Ever looked at a picture you had posted a few years back on social media and felt completely disjointed with it? The colours, the atmosphere, the location and the emotions all seem real and yet so estranged? Did I actually enjoy this moment as much as I seem to be in this photograph? In a race to document every exciting thing happening in our lives, for the sake of projecting it to our social media peers, we mostly miss out living in the moment. The weddings, the holidays, your child’s first bike ride, your grand fortieth birthday party, which your spouse planned for you so lovingly, all these milestones are well-documented today, albeit digitally. But can we say the same about our brains? Can you remember these milestones with as much clarity as that of the images we shared?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Documenting significant moments of your life is extremely important, but in the era of social media, we seem to have gone overboard with it.
  • A 2013 paper called ‘Making lasting memories: Remembering the significant’ suggests that emotional arousal enhances the storage of memories, thus serving to create, selectively, lasting memories of our more important experiences.
  • It is no longer just about living them, it is about sharing them, and doing it fantastically.
  • We need to learn to control that urge to record everything for the sake of posting it online.

Can you remember these milestones with as much clarity as that of the image you’ve shared?

A 2013 paper called ‘Making lasting memories: Remembering the significant’ suggests that emotional arousal enhances the storage of memories, thus serving to create, selectively, lasting memories of our more important experiences. But are you as emotionally invested in a moment, if you are busy recording it? Documenting significant moments of your life is extremely important, there is no doubt about that. Who wouldn’t want to snap that amazing sunset you witnessed 5,000 miles away from your home, on a well-earned holiday? Or your baby’s birth, or your engagement? But the thing is, in the era of social media, we seem to have gone overboard with documenting moments in our life.

It is no longer just about living them, it is about sharing them, and doing it fantastically. The angle, the filter and the frame, everything need to be perfect every time. So when you are constantly focusing on getting perfect pictures, naturally your brain is too preoccupied to make a recording for your own memory. Besides, adding filters and photo-edited images comes with its own disadvantages. It trims and alters the reality, giving you a filter version of the actual moment. Slowly, as you repeatedly look at these pictures, it begins to mess with the memory in your head, quietly replacing it with the tempered version.

A memory isn’t just about the sensory experience of seeing it.

This is as disturbing as it sounds. In our quest of capturing our lives, we are not living them to the fullest. We are editing our reality and repeatedly confusing our brains by projecting what we recorded over what it recorded. In the long-term, it can lead to a detachment from your own life. You have memories, but you don’t have a feel of them. This is because a memory isn’t just about the sensory experience of seeing it. It is about feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, or smelling fresh air, or the roughness of the gravel under your feet. In order to capture that perfect sunset, you may be ignoring all these sensory experiences.

So should we stop taking pictures altogether? No. All we need to do is to learn to control that urge to record everything for the sake of posting it online. Clicking pictures and posting them on social media in moderation will leave you with a lot of time on hands, to make everlasting real memories. It will also give you an opportunity to create a treasure of moments which you exclusively share either with yourself, or with your loved ones. Because, there are certain moments which are too precious to be shared with everyone, and that is what makes them so valuable.

Picture Credit: Pixabay.com

Also Read : Being A Passive Feminist Isn’t Something To Feel Guilty About

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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