In Asia, “face” (miàn zi, 面子) is a huge thing. Face represents a person’s reputation and status within different communities , including the workplace, family, friends, places of worship and society at large. To “give face” means “to show respect” while to “lose face” means “being humiliated, losing dignity”.
Failing is a tough experience by itself already. But failing in Asia is a double whammy because it doesn’t just mean you’ve screwed up, it also means you will “lose face”.
When you have lost face, you will try to “save face” (avoid humiliation) and here’s where Facebook come in. You don’t need a scientific study to tell you that the sentiments of Facebook postings are undoubtedly, overwhelmingly positive. Or are they really “save face” posts? And these posts pressure us to reciprocate with “give face” posts that are even more exceedingly positive. Because if we don’t, we will “lose face”.
“Because here’s the thing that’s wrong with all of the “How to Be Happy” shit that’s been shared eight million times on Facebook in the past few years—here’s what nobody realizes about all of this crap: The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience. This is a total mind-fuck. So I’ll give you a minute to unpretzel your brain and maybe read that again:
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
It’s what the philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “the backwards law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.” - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life