I found myself thinking about the post-truth era beyond politics and current affairs. It seems to me that our world is so complicated and messed up because we all have so many different stories and identities. There is a "9 to 5" story of a sleek professional woman (let's call her Irene), who needs to act strong and prove her acumen daily at work so she doesn't get dismissed as an indecisive, dumb blonde. Outside of work Irene needs to appear soft and vulnerable, otherwise men would find her unapproachable. On Facebook you'll find Irene showing off her abs, super green salads and vacation snaps. You won't know about her battles with anorexia or her mother's alcoholism. You are probably envious of her jet-set lifestyle (and if so, I recommend you unfollow her on Instagram.)
The problem with Facebook-saturated world is that while we have no idea what's happening in someone else's life, we think we do and therefore we compare ourselves to lives of others which are not real. We raise expectations of ourselves, we worry and we beat ourselves up because there is a continuous reference point (social media feed) being rolled down like an endless film in front of our eyes. We know that impeccably arranged food plates or bodies are not real and yet we are drawn to them. We are told it's inspiration. The problem is that there is a fine line between aspiring to be healthier, slimmer, better and feeling low because of the perceived own inadequacy. The dangers of the social media world have been exhausted as a topic, but it's not until now that I thought about them in the context of post-truth.
The truth is that there is only one reality - your own. Only you know how you feel and what constitutes your daily grind. Not even the closest friends and family, let alone colleagues or acquaintances, can see what's really going on with you. You may be keeping up appearances and doing stellar job in the office, but you could be battling demons at home or in your head. It's hard, no, impossible, to expect anyone else to understand and fully empathise with you. That's because, among other things, everyone has their own battles which may range from a noisy electric heater which wakes you up in the middle of the night to a parent with terminal illness. It's not about facts and figures here. It's about how it makes you feel and what it does to your daily reality. It's about you.
I don't particularly like this post-truth world, but one good thing did come out of it. It's that only your truth matters. The US economy may be growing but if your circumstances are dire, you shouldn't be pretending you aren't hurting. If you suffer from depression and sometimes it's just overwhelming, don't expect others to understand. It's your livelihood and it's up to you to do something to change that. It's your life - so live it truthfully and not by the distorted reflection of reality which pops into your head driven by the word "should".