There is something I need to discuss, and it’s been brewing for quite some time…
(and if you can persist with me through this rather extended share I WILL get to how it relates to YOUR health, happiness and energy!)
An aspect of myself that has bothered me for a while; and an aspect of society that deeply upsets, disappoints and concerns me….
It came to quite a crescendo in the last 72 hours with the very courageous Essena O’Neill making a stand for what she believes in…
Sharing her unique perspective of the “portrayed perfect life” through social media & the actual contrived and false nature of it.
What I took from her message was NOT blame or “victim-mentality”, but rather a deep reflection on how she HAD been living; what she HAD found herself caught up in; the choices she WAS making and how none of it felt right for her….
For her, it was POSED and PRESSURED and FAKE….
She never said this was true of everyone in social media, or that EVERYONE in that space was miserable….
She simply shared her behind the scenes experience, so that those hundreds of thousands of young women and girls following her would KNOW that everything they had perceived of her, may not be quite right…
That she wasn’t as happy as she appeared or projected….
That she wasn’t as secure and confident as perhaps she seemed and came across….
THAT SHE WASN’T PERFECT….
That actually she was quite the imperfect human and she wants DEEPLY to be ok and at peace with this and STOP putting up the facade…
That she wants to do something with her life and moments that feels meaningful and real and as though it’s contributing to the consciousness of our world….
Was her delivery of this message perfect?
Were there some contradictions and reflections that may not have been completely accurate?
Is she a wise woman who “should know better” & be vilified for NOT being perfect in the way she went about this?
She is a TEEN GIRL. 19. Learning, growing, exploring, discovering, adjusting, sharing….
AND BEING AS REAL and COURAGEOUS as she can in that sharing….
The courage I have witnessed in this young woman far outstrips anything Ive seen in any adult….
NO makeup. COMPLETE vulnerability. KNOWING she will cop flack. KNOWING she will be ridiculed….
She put herself out there. I DEEPLY admire that.
The essence of her message was IMPORTANT:
You are more than an image. You are more than a physical being. What you look like does NOT determine your worth, or how much of a good human you are.
Life is about MORE than what you look like, what you have, how “famous” you are, how many “likes” and “followers” you get.
Life is passing you by every moment you have your head in your phone “living” through a LARGELY artificial and contrived world. Where you only see the “stage show”, NOT the behind the scenes.
That REAL life is so much more meaningful than “social media” life and that REAL connections- even though they may be less- can be so much more fulfilling and rewarding….
She never said there was NO PLACE for social media or that it was ALL bad….
Just that her experience of how she, and many other girls she knew through that space, were using it wasn’t the most healthy, and she herself needed to separate from it.
It inspired me and I know countless others. Because we could relate….
Many of us have spent too much of our past, or recent, life scrolling though these “pictures of perfection”….
Comparing ourselves harshly and thinking “they have it all”….
In the space I work, I see and hear of the damage these “images” feed for endless girls and women…
I for one had NO idea that often HUNDREDS of pictures could be taken just to get that ONE amazing selfie or shot…..
Or that Photo-shop apps are used to “perfect” the image that we end up seeing before us (i thought that was only in magazines!)….
OR that these women/girls are PAID to promote products…. (sometimes it’s obvious, but certainly not always and no where near to the extent of the truth!)
My experience of social media and “sharing my life” through that medium is SO DIFFERENT- simply a FEW selfies/shots taken, choose the best one (WHO chooses the worst?!!?), maybe add a basic filter and BOOM, up it goes!…
I share a product if Im really loving it and want others to know about it for their own enjoyment/pleasure/benefit….
So even just I learned A LOT from Essena’s share and I have to be honest, it made me feel SO much better about my very imperfect selfies and shots and “life”….!
Not that I’m not happy in who I am or my life, but in the past I’ve had moments of seeing all of this through rose-coloured glasses, truly thinking that somehow “they were so much better than me”…..
As I’ve grown and matured (and I really do understand that there is a VERY different way that the “Princess” archetype VS “Queen” archetype uses and perceives social media), I definitely see and experience it all completely differently and I actually don’t even follow these kinds of accounts anymore! However many vulnerable girls and women ARE living this experience every day….
HATING their bodies and appearance in comparison to the perfection that are seeing EVERYWHERE in their feeds….
WISHING they were someone else…. (and actually that was one of the VERY KEY REASONS Essena started this movement in the beginning!! Because COUNTLESS times a day she would read from someone that they WISHED THEY WERE HER!! And she felt SO SAD about that… That they couldnt LOVE WHO THEY WERE!!)
Anyway, regardless of the OPINIONS and PERSPECTIVES of Essena’s message and movement, what I really want to discuss is actually NOT my perception or opinion (as I am VERY AWARE that “we don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are! So really there’s at least 7 billion ways to look at and think about this!) but rather:
Our tendency to pull others down…
To WANT to find their flaws and shortcomings so we can feel better about ourselves…
This whole saga has brought this to the fore for me….
I have done this so many times.
Flippantly said something HURTFUL and JUDGEMENTAL about someone in the public light….
