This morning I read a tweet (turned into a meme) from someone named Bruxy Cavey: “Humans long for unconditional love, but market a false self to get conditional love. Hence, our true selves are neither known nor loved.”
I have no idea who Bruxy is, what he does, if he’s nice or if he’s an asshole. I do believe though, based on this one statement, that he is very, very smart.
This is what I see on my social media feeds every single day. I see people – and when I say people what I really mean is women (mostly) – posting a daily dose of “Look at me and my wonderful life!” “Look at me working out!” “Look at me smelling flowers!” “Look at me having a glass of wine with someone else who wants you to look at them having a glass of wine with me!”
And on and on it goes. Humans longing for love. Longing to be seen. To be recognized. To be affirmed.
“Look at me, look at me, look at me. I’m okay, right?”
Am I okay.
Am I pretty enough, active enough, slim enough, interesting enough, young enough, aging gracefully enough? Am I worthy of your follow, of your like, of your comment, of your …. love.
Before I type another word I will admit to dancing with this devil myself. I work in an industry (media) where “profile” is important. Catering to “fans” is part of the job. Showcasing my work is “necessary advertisement” and publicizing parts of my life comes with the territory.
But I have never learned to take a good selfie and now I am glad. I do not want selfies of me saturating the internet. I do not feel an unquenchable need to share every moment of my life. When I go for a walk, I go for a walk. If I see something beautiful or interesting I take a picture. I take a picture of the beautiful or interesting thing. I do not take a picture of me grinning in front of the beautiful or interesting thing. I am neither beautiful nor interesting when I walk. I am typically sweaty and skanky. And ya know what – I do not need to post a picture of sweaty and skanky me (in front of something beautiful and interesting) and hashtag it with a bunch of humble mumbo-jumbo extolling the virtues of “keeping it real” or “getting the job done.”
I do not need to “market a false self” to get conditional love. Love that is conditional on me continuing to market the “profile” I have created. Not the “what’s in my head” profile. The “what do I look like living my fabulous life” profile.
Which brings me to this brief aside: those busy little social media beavers sharing their “insights” into how to be your best self or live your best life or blah, blah, blah … I’m bored. I’m pretty sure you’re not an expert. If I need expert advice I’ll buy a book or see a therapist. Armchair psychology delivered via social media by self-proclaimed “authorities” is little more than a lame attempt to create stardom – for yourself. You may think you’re helping, and maybe your fan-base will even confirm that. But in the end it is still YOU searching for affirmation. It’s weird how there is a whole new star-structure (usually self-awarded) on social media.
I write this blog BECAUSE I want my true self to be known. I know that I’m lucky if half a dozen people read my musings and that’s okay too. I would rather half a dozen people be compelled to THINK than a hundred dozen people believe my life is perfect because I purport it to be so.
Purport is my favourite word when it comes to social media pandering. Purport: to present, especially deliberately, the appearance of being, often falsely.
This is the time in my blog where I would normally bring forth stories of individuals I know who are guilty as charged. Believe me, I know LOTS of them. I love quite a few of them too, in spite of their addiction to self-promotion. And please understand I am well aware of the difference between promotion and self-promotion.
Promotion: Advocate your work. Advocate your creativity. Advocate your business. Advocate your product.
Self-promotion: YOU are now the product. Everything surrounding you is incidental. YOU are the star.
I can tell you honestly that most of the people I know who fill their feeds with their own face have insecurities. Self-esteem issues. Doubts. Uncertainties. Anxiety. And this oh-so-public addiction is the way they combat those demons. They seek “conditional love.” I mean c’mon – how can it be unconditional when it is ALL based on a photo? On what YOU choose and what YOU purport?
I find it all a bit sad. And so there will be no personal tales in this blog.
I will only say this: I love the sky. Sunrises, sunsets, clouds, huge vistas and starry nights. I love water and mountains and castles. I love happy people making merry and musical people making noise. I love artists who promote their art, businesses that promote their commerce, families that promote their tribe and friendships that promote their familiarity. I love travel photos and decorating photos and food photos and animal photos.
I do not love the blatant “marketing” of self in order to win conditional love. You want unconditional love? Try living your life, not as a continual photo op but as an experience in which you are truly and wholly present. An experience that doesn’t always have to be documented and certainly doesn’t ever need to be purported. A life not designed by your own inner ad-exec, desperate to sell your product, which is, of course … you.
Try taking yourself out of the picture every now and then.
You don’t have to BE the picture.
You can just live it. Enjoy it. Be in it.