Being grateful does us good. Studies have shown that we can increase our levels of happiness by cultivating a daily gratitude practice – that is, by taking time out every day to acknowledge a few things that we’re grateful for. It can help drag us out of the funk of forever focusing on the things we don’t have and be appreciative of the things we do have. But what about when we decide to take our gratitude to the mean feeds of social media?
I’ve always found loud and public gratitude kind of a weird thing. And since the emergence of apps like Facebook and Instagram, gratuitous gratitude is on constant, public display. People announcing how lucky they are for their partners, or how #blessed they are to be lounging on sunny beaches drinking cocktails. And I’m guilty of it too. Hell, I’ve posted my share of “Tough Day at Work” *posts photo at Opera Bar* and “Happy Anniversary to us! Here’s to many more”. I don’t want to get into shaming posts of gratitude, but I do sometimes wonder about my own intentions when it comes to posting this type of content. Whether I’m doing it to really acknowledge my gratitude, or whether I’m just keen for some quick and easy compliments to boost my self esteem and highlight to my Internet “friends” some of the aspects of my life that aren’t falling apart rn, and accompany them with some some stylised photography?
There’s also the issue of how insensitive some of these posts can seem at times, particularly when you acknowledge that you’re bound to have people on your feed that are going through hard times and experiencing devastating loss, grief, loneliness, isolation, stress, anxiety and depression. I can only imagine how hard it is for someone scrolling their feed on Mother’s Day after losing their mother, or going through a divorce on Valentines Day. When your cyber declaration of gratitude only compounds another person’s feeling of hopelessness, was that public post really worth it?
Most of us have such a great deal to be grateful for, but perhaps sometimes it’s worth taking stock of how we can best express that gratitude with integrity and honesty. Maybe there’s power in #stay[ing]humble and taking a few moments before going to bed writing down or even just thinking about what makes us grateful in quiet reflection irl. Or maybe that’s so two-thousand-and-late and just post about everything on Twitter, idk. This whole social media revolution has changed the way we interact with our world and to some degree with ourselves and our own thoughts and feelings. Whether gratitude has a place here remains to be seen. And while we’re still working it out, I will be sharing photos from my upcoming holiday to Vegas. Bc #blessed (and also, I like compliments).