Someone with success, beauty, popularity, confidence, a perceived “perfect anything”
I used to do it without any awareness. No consciousness of WHY I was doing it….
I never questioned this tendency or habit, perhaps believing it was “normal”…
Everyone bitches and gossips and talks about others right??
At least that was the environment in which I grew up….
I was unconsciously conditioned that pointing out other peoples flaws- be they physical, mental, emotional – was a fun and acceptable thing to do…
I hate admitting it, but “people watching” and picking the flaws in others was one of our “most favourite pass times”!!!
That makes me feel SO SAD to admit that!
As Ive grown and become more connected to myself and my truth and my heart, I have become painfully aware that THIS HABIT HURTS and leaves me feeling NOTHING BUT YUCK AND GUILTY!!!
I decided quite some time ago that I no longer wanted to pull others down so “I could feel better”…
That actually it DID NOT make me feel better and that the TRUTH was that whatever I was PERCEIVING about them and PROJECTING at them, was an aspect of MYSELF that I could not embrace or accept or see….
It was ME….
My desire to SPIT something HURTFUL at someone else, was simply a reflection of a place of pain in MYSELF….
And it did nothing to soothe my wounds, it only FED them….
Only HURT PEOPLE, hurt people….
A calm, peaceful, loving person who is HAPPY in themselves and who they are, and where they are at, does NOT even THINK to see or notice these “seeming flaws” in others…
They either don’t notice at all, or they are likely to immediately see the positive angle…..
The admirable and commendable perspective…
They just have TOTALLY different filters through which they see everyone and everything, and it comes from a space of INNER LOVE and ACCEPTANCE…
And although I’ve become SO MUCH MORE AWARE of this tendency in me, and ALMOST eradicated it, in those moments it unconsciously slips through, I am left feeling almost physically ILL and ASHAMED immediately after….
Just the other day I observed my own desire to “pick pieces” out of Lorna Jane for her crazily immaculate fridge….!!
WHY?! Why so petty??? Why so nasty??
Why not feel admiration for a woman who has pursued her visions and dreams and created an empire that she loves???
I ADMIRE those who have these kinds of thoughts and perceptions and I feel PAIN around my obvious insecurities that cause me to (initially & unconsciously) see through different filters…
It is one of my current aspirations to OWN all of my stuff, and see my projected reactions and judgements for what they really are….
Aspects of ME that I need to heal, forgive and embrace so that I can become the always peaceful, content, present and accepting human I desire to BE.
I’ve personally NEVER MET A PERFECT HUMAN….
And yet I can see now in retrospect that subconsciously I have EXPECTED myself to be, and rejected myself HARSHLY when I haven’t lived up to these perfect expectations….
AND THAT this personal obsession or fixation with being PERFECT is the root of MY drive to unconsciously want to pull down others in their moments of glory or accomplishment or beauty….
Because it made ME FEEL inadequate, or less than or ashamed….
And I truly believe that this is why SO MANY of us do this…
Cast judgement or condemnation or ridicule….
Our OWN inability to FULLY accept and love OURSELVES is projected onto others….
And from what I can ascertain, if we could simply STOP focusing on our judgements and perceptions of others and instead use any triggers that arise in this manner as flags to look within and see where and how this is OUR ISSUE, then we can not only heal ourselves, we can also contribute to the healing of humanity….
So many of us live and struggle with our own INNER PAIN….
I hear about it every single day….
The constant inner battle….the relentless inner critic…. the ongoing self-loathing transcript….
It hurts. And it can cause people to go to such places of darkness and despair that they lose their desire and passion and energy to live….
NONE OF US ARE PERFECT….
None of us have lived without learning lessons; growing; revising; making errors or doing things we regret….
And that is why I really WISH we could instil a societal attitude based on the sentiments of this biblical paraphrase (no Im not religious, and no I have dont have an issue or even opinion on anyone who is, I just like this concept):
“let him who is without sin cast the first stone”
And THAT is my message and desire from what I have witnessed and seen unfold with this “Essena debacle”…
It has been more evident to me than EVER just how we do this in our world…
Spit our own hurts at others….
And I for one no longer which to contribute to this energy…
I want to “see the light in others”…
I want to LIVE IN LOVE, FROM LOVE….
It FEELS so much nicer….
It creates CALM, and PEACE and JOY inside of me….
And THAT is the EPITOME of health…..
True INNER peace and contentment…
ONLY in that space can we create TRUE HEALTH….
ONLY in that space can we create enduring HAPPINESS….
ONLY in that space can we access an endless source of ENERGY and INSPIRATION…
Everything else : food, exercise, mediation, breathing….. They’re just AIDES in the path to wellness and contentment
And without a FOUNDATION of inner peace, they are ever so fleeting and volatile in their effect and impact…
For your OWN health, happiness and energy, I challenge you to turn all of your judgements and projections of others, into opportunities to heal yourself…
To find the calm, peace, INNER contentment we all truly desire….
And see how it slowly transforms not only YOUR world, but the world at large!
All my love,
Mind, Body, Soul Wellness
Dietitian ~ Counsellor ~ Psychology of Eating Coach
Founder of New Leaf Nutrition and The Glow Project
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