Have you ever looked at yourself in a picture and thought, “I look fat” or “I’m having a bad hair day” or “Maybe I shouldn’t have worn that shirt”? Have you ever posted a picture of yourself in which you thought you looked great, but then felt disappointed when it didn’t generate enough likes from people around us? Have you ever used the front camera on your phone to capture a moment, and spent the next 15 minutes of your life contorting your face and moving your arm in circles trying to get the right angle?
If you are the owner of a smartphone and your answer to the questions above is “No”, then share this with someone who would have answered “Yes”. And if you have answered even one of these questions with a “Yes”, then you might enjoy what lies ahead.
We live in the age of Social Media which means our lives are always on display. It also means our lives are flooded by the displays of our family, friends and even celebrities. These displays often include images that are engineered to make us feel like we’re inadequate. There’s always some workout tip to get a six-pack, some makeup tip to hide your acne scars, some camera angle to make your butt look bigger.
But we want to feel adequate. And so we use filters.
Take a picture on vacation, use a filter. Take a picture with your friends, use a filter. Take a picture of your baby, use a filter. Take a picture of the most beautiful sunset you’ve seen, use a filter. Take a picture of your significant other, use a filter.
We filter almost anything, because filtering has become synonymous with better.
With Filter Culture becoming such a routine part of our existence, we tend to fall prey to the most common trap of the world we live in – The idea that life is skin deep. By this I mean that the way we feel about ourselves, the way we perceive our self-worth, our ability to love and accept ourselves is becoming increasingly dependent on what we do, have and look like, and increasingly distant from who we are.
And Social Media plays a big role in making us feel this way. It is the root cause of the problem. If we didn’t have social media then there would be nothing for us to compare ourselves with. Social Media is a disease.
Or can we perhaps look at Social Media as the vaccine?
When we look at our selfies there is one important thing that we are all missing. Acceptance.
Acceptance of ourselves. Not just the way we look, but who we are. We are so busy looking for perfection that we overlook the most obvious fact – each of us is a perfect version of ourselves.
Perfection isn’t the lack of flaws. It is the acceptance of flaws. It requires balance between what we perceive as right and wrong or good and bad. Perfection is not one end of the spectrum, it is the equilibrium at the centre of the spectrum.
We will never be able to become the best versions of ourselves if we keep striving to look like, live like and feel like somebody else.
“I accept myself not because of my positive attributes.” “I accept myself in spite of my negative attributes.” It is important for us to get acquainted with the difference.
If we always want to look better, dress better, walk better, talk better, travel better and aspire for “better” we will always find ways in which we are less. But if we accept the way we look the way, we talk, the way we walk then we automatically will become better by becoming ourselves.
Let yourself be your own measuring stick. It matters not what anyone else does because nobody can be you better than you can.
So let us be fearless, let us take many selfies, let us make an effort to love ourselves in each selfie, and let us fail many times along the way!
And when we fail let us remember this quote from my favourite doctor, Dr. Seus, who said “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”