Social media makes us all seem perfect in today’s world based on the images that we see and post. In very few instances do you see the raw footage or the real behind-the-scenes life of a person. It is all designed to make them look good and for us to want to be like them.
Before social media, I grew up in a world with no computers or smartphones, yet my family still portrayed a perfect image of the outside world. Despite everything that was going on in my family with my alcoholic father and somewhat dysfunctional family, we never showed that to the public, but only to very close family members. To the outside world, we looked and acted like the perfect family. My parents never told us not to say anything, but it was implied to keep “our secret” within the family.
This attitude and the unspoken rule changed how I interacted with several people during my childhood. There are relationships that I wish I could go back and change the way I treated people because my family’s influence affected the way I saw these people. I made some poor choices which I have felt bad about over the years. I could not share what was happening until I was 18 and was able to tell my close friends and others what was going on. That allowed me to realize who I was and who I needed to be.
As I live today, I wonder why we are still trying to be perfect and show that perfect family image with an ideal job and lifestyle. As a society, we idealize their perfect pictures and stories. We are afraid to talk about anything that might make us seem weak or vulnerable, yet so many people in the same situation are so reluctant to speak the truth.
As a parent, I struggle with helping my kids become strong and independent young adults. I feel that we are being kept in our bubbles, showing a false perfection. I see so many people on social media sharing how wonderful their life is and everything that they do, but I wonder what they are covering up. Why is society afraid to talk about our issues and challenges – about our imperfections.
I know that as a parent that I have struggled with whether I am raising my children the “right way.” Who knows what the “right way” is? How do I deal with these challenges and issues? I wondered if I shared more of what was happening with others would better conversation and support one another and bring together families, friends, and neighbors to be there for one another.
The worry I have is that a part of society would love to find your weakness and exploit it, make fun of it and use it to their advantage. Some in the community would love to make you not feel good or hold you back in life. Why can’t we break down the walls to enable us to share the way things really are? We all have things happening in our lives, from challenging children to issues like body image, mental wellness, and vulnerabilities, not being good enough or strong enough to make the team, or being made to feel like an outsider.
In the end, I’m not looking for people to come together and hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” In the end, I would love to see our community and society be there to support and encourage one another to become the best individuals and communities that we can be. There would be no fear of sharing something that would be held against us, instead would help build us and our families to be strong and connected.
In the end, we need to portray ourselves as perfect. We need to start reaching out and connecting and not worrying about who has this going on or who has that going on. We need to focus on how we can help and support one another. Then we can learn and become one so that we can share all our unique gifts, strengths, and talents with the world.
We need to step back from social media and get back to family and friends without a little device in our hands but sitting face-to-face across the table or in the backyard, laughing, crying, and just enjoying each other one‘s company.
I dare you to be imperfect.
I dare you to break the perfect mold of your family.
I dare you to be your authentic you!
The world needs the real you!