Years ago I got so overwhelmed by all the conversations I was having around social media inside and out of my practice: How it can make us feel like shit, erode our confidence, remind us of our loneliness, question our relationships that in February of 2013, I posted for about a month the real life I was living: piles of laundry, stacks of dishes, dirty refrigerator, etc. I couldn’t take the developing nagging feeling to “present “ well that was filling my life and the lives of friends, family, and clients. I decided to turn it on its head and show the unfiltered, untouched up, dirty places in my life and I encouraged others to join me in #reallifephotoaday. At the time it seemed not only to help me but others be real and open about what life is really like and examine little more closely the things we feel the need to gloss up for social media.
That was 5 years ago in many ways we have become much more aware of the "presenting" that we do on social media and in many ways, it is far worse. Maybe it has become one of those things we just don't think about anymore because we are so used to it and with everything going on in the world if feels taboo to speak about. Maybe on some level, we have come to believe that what people are posting is really how they are living and we just somehow pulled the short straw. Whatever it is, it is REAL and a contributor of the isolation people feel in this new world we are living in.
I want to be clear I think there are great things that come with being connected. For me, it is a simple way of having contact with my friends all over the world. With very little effort I can see their lives and feel in a small way connected to them. This isn't the same as being next door or truly being in the mess of each other's lives, but it is still a fantastic tool.
The problem as we all know is people aren’t publicizing their truth most of the time their publishing their truth in that moment or the truth they think is photo worthy, acceptable, perfect to look at, best foot forward. Not the truth of real-life pain, loneliness or the chaotic nature that our lives resemble more often than not.
We know looking good and presenting well aren't new concepts, humans have been trying to look good for others since the beginning of the human race the difference is now it’s instant. If we feel alone and get on social media we are instantly reminded that everyone else is living their #bestlives. We know immediately that we weren't invited or included. We know who partied together, rented a beach house and went to Hawaii without us. What we don't know is if they ever feel lonely or isolated.
This is the reality of the lives we are living now and I'm not saying don't live it. I'm saying be reflective in your living put a little truth with the gloss. Put a little chaos in the clean. Put the wrinkles in the photos and leave off the filter once in awhile and don't apologize for it.
My #bestlife comes with the work of living; the days I feel shit and can’t seem to connect to my body or my spirit; when it’s hard to get out of bed; admit I have needs and fears; those moments and all the little seemingly insignificant moments are what brings me closer to my best life.
Why? How? I am getting to know what is inside this fragile human shell. All of its failures and successes. It’s joys and sorrows. I’m am not attracted to your perfect life in fact, truth be told I don’t trust it. I'm attracted to your humanity what connects us what reminds me you have pain and failure that aren’t so different from my own. This for me is us living our #bestlife
For the Month of May, I’m bringing the #reallifephotoaday project back and adding #therealbeautiful and to proudly show off my own underbelly. I will show unflattering selfies, dirty clothes and dishes, messes hidden in corners, dusty surfaces, maybe going to bed at 9 pm on a Friday, etc.
Where is your shame of the perfect life triggered? Let's shame our shame and post the real.
I look forward to being in the mess with you.