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ACHILLES’ MILLENNIAL HEELS
MEN AND THEIR INSECURITIES IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA ERA
\in-si-ˈkyu̇r\ Uncertain or anxious about oneself; not confident.
- Models: Phil Diaz Villanueva and Dean Angelo Avelino
- Underwears: Male-HQ (www.male-hq.com). Brands featured: Toot and Groovin’.
- Venue: Hotel YAN Singapore (www.hotel-yan.com)
- Photographer / Story by: Paolo Avis
- Production Assistant: Jaypee Quitco
Do men get insecure?
In a man’s world, discussions about insecurities are oftentimes taboo. Insecurities, which are typically associated with self-doubt and lack of confidence, seem to have no place in men as they are always regarded as the stronger and more secure gender.
It is a cultural assumption (and possibly a sweeping statement) to say that men have less insecurities compared to women. In truth, we are all humans – feeling inadequate as often as our female counterparts.
In this day and age, social media has further deepened this problem in society. We unknowingly manufactured a disruptive era of unnecessary comparisons and unspoken competitions among our brothers — a new world where we often compare our lives to the people around us.
Our happiness (or unhappiness) have become relative to our own personal and online network. On the average, people spend two hours a day on social media. That’s a huge chunk of each day spent on consuming online content.
Scroll through your Instagram feed and you’ll know what I mean.
“I never get tired popping this bottle of champagne (@DomPerignon) while sitting with this beautiful view of the Eiffel #blessed.”
“Breakfast in Singapore. Lunch in Shanghai. Late dinner in London. Sigh, my life.”
“I worked so hard these past few days, now it’s time to reward my self (takes a selfie with his new Bottega Veneta bag.”
Our newsfeeds are taken over by an army of these. And as the person who is on the other side of the fence, as a consumer or reader, how does this make you feel? If it makes you feel inspired and happy, then good for you. If it doesn’t, then it’s time for you to assess yourself (and probably the people and pages you follow as well).
Social media is a double-edged sword: it can create a fun and positive impact in people’s lives, but for some, it becomes the primary source of unhappiness too.
While men are naturally insecure beings based on observation, social media seems to magnify the bouts of inhibition, jealousy, and disbelief within us even more. If we begin doubting ourselves because of what we see online, then it’s probably time to sound the alarm.
You can easily distinguish a male peacock from the rest when he starts displaying his shimmery feathers.
The online world’s appeal is the absence of the face-to-face contact, but it can still send a single message across to so many. It has become the majority’s go-to platform to receive instant gratifications (e.g. for their high-flying careers, washboard abs, cars, luxury travels, money, girls, and the list goes on).
Why do men tend to peacock then? It is most likely to impress others, and in some cases, to appease their egos. People receive appreciation, acceptance, and recognition in an instant, whether it’s in the form of Facebook likes or an increase in their social media following.
Do you constantly check your most recent posts waiting for comments or likes? Do you feel bad when you don’t get as many as you hoped for? Most people are unaware that they are falling into this trap. Humans are naturally influenced by their own peers and circles.
And what is its effect? A universe of extreme silos – there are some who might get annoyed of your bragging, some who start questioning themselves “How do I become that person?” or “Why am I not like him?,” and some with growing urges to compete, “How can I be better than him?”
FEAR OF MISSING OUT
FOMO (acronym for “fear of missing out”) became the Word of The Year in 2011. That was probably the same year when people began to realize that this is not just a trend, but also a vicious cycle in the society.
If you generally feel you’re not in the loop about something (be it among friends or family members), there’s a big tendency that you check your social media pages again and again, right? You check your friends’ most recent Facebook posts, watch them go live on Instagram, and read their latest tweets.
If you begin getting anxious after getting a glimpse of the lives of other people and wondering if they are having more fun and adventure than you, then you need to stop this act. For all we know, what other people post on Facebook are just enhanced versions of reality. With all the filters these days, some may just be illusions and we have no idea what really happens behind the scenes.
Sense of belonging is important, but if FOMO leads to depression and bad life choices, then you should know where to cut the line.
EMBRACING YOUR IMPERFECTIONS
We all have flaws. We all have personal traits we are ashamed of. Whatever it is — be it those big tummies, thinning hair, yellow teeth, unhappy relationships, ballooning debts, a handful of followers on Instagram — don’t turn into those little uncontrollable monsters who dwell too much on their insecurities that they forget to see their own uniqueness and strengths.
If social media is eating you up and making you feel miserable, step back for a while and understand how you can better use of these platforms. Never feed those little monsters inside you. Make better use of your time to inspire others and create positive impact on their lives.
Dear men, be thankful for what you have. Focus your attention on other things and search for happiness nowhere else but within you. Wear that attitude of gratitude and start appreciating the real world.