We have grown up reading and hearing stories, many of which knowingly or unknowingly become our goals in life. Be it fairy tales that talk about a beautiful palace, a wealthy prince and his princess, or a rich king with money to buy all he wants. Humans can imagine, and many find excitement in our imaginations and dreams.
What is real life?
With the advent of the internet and other advanced technology in our lives, keeping our real lives away from the reel life of others is becoming challenging. In simple terms, real life is the world we live in every day, with world problems.
One of the best real-life examples is actors’ and actresses’ lives outside of their films and online shows. While they leave behind a legacy of reel-life personas, they live routine lives offscreen, in real life.
In today’s age and time, we need to understand the definition of real-life separate from social media. It is widespread for people of all ages to scroll through their feeds on various social media platforms and compare their lives with those on these portals. While many of these videos, images, and reels appear glamorous and fun, these are not people’s real lives.
What do we mean by reel life?
While T.V. and movies were the primary sources of onscreen entertainment, social media redefined reel life for not just celebrities but also ordinary people. Reel life is a deceptive portrayal of one’s life online, in movies, or on T.V. shows and is widely different from real life.
Today, access to social media platforms allows people to protect their real identities and life and portray a very different, often incorrect yet glamorous portrayal of their life. The reel lives of people often have no relation to their actual life situation, nor does it reflect their true selves. This reel life coerces people to compare themselves with others, often leading them to believe they live miserable lives in contrast.
Lack of a disconnect between an individual’s real and reel life and failure to understand this disconnect has resulted in many psychological and mental health issues among people, including anxiety, low self-confidence, lack of self-esteem, depression, unsatisfied relationships, and even suicide.
Why do we think Real-life is the life of adventure?
While reel life often seems alluring and exciting, little do we realise that our real lives are just as much of an adventure. We love to watch movies and shows filled with adventure because they take us on a journey where we experience various emotions and feelings, and most often, the journey ends on a sweet note. It is very satisfying to our minds and motivates us to spend a significant amount of time reeling under the influence of a movie or show we just watched. The same goes for reels and videos online.
However, when you understand the difference between your real and reel life, you realise that your real life is full of far more adventures than your reel life. Although watching a reel from a social media influencer, your friend bungee jumping from the AJ Hackett Macau Tower or swimming in the coral reefs of Australia may give you an adrenaline rush, it does not steal the fun from your life.
What are the Limitations of reel life: where is the boundary?
We often associate reel life with a perfect life – perfect situations, love, ideal relationships, wealth, health, travel, appearance, flawless beauty, and you name it. We often associate with characters and situations closest to our life’s goals or dreams. It is natural for people to imitate what they see on screen.
While taking motivation or setting goals watching others’ reel lives can be healthy, going overboard can spell trouble. We must know where to draw a line when imitating reel life events or comparing our real lives with them.
We must understand the boundaries of reel life as it fails to throw light on people’s real-life troubles, the adverse events in their lives, or how they are as individuals. While setting goals is okay, unrealistic expectations from others’ reel lives can affect our confidence and lead to failure.
For example, several women spend thousands of rupees on skincare and makeup products to get flawless skin like their favourite celebrity but fail to realise the individual’s hardships to achieve that skin. Failure to achieve healthy skin or a petite figure often pushes women into depression, eating disorders, suspicious behaviour, etc.
What are warning signs of too much reel life
For most people blinded by the reel life they see on the screen, it becomes difficult to differentiate between it and their real life. Some warning signs to watch out for include:
- Addiction to social media or following an influencer or celebrity excessively on social media portals
- Setting unrealistic goals or expectations for themselves
- Excessive expenditure of money on buying the same products or items as their reel-life celebrities
- Failure to realise one’s limitations
- Unreasonable comparison of one’s real-life with those of friends or family as seen in reel life.
- Allowing our reel-life persona to take over the real-life persona
- Using our real-life portrayal to cover up real-life insecurities and other negative characteristics
The reel world is not accurate, and we must all understand this. It is easy for us to drift away into a virtual or fictional world to run away from the harsh realities of life. But little do we know that overindulging in the reel world does not help our real life.
Social media plays a dominant role in our lives today. Social comparison has become a mainstay and is instrumental in causing mental health issues among teenagers and adults alike. We must realise and explain to children and teenagers how to reel life is nothing but highlighting the good while real life has a balance of both the good and evil. It is also wrong to compare our good with someone else’s reel life as we are unaware of their battles.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an inability to see the difference between real and reel life, reach out to a mental health expert as soon as possible. Find the best psychologists and mental health professionals on United We Care!