attend?

I think not.

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