Do you ever say hi? Do you smile?
How often do you say “you look great today” or “keep going” or “you’ve got this”?
Here’s the squirmy question … Do you ever say “I love you” to that other version of you in the mirror?
More often, it seems you may post a selfie of you taken through a lens, so that other people can look at your reflection. Which can be something completely different to who and what you actually are feeling or being ‘in the real’.
And what’s the purpose of sharing in this way? Why do we do it? To be acknowledged, because we don’t feel seen.
Look at me.
Look at my outfit.
Look at my hair.
Look at what I’m doing.
Look at me eating and pouting and pushing and primping.
But none of those things are really the ‘me’ that needs to be seen, right?
This war on our attention is impacting on our identity and our mental health.
Tim Wu puts it well…
Is our distracted state causing us to lose touch with ourselves? Is it hindering our ability to truly be, look at, and respect ourselves?
We are suckered into being who we think ‘they’ need us to be, because our favourite (and therefore ‘authoritative’) social platform is showing us all that we can be … and all that we’re not. We feel the need to fit in. We need to be ‘that’, because our cognitive biases and social norms dictate that we do ‘that’ (unconsciously, on distracted autopilot).
I’m with Michelle Obama on this:
So, how do we do that?
By taking responsibility for our lives. By strengthening our identity. By developing our love and respect for ourselves.
A good way to do this is to start living, working and acting more consciously. Paying attention to what you are doing, thinking, saying. How do these things reflect the ‘real’ you? Not the one you portray for the masses, as that’s what everyone is doing and that’s what you think you need to do too.
Is there a disconnect? What is it ‘like you’ to really be? Consider how you can become more of the person you want to be, in your daily thoughts and actions. Think about how you can become more of that person you will trust, love and respect wholeheartedly. Then do it.
Your ‘strength of character’ refers to the mental and moral qualities that define you. You won’t find them out there in ‘Instaland’. You will find them within you. Within that person looking back at you.
Developing our moral fibre takes work, as does fighting the war on our attention. But doing so helps us to become the version of us that we are always dreaming of becoming, instead of just dreaming of becoming it.
It takes practice being more conscious. There are no shortcuts, and there are risks to be taken. And you have to keep working at it. But there is also adventure, growth, enjoyment and reward to be found. Putting in the daily steps to build your character and strengthen your identity, helps you to love yourself better. So that you can become that better, brighter, well-adjusted version of you.
[Or “I like you”, “I dig you”, “you’re amazing”, etc. — choose the supportive words that work for you]
If that’s a bit too heavy on the mushy vibe, take it from Humberto Braga:
He continues with these brilliant words:
Look at yourself. Like yourself. Build yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Keep working on creating a truer version of you, that you can love.
(Not the image on your phone).
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