Pleasing egos

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - May 22, 2021 - 12:00am

One of the most unsettling photographs I've seen on social media is of so young people who, despite their young age, managed to capture intimate moments with their girlfriends/boyfriends with the caption "monthsary”. And after reading the profile and the thread with so much interest, they turned out to be in their early high school years. This situation has becoming all too common in social media.

The fact that these young lovers receive mixed messages from FB friends adds to the bewilderment. They seem unconcerned about negative comments, as if urging the critics to mind their own business and quit telling them what to do with their own "happy" life.

I'm wondering if there are grownups in their lives who have criticized them, such as their parents, and whether this has caused them to be cautious and value-centered. Some may argue that such parents are unconcerned since their primary concern is surviving the pandemic, and that their time for work is more valuable than worrying about what their children are doing when they are not in their sight.

We are all coping with the pandemic's consequences. Our children, meanwhile, have a variety of methods to cope with the loneliness and despair that comes with being separated from their pals. The Tik-Tok, vlogging, and other such activities can have a releasing effect on them, which will ideally soften the blow. But what we aspire for is something that has a positive impact on others. Others who may later realize that they are not alone and that they can develop their own positive and healthy coping practices.

In recent years, videos of people condemning others have become widely available. What's more worrisome about this tactic is that the person being chastised can respond by criticizing back, and the cycle will continue as long as neither party is prepared to stop berating the other.

We must use social media for good if we consider it to be the ultimate equalizer. If it provides anyone eager to engage with a voice and a platform, the message must be sensible and encouraging. Adult guidance is also required for our young people whose apparent motivation is to gratify their egos.

But the truth is that stroking another person's ego in the hopes of approval, love, and/or personal advantage, whether romantic, professional, or just a friendship, is an enormous failure since it implies there is a missing link in the perennial pleaser or pushover.

Why do we put in so much effort? The urge to satisfy others all of the time in order to be accepted is a hole from the past that needs to be filled right now. We will be a doormat in all forms of relationships if we do not do so.

The hole created by the missing link is deeply rooted in prior lies. Every history has the power to elicit the deepest fears, anxieties, and feelings of love (or lack thereof). Life is lovely if we just open our eyes to the curious child within. We can be cut open physically, and our body knows how to repair itself. We get emotionally cut open, and we have the potential to do the same with our thoughts, though some rewiring may need to be reconfigured due to past upbringing.

Pleasing the ego without making a conscious effort to help others is ephemeral, and thus does not contribute to personal growth. Imagine what we'll be able to do for others if we can't improve ourselves.

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