It can be easy to look at a photograph or an outward appearance that someone posts on Instagram or Facebook, or to follow someone on Snapchat, and to make an assumption about how life must be for them based on this.
News feeds are cluttered with airbrushed posed selfies, or group photos that capture the image of happiness, deep friendship bonds, and a magical life.
When often, there is really so much pain and misery hiding beneath the picture perfect image that is being presented.
We are living in a world littered with fakery and it can be hard to discern what is legit and what is fabricated.
Often what you are shown is simply a mask, not the truth.
People paint an inauthentic picture of a life they wished they had, but actually don’t have. This creates a false ideal that you strive to become. Out of this a playground for self judgment, criticism, and insecurity is born.
I have news for you….
Despite what you might see online, people are not always showing you the fullness (or the truth) of their experience.
Because we are socialized, programmed and conditioned, to conform to the norm and to strive to reach whatever “ideal” people are worshiping at the time.
We are taught to look at the external to derive our value.
We are taught to “fake it till you make it”.
We come to believe that what is on the outside, the appearance, is more important than what lives in our heart or soul.
I’m not saying that the outside is not important.
I’m not even saying that wanting to be beautiful, or liked, or to share your experiences with others is not important.
These are all important.
When you are taught to look outside of yourself to define your self worth, that is exactly what you do.
And in this, you give your personal power away.
You don’t learn that self-esteem is an inside job. And you keep looking for someone or something outside of you to validate you and make you feel good.
You learn to compare yourself to other people.
You learn to look to other people to “fix” you.
You learn to stifle your authentic expression when it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.
You stop being who you are and you start to try to be like the ideal.
Or maybe you rebel…
Regardless, the message that you receive is that there is something wrong with you the way you are. And you conform or fight against this. This creates struggle and depression and dis-ease.
What if instead, you choose to simply be you and to share this authentically with the world?
What might that look like? What magic might open up?
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This article was originally published on The Teen Mentor.
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