With the growing popularity of social media and reality TV the pressures of society to have more and better status grows daily by the click. The click of the television remote and the click of the mouse when browsing the internet. It is mostly through these channels that social influence impacts our quality of life.
We are bombarded with images of glorified and superficial lives by which we are forced to compare our own existence. We starve ourselves to have pencil thin bodies like the models in fashion magazines. We pass up on genuinely decent good guys and gals because they don’t make us look good. We accept jobs we hate simply because they sound impressive and come with a big paycheck that will pay the big mortgage and the big car note.
At some point we have to wonder… is this happiness? Is the work hard, play hard life all it’s cracked up to be? For some individuals it’s their ideal life. To them status is more important than fulfillment. For others, it means living not so quiet lives of desperation and suppressing inner longing for freedom.
Then there is an elite group that for the most part lives outside of the social influence of society. The members of this group buy Subarus and Hondas when they can afford Range Rovers and Bugattis. They dress for comfort and taste instead of trends and name brands. The mothers spend more time in Toys R Us than in Lee’s Nail Salon. The fathers forgo court-side tickets to build college funds.
Is there anything wrong with driving Range Rovers or Bugattis? No there isn’t. Is there anything wrong with fresh french manicures and pedicures at Lee’s Nail Salon every week? Not at all. The integrity of the decisions we make are validated by our motives and intentions. Are you showing off or living within your means?
What of the moral decay that accompanies the flashy and shallow social influences? Sites like Facebook can give us insight into the true nature of our friends and families. Status updates often expose while enabling narcissistic egocentricity. Can a society filled with instant gratification and superficiality teach, encourage or reward individuality and integrity? Is the distinction between character and reputation clear? Is value placed more so on the latter than the former? You can’t always change what people think of you but what you think of yourself will always be with you. Are you wasting precious time and energy on your image for people who shouldn’t matter?
At the end of the day we must all choose how we live our lives. Nothing that you see on television or the internet can change that. The media can only influence your decisions, it cannot make them. It’s up to you how you process the information provided. When you make decisions, strive to make them for the right reasons.
Quality of life is defined by your well-being in relation to your place in society. The quality of your life will depend on the decisions you make. Integrity is often the road less traveled but its destination is worth the journey.
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