“You will never influence the world trying to be like it” – Anonymous
I think this sentiment is of utmost importance in a society where we are constantly inundated with social media, and ad campaigns that overtly and subconsciously force feed us with “standards” of what the “Joneses” or “cool kids” are doing; what they are wearing, what they are listening to, what they are watching, what coffee shops they frequent, what cosmetics they use, what house they live in. The list goes on and on. We are pummeled each day with how to look, how to be more like this and less like that. Although it isn’t easy, I believe that it would behoove each of us to take note from Miss Colbie Caillat and dance to the beat of our own drummer, “Embrace who you are, love it, and let people see it.” This mentality would do a world of good for our emotions, our happiness, and our planet.
Downside of Constant Connectivity
While I feel on a whole that it is wonderful that we live in an era in which connectivity is at our fingertips, I question some of the negative repercussions. All of this exposure forces unnecessary standards. It creates a culture where we are constantly comparing ourselves with others, worrying over how we “stack up” against celebrities, our families, our peers, our co-workers, our colleagues, & those random “friends” on Facebook who we met once at a party. The great marketers of the world have jumped on this trend like white-on-rice creating a culture of “fast fashion” that feeds a looming pressure to always be “on fleek”: dressed to the nines, carrying the latest bag, driving the trendiest car, etc. This mentality begs the question, “Can you remember who you were before the world told you who to be?”
How Consumerism Affects the Self
While I don’t believe that taking pride in your appearance, or the idea of social media are terrible in and of themselves; I DO think that this mentality of keeping up with the Joneses has had an absolutely atrocious impact on our emotions, and on our environment. The movie “The True Cost” effectively demonstrates how consumerism, specifically in the fashion industry, has created quite the slippery slope of collateral damage in regards to environmental and personal well-being.
While I think that we should all “express ourselves” and rock a style that is true to our spirit, I believe there is a conscientious way to go about it; a way that is sustainable, responsible, and kind; reduce, reuse, repurpose, upcycle. What people fail to realize is that consumerism, work environments, and the well-being of our mind, body, spirit, and planet are all correlated and intertwined. “What you do to the environment, you ultimately do to yourself. Stop viewing yourself as separate from the environment. You’re not. The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected.” – Ian Somerhalder
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” – Anna Lappé
Being True to Yourself
So with all of that being said, live with intent, follow your heart, and don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Remember that, “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it,” according to Winston Churchill.
Always be yourself – everyone else is already taken. Don’t fret if your “ideal” lifestyle does not look like your neighbor’s, your friend’s, or your coworker’s dream. And conversely, don’t judge others whose dream does not look like your own. “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road does not mean they are lost” – Dalai Lama
“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth” – Unknown
Feed your soul. Feed your spirit. Let your light shine bright. “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else”– Judy Garland.
Let’s make the most of each moment. Let’s take care of ourselves by taking care of our planet, taking care of one another. Let’s live for the moments we can’t put into words.