How Do You Really Feel?

by Ben Perreira

The dynamics of language do not always allow us to express exactly what we’re trying to say. Add in the layer(s) of society and what we say can be pretty detached from what we really think.

I worked at a Moroccan restaurant when I was an undergrad. It was pretty much a dream job – I worked with my friends, we got to dance with the belly dancers and customers throughout the night, and we ate an incredible feast at the end of every shift. The owner, Karim, wasn’t always the best businessman but he understood how to make his customers happy. One women came up to him after a great meal (and maybe a glass of wine or two) and said “The food was even better than the last time!”

Karim told me after she left, “People say that all the time. The food is the same. They just think it’s better because they were looking forward to it after last time.”

Another example: I was checking out some of my friends’ summer travel photos on Instagram recently and thinking about my trip to Europe last year. On almost every photo I posted during my trip someone would comment something to the effect of “You’re living the dream!” or “I want your life!”

Traveling is a blast, but it is also a challenge. An in-stream photo on Instagram doesn’t begin to tell the story of sleeping in hostels, getting sick, spending a day in airports or on a train, or any of the other bumps in the road that come along with being in a foreign place.

When people say they want your life by looking at a photo, they are admitting that they don’t want to do through the trouble of traveling. They want the memory, but not the experience.

What we say and what we actually want (i.e. what we do in real life) can be very competitive with each other.