This will not be a very long post, I just wanted to get you to reflect for a while. It seems that with anything we do in life, we want to please as many people as possible. Now, you might tell me there is no one in particular you want to please, which is probably true, but most of us still want to show others that we conform to a sort of, for lack of a better word, ideal. Ironically, even though we think everyone has the same ‘ideals’; the same ideas of what makes someone smart, beautiful, healthy or fun, we do not. Someone might think you are a very funny person, which makes you nice to be around and someone else might think your jokes are not funny at all, thus making you very annoying to be around. What to do? Should you adapt yourself until you eventually stay shut and say nothing? Or should you just stay true to yourself and let people who do not like a certain aspect of your personality or physique walk away? (Hint: go for option 2). By staying true to yourself, the people you actually want to be around will stick with you.
Some of us do it more than others, but we tend to build up an image of the person we want to become based on the opinion of others. We need to stop thinking about how the way we look and the things we do or say will be perceived by others, and start thinking about how we feel about these things. This might be hard to do seeing as we have been creating ideals based on others’ opinions for a lifetime, but that does not mean we cannot stop now.
Something that plays an important role in this habit of ours, of course, is social media. I am sure everyone has heard it a million times – I am not saying we should get rid of our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts – but I am simply saying we should take this into account when we criticise ourselves (or others) for not conforming to a certain ideal. Be wary of the image people portray on social media!
By posting beautiful photos that make us look extremely happy and outgoing all the time, by sharing interesting news articles that make us look smart and interesting and by commenting the things that will get the most likes, we create an image of ourselves that probably does not reflect who we are in real life. Let’s be honest, we are probably not as witty or snarky all the time as we are in our comments. This might seem like a bit of an exaggeration to some, but it is so easy to come across as a very different person on social media than around family or close friends.
You might think the things you post do not affect anyone that follows you or is ‘friends’ with you, but you might be surprised if one day someone approaches you about something you posted or said on social media, and told you they looked up to you or envied you because of it.
I guess the key takeaway here would be to stay true to your real self and not to mistake everything you see on social media for the whole picture. If you do not do this, you will continue trying (granted, some try harder than others) to please everyone around you. Not only friends or followers on social media, but also the people you see and meet in real life. You will continue doing, saying and posting the things you think other people will want to see or hear. But remember that the moment you become really interesting is when you show people your authentic self. Tell them what you truly think or feel. But remember to stay kind!
Need some more inspiration? Check out this post by Molly Galbraith: