By Akanna Okeke
It used to be easy to point out people leading fake lives. But nowadays, with the advent of social media and the widespread acceptance of ‘fake it until you make it,’ anyone could slip into a fake life and stay living a lie, while receiving pats on the back from society.
Since this can be you and me at any given time, it’s important that we recognize the signs and make necessary corrections on time, before it becomes too late. So here are 3 signs that you might be leading a fake life. More signs exist, of course, but these are the ones I personally feel are deep and perhaps hardest to correct.
You Spend Most of Your Time on Social Media
Social media isn’t real life. It may have the illusion of it because of the back-and-forth that go on there – catching up with friends, sharing moments, keeping up with the news, buying and selling, responding directly to politicians and celebs and generally feeling connected to the world. But it’s still a virtual world. A world that allows you to edit your life and present the sides that make you feel good about yourself.
Moreover, you can’t actually do most of what you do on there in real life. You know, like saying whatever you want to politicians without fearing for your life. It isn’t real life. Real life comes with a lot of constraints that require a lot of wisdom and tact to navigate through. The more we try to escape this, by running into an alternate world with no limitations, the faker our lives become.
So, if you find yourself getting lost into the world of social media, if you kiss your phone goodnight and smile at it first thing in the morning, you may want to shut that world off for a bit and snap back to reality.
You Buy What You Can’t Afford
This is harder to do in Nigeria than in developed countries that run credit-based economies. Yet, no matter where you go, you still find people who borrow money (from formal or informal sources) to buy what they cannot ordinarily afford. In school, I knew people who were labeled “the big boys”. They actually went to weekend parties in London sometimes, all the way from Lagos! But would also come to my room sometimes to beg for provisions to eat. Attending weekend parties in London cost them their daily meals, and I guess they were okay with that, as long as their fake lives were on full display for those who didn’t know their true situation to admire. How sad. Peer pressure does not end at school. You still have peers where you work and where you live. Sometimes, to keep up appearances, we choose to enter into competition with them even without their knowledge, buying what they have and doing what they do while suffering immensely in the background.
That’s living a fake life. Rather, cut your coat according to your cloth, wear it proudly, and those who genuinely admire your attire would invite you to their ball.
You’re A Compulsive Liar
Speaking of taking weekend trips to London, I once had a co-worker who decided to tell me one Friday, out of the blue, that he was going away to London for the weekend and asked me not to tell anyone. I had known him to lie compulsively, so I humored him and promised not to tell. Of course there was nothing to tell because he went nowhere that weekend (I knew people close to him). He stayed put in his humble Lagos abode but made it a point to change his Blackberry Messenger profile picture to a well-manicured lawn, which I guess was supposed to be somewhere in London. What’s with people and London? You see how peer pressure follows you everywhere? He felt the compulsion to lie to me, to portray himself in a certain light — a light everyone knew wasn’t his to shine. And he told many more lies during my time there, with the same motive and sad result.
When you notice you lie a lot or constantly embellish the truth to portray yourself in a certain light, you’re definitely faking it! And faking it until you make it does not work in this case because people come to know you as the guy who loves to lie, without letting you know. They may indulge and humor you but they’ll never come to trust you. And making it in life is a direct consequence of the number of people who have come to know you, like you and trust you.
Living a fake life is living a lie. That is bad enough. When you then begin to verbalize the lies to others, you’ve gone in deep. The earlier you stop, the better for you. Social media helps us to verbalize those lies in the most artful ways. That’s why it’s no longer easy to point out people leading fake lives. It’s hard to tell now. We’re now able to filter out the lies in our pictures and embellish the truth in our stories. All the while receiving accolades of ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ as we suffer miserably on the other side of our devices. Let us thoroughly check ourselves today and be completely honest. It could be anyone of us at any point in time.
Do you know of any signs that could point to living a fake life? Don’t hesitate to share. You could be of immense help to an oblivious someone!