Celebrating Me

I was watching them from a distance. They both had warm smiles on their young faces. Soon they were served with mugs of freshly brewed coffee, its aromatic steam making swirly outlines in the air.

Under the bright moon, the couple looked content and pleased with themselves. Supposedly it was their precious time with each other but it was poignant to see them immersed in their own individual cyber worlds that existed within their cell phones. They were smiling, sometimes smirking, at the screens of their gadgets instead of savouring the valuable moments of togetherness on this beautiful night.

Sadly, we live in a world where the expression of love, affection, care and concern are becoming as intangible and elusive as the emotions themselves. What is particularly disheartening in this or other similar cases is the persistent indifference towards mutual sentiments. People can actually remain satisfied without any substantial communication or even remote gestures of the feelings that they have for those they are sharing their lives with.

I really wonder about this trend. Can two people, indifferent towards each other’s emotional needs, still co-exist and remain happy within their individual bubbles? How can a pat on the shoulder, a warm hug, a gentle smile, an encouraging word or holding hands be replaced by a like, share, follow, rate or subscribe button? Our lives are being distorted and reshaped and we have turned a blind eye. Or did it even matter, to begin with?

We have not only accepted each other’s unresponsiveness but are also merrily living in our distinct zones where only those who we validate are accepted by us and where only ‘me’ and ‘mine’ are celebrated. The epidemic of self-absorption has taken root in our society and it’s hard to imagine a cure.

From the photos of how I look to what I eat, from where I am to how I feel, from the biggest event to the minutest detail of my life; all these things need to be the talk of the town. If this cannot be seen for the self-obsession that it is and can only be shrugged off or even glorified as socializing, then we need a serious reality check for sure.

Thailand’s Department of Mental Health recently issued a warning about the potentially negative impact of ‘selfie culture’ claiming that young people suffer from emotional problems when their uploaded selfies are underappreciated.

And the cost that our familial life is bearing due to this trend of self-absorption is far heavier than any because this computer powered world of ours is not only damaging for an individual’s personal wellbeing but is responsible for chipping away at the protective walls of a sound relationship.

I often wonder why this has stopped bothering most of us and what comes to mind is that maybe living in a virtual world is much better than facing life in reality. It is an escape mechanism that many have adopted, where it’s easier to put up a perfect impression of our relationships, and us without being held responsible for the real-life shortcomings that may be eating away at the roots of our precious family structures. It’s a façade that we can hide behind and still be accepted, acknowledged and appreciated for. It’s an unreal world that I have created for myself and that doesn’t bother me as long as it’s the world that celebrates ‘me’.

Published by

Maria K. Siddiqui

Maria is an artist, counselor and art therapist in training.