The Void between reality and social norms

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Addiction is very common in the 21st century. Whether it be drugs, sex, social media, social praise, alcohol or being the center of attention, many individuals have found themselves becoming dependent on something in order to fill a void in their lives. When one becomes addicted, most times they are trying to substitute a negative emotion that may be stemming from low self-esteem, a traumatic experience or social anxiety. When one becomes addicted, most times they are tired of being upset or sad and just want to forget about their problems. The thing that becomes addictive is that which makes one forget how they are feeling and offers the individual a certain level of blissfulness. Although short-lived, that brief moment of blissfulness is enough to keep them coming back. I speak from experience as I found myself in this position at one point in my life until I started asking some important questions.

Why was I basing my worth on the opinions of people who don’t even know me?

Why was I more comfortable resting when there is a war to fight especially when I know that the war wasn’t going away?

Why was I content with a short-term remedy that has detrimental effects instead of seeking a long-term remedy that guarantees prosperity?

Why was I seeking to forget instead of to correct the reason behind the void that I felt?

It was mentioned in a Bible Devotional called ‘Fighting FOMO’ that, “We create this fake world so we don’t have to address the real one. We over-post selfies so we don’t have to look at ourselves. We never feel full” (Day 3). The reason why so many of us base our worth on the opinion of others is that we live in this fake world that doesn’t make us full. We never feel full in this fake world because we are constantly seeking the subjective approval of human beings. We go out of our way to show the highlights of our lives on social media and conceal the dark aspects because we want everyone to think that we are perfectly happy.

The crazy thing about the aforementioned binary is that no one is perfect and no one lives the life of perfection that we are all in a competition to portray. We all are unhappy sometimes and we all make mistakes. We all are imperfect and that is apart of the secret sauce that makes us unique. In between this fake world and reality, a void is created because we refuse to address the dark aspects of our lives. Instead of addressing the problem, we choose to forget that it exists and ignore it.

By ignoring the existence of the void that exists in our lives, we are resting instead of fighting the war that is being waged against us. The war that I’m referring to is the war between the fake world where we surrender our lives to the thoughts/perspectives of others and the real world where we are accepting of ourselves as imperfect beings who are perfectly made. The war being waged will determine your sanity, overall prosperity/well-being and your ability to truly be at peace. By trying to forget the existence your void through short-term remedies, we are leaving ourselves wide open for an attack by the enemies such as addiction and other mental health issues. Even though we are trying to forget the void, the void will continue to affect us. Even though we are resting through short-term remedies, the war is still being waged against us and it has long-term consequences.

If avoidance leads to detrimental results then why do we still avoid our problems? The truth is that most of the time we do not plan to avoid our problems forever nor do we plan to get addicted to something else that fills the void in our lives. Most of the time, we plan to engage the problems in our lives but we choose to procrastinate until the opportune time presents itself. But an opportune time will not present itself, we must be able to make time to address the problems in our lives or they will never be addressed. As we procrastinate, we find other things to do such as drinking or the extended use of social media. By continuously engaging in other things that grant us bliss and alleviates our problems, we get comfortable with short-term remedies. When we get comfortable with short-term remedies, we get dependent on them and become fearful of life without these short periods of bliss which is perfectly aligned with the concept of addiction.

We seek to forget instead of correct because we are unsure of our own strength. We often believe that we are not strong enough to overcome the problems that we face throughout our lives. For a while, I was a victim of this fear as well, but I realized that I was scared because I was depending solely on my own strength. I was scared to draw strength from my friends and I was not leaning on my faith in God. In order to overcome addictions and other detrimental, we need the help of others to keep us accountable and help us to be strong. Sometimes, all we need is a friend to help us get through the difficult times in our lives. Sometimes, all we need is a reminder that we have a friend in Jesus Christ and he is an undefeated warrior who is always on our side.

It is written in Ephesians 6:13 that we should, “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand”. This verse assures that we have nothing to fear when we put on the armor of God as all things are possible. With his armor, every battle is won before it is fought and our prosperity is guaranteed.

It is important to note that not all things that fill the void in our lives are negative. Some examples of things that grant us bliss and are also beneficial are dancing, reading, playing sports, exercising, writing, yoga and many more. The main two activities that I engage in from this list to provide me with bliss are exercising and writing. In conclusion, one just needs to be very careful with what they choose to engage in as your input determines your output whether it be negative or positive. In doing this, sure we must thrive!

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