Author Donald Miller posted the following in his blog, “Many people spend their lives trying to be somebody they aren’t, but real power comes from accepting who you are and running with it to the best of your ability.” This was taken from a week long series of life coaching. He also asked a question that basically asked, “Would the people around you know what you stand for?” Both of these ideas hit home for me, and hard!
I honestly have never really watched reality shows like Jersey Shore or “fill in the blank” but I understand them. Looking deep into ourselves can be deeply unnerving and scary. It is best to point to some other “reality” and reassure ourselves that we are better than those poor souls on Jerry Springer. We live in a society that only champions perfection, and/or winners. A humorous nod to this was given in the movie Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby’s dad’s advice was, “If you’re not first, you’re last!” People laughed about this while scoffing at the stupidity of it, but how far off is it from our real lives? Watch any game show or televised competition and you will see that second place is garbage to these people. I saw a man playing the final puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, and he was seriously angry about missing the puzzle. The host said, “You should be happy as you are leaving here with $18,000” but the man mentioned that it could have been $48,000 as he hung his head. This man did 30 minutes worth of “work”, making what some people wont make in a year, yet he was sad about being first but not winning the final puzzle. Really?! I watch this play out daily with families. Parent’s who push their kids to “be the best!” Well I have news for you, if the best is first place the bulk of society will be sorely disappointed in their children and themselves.
This belief is strongly juxtaposed to EVERYBODY gets a trophy, but that’s an issue we will discuss in a later blog.
Where did we verve off course? I am not that old, and I remember a time not long ago when people by and large did a good job because it was the right thing to do. There wasn’t massive celebrity worship, and people had real, honest integrity, along with a deep value system. I’m not remembering some false version of the good old days because these are values that I, and many of my peers have.
Now more than ever we are able to give other people these perfect snapshots of our lives, putting on this façade of completion, giving the illusion that we have it all figured out. What’s hidden below the surface of a snapshot is reality.
So what if we were all more honest? Honest with ourselves, with what we struggle with, and help each other to look inward by showing our reality? Wouldn’t these moments of candor make yourself and the reader look deeper? Wouldn’t it make all of us think about what our life stands for, and relieve a mountain of pressure to be perfect?
It has only been through real face to face conversations, and contact when I have had the most intimate connections; they were completely watershed moments for both parties. I have heard friends who are deeply spiritual say, “sometimes I’m afraid to talk to God in fear that God won’t listen to me or simply won’t be there.” YES! People are lying if they say that they’ve never had a doubt about faith but mostly what we see are vacation photos and pictures of 5 star dinners. Why? Because these interactions can only happen when there is safety, and support. This is something deeply lacking in our brave new digital world. However, I think it is possible through sincerity and honesty to make better connections virtually; to restore our integrity, and give honest validation to people living their lives the best that they can.
However, take it a step further. Make it a point to spend quality face to face time with friends and family. Reconnect, recharge, and give others your most valued gift, your time.