“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive that is you-er than you” – Dr Seuss.
The wisdom of Dr Seuss has never been more important than it is today! The pressure young people are under to conform to certain images that popular culture deems to be desirable or cool has never been greater. Social media has created a culture where a false image of our lives is portrayed. Our lives have become edited to the point where I for one am no longer sure of what is real and what is simply the illusion created through an online profile.
By living our lives through the image we build of ourselves, both online and by adopting “fashionable” behaviours, do we begin to lose all that is real and authentic about us? When we post a picture and we get a lot of likes we feel good about ourselves, it’s almost like a rush, a high that initially a thrill but begins to crash down after the initial flurry of reactions from our friends. When the likes stop we are left wondering, what can I post next and what will get more likes? Recently I heard some students talking about the best time to update their profile picture so that it will get the most likes. Turns out its 11:00PM!!
I am not anti-social media! I think it’s a great way to communicate with each other and share experiences we have with our friends. I use it regularly myself, probably too much!! What I’m saying is, we need to be aware of the dangers of slipping into a world where we can no longer decipher the real from the imaginary and the purposeful creation of a glamour that cannot be sustained in daily life.
This is just one example of how we are living in a false culture that causes us to lose our real selves in the quagmire of filtered reality that is the world our young people are growing up in. However this blog is not about changing how we interact with each other through social media. Cybersmarties.com are the experts in that field. What I want to focus on is the need to create a culture where our young people, and ourselves can accept ourselves for what we are.
I believe that these days we no longer meet people but rather a persona. A carefully crafted character that the person believes will protect them. However although this false persona based on what is deemed to be acceptable by peers, who are also lost in false personas, may allow the person be popular in their peer group, it only alienates them form their true friends and there losing all that is good about them.
The light only shines through the cracks. This means that our true selves only emerge through our flaws. By being our true selves we allow others to see who we really are. This requires us to sometimes be vulnerable. This can be frightening but will strengthen the important relationships in our lives and will also show us who are our real friends and this who are only happy to be with us while we are maintaining the flawed status quo that some “friendships” are built on.
We all act in different ways in different situations. It’s necessary to do this so that we can survive in the world. For example we behave differently in work than we would when we are with our friends. However what I’m saying is that when our persona becomes our only reality we begin to lose a part of ourselves. This persona we adopt very often denies our flaws and essentially the most human part of ourselves. That is why it is important that we have people in our lives whom we can truly be ourselves with.
I always admire people who can be genuinely be honest about what they are good at and what they are not. And I especially admire people who don’t always take themselves so seriously and can laugh at themselves when needs be. I think that most of us need to give ourselves a break from the constant pressure to appear perfect and embrace and even begin to enjoy our flaws!
This week my challenge to you is to try to stop criticising yourself for your flaws, whatever they may be. We all need to work to improve ourselves but we also need to sometimes realise that it’s not about the pursuit of perfection, that’s an impossible goal, it’s about doing the best that we can and realising that we are human. Sometimes the best thing about us are the things we see as our flaws.