It felt good to finally be in bed yesterday night, after a tiring day. I checked my Facebook for a last time before letting my brain and body take a rest. But the “check” ended up as a “wreck” as I spent a useless amount of time “stalking” other people’s lives while my conscience kept telling me that I had a heavy schedule waiting for me tomorrow.
The problem is that I was quite enjoying what I was doing. Looking at who has become what, comparing ourselves to others, gathering information about people and putting them into categories, criticizing or sometimes admiring them deep inside is something that we all do. In fact, we like to do that. It helps us have a clearer idea about where we stand among a huge mass of people and helps us understand our real place in the social world. It gives us an idea about how we should see ourselves, judge ourselves.
This reminds me of the sociologist C. Cooley’s looking-glass self, which is the idea that just as we look in a mirror to see a reflection of our physical body, we look to others to see a reflection of our social self.
However, we should be aware of several things. First, the information presented by people about themselves is biased by, well… themselves (having an objective view about yourself is not always – if ever – possible). Second, the information presented by people about themselves in a social context is always filtered in the way that will make them look more appealing.
So neither the conceptions that we make about others nor the ones about ourselves are valuable.
Furthermore, by trying to “find ourselves” indirectly, through others (whether unconsciously or not), we spend huge amounts of time that we could use to look directly at ourselves and improve who we are. Instead of “stalking” people for hours, it would have been better for me to go to bed early, get enough sleep to wake up and have an energetic day that I could spend doing things that actually benefit myself.
“Stalking” others doesn’t provide any insight on who we are as individuals and takes away time that we could use to do things for that would better ourselves.