I once was in first grade, on a hot summer day playing in the kiddie pool, and I told the entire neighborhood that my mom was an Olympic figure skater on the Mexican national team. Okay Shannon, that was quite the attention grabber. But I will get to the point. The point: this was a lie that I told. The lie started a small flame and spread like wild fire around the neighborhood. Everyone started asking my mom “Wow, the Olympics?? You must have been legendary.” All the neighborhood moms knew this was of course, a lie, and laugh about it to this day because it was such a random and weird thing to hear coming from a first grader. My mom came in my room a day later and asked me why I would make up such a silly thing. But to tell you the truth (lol) I’m not really sure why. Maybe I really wanted my mom to be on the Mexican figure skating team. Maybe I wanted her to be an Olympic athlete so I could tell all my friends at lunch the next day. Maybe I wanted to be interesting. Who knows. So without further ado, today’s topic is about the truth.
The truth??? Yep. That little anecdote above is just a smidge of what we are going to talk about. Some call it reality. And what’s reality? Reality is what is actually going on. In the dictionary, reality is defined as “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.” The truth of the matter. Let’s walk through a couple of examples.
The sky is blue, the clouds are made of water, the grass is green. Truths. Here is how it relates to human beings. There are fat people, skinny people, oblong people, plump people, people with brown hair, blonde hair, green eyes, blue eyes, we have blood running through our vascular system to our heart to help us live our lives. There are people in this world who are good readers, writers, good athletes, bad athletes. More truths. Okay, so you get the point now. People and things are what they are because…well…they just are. Here is where things get sticky and I attempt at making a point. I’m not going to fill my blog pages with every post knocking social media and how it sucks, but let’s get this straight here– with the media being so down our throats nowadays, with likes on the line, with job postings asking for a minimum requirement of “X number of followers on social media accounts,”, and with people actually making a living posting pictures all over the internet, our image is more important than ever to the public these days. Being liked is of the utmost importance of society. Whether some people would like to admit this or not, 99% of us WANT to be liked, we NEED to feel important. Even the most pessimistic individual who says they do not care of one’s opinion of them, wants to feel important somehow.
And that’s not a bad thing, by the way. Being liked is a great quality to have. Feeling important and having people like us gives us a sense of connection and belonging, as explained by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So what happens? When you want to be liked there are a lot of things that start to happen. We start to pay attention to our influences. With years of being conditioned by what used to be only our parents or immediate family, we now have our peers, our peers social media accounts, our professors, coaches, what we watch on the TV, news stations with their own personal bias, our school systems to “educate”, universities, blog posts, etcetera–we’re all being socialized, every second of the day to help us determine what is “likable” or acceptable versus what is not.
How exhausting is that? I’m exhausted after reading that myself. But it is an important observation. When it comes to how we are influenced, it starts with our parents and immediate family. Our “tribe”, if you will. At that point, we grow older, our brains start to develop, we have opinions now from our previous trials of influencing, our friends have opinions that want our opinions to become their opinions and on that note we start to engage in a little something called groupthink. I was listening to a podcast by Joe Rogan (I will link it below) where he had philanthropist and angel investor Naval Ravikant on discussing the idea of tribalism. Very interesting stuff but it was 2 hours long, so summing it up– we identify with our “tribe.” When we identify with our tribe and engage in groupthink, throughout life, in schools, social media, or political parties the “truth” of these groups (what we are supposed to believe) is taught, preached, and lived. Because these so called “truths” are being preached for the masses to follow and conform to, the “individual” truth is taking a backseat.
Let’s run it back however, just to make sure I’ve not completely lost you. So the brain functions, distinguishes our tribe along with the influences that teach us the so called “truth” through groupthink. This makes individualism hard. We are influenced to conform from an early age. Social media puts our image on blast and feeds our brains even more of what is liked and what is not. Got it.
So here we go with why the truth is so important. And to start that discussion, we need to delve into what the truth isn’t– a lie.
It’s simple. Here’s how it goes…you think of the reality of the situation, whether it be an external truth about the universe, the world, or even an internal one about yourself. Now avoid it by talking about something that isn’t that. A lie. A fallacy. Why do people do it? The list is endless as to why people fail to tell the truth. For personal gain, status, attention, insecurity, you name it, there is one commonality amongst these motives… We are unable to accept our reality; our individual truth.
Let us take an example. Instagram. A feeding ground for fallacies and lies about a perceived reality. Women in their twenty somethings will edit their pictures to be a little thinner if they think they’re too fat, ass a little fatter, jawline a little slimmer. But why? Because sometimes we don’t like how we look, even if that’s how we look at the time. When women and men make these edits to their pictures, we are not seeing the real version of this person. We do not want to accept the current reality that we may have a little bloat after eating some four-cheese nachos. We do not want to accept the fact that our butts do not look like any one of the Kardashian’s butts. We might not want to accept the fact that we might be overweight, unhappy, or flawed in anyway. Now that might upset some people, I get that. We do not want to accept the great features we have about ourselves, of our incredible, working, human bodies, because we’re so busy comparing ourselves to Behati Prinsloo’s amazing bod after being pregnant with two kids. The perceived reality is that Behati Prinsloo has the best supermodel body, but the actual reality is that in order to get herself back into model shape, she had to make a lot of sacrifices, and face a lot of harsh realities about herself to get back to where she wanted to be. It probably wasn’t easy as she makes it look. Her story is not the same as your story.
Another example. Some guy posts a picture with his current girlfriend, and they are so happy, smiling and in love, and everything is perfect. The “perceived reality” strikes again. But what you don’t see behind that smiling picture, are the hard and mature conversations that have to happen for them to stay together, or the sad fact that Debra is nose deep in six other guys dm’s being unfaithful every weekend. But from the outside, they have a “healthy relationship” when the reality is it might be very unhealthy. A lie.
We will see men and women traveling to all parts of the globe for a summer straight, visiting the most spiritual temples of India, backpacking through the Swiss Alps, or sipping the finest wine from the Marchesi di Barolo winery and think “why doesn’t my life look like that.” Sis, it doesn’t look like that right now because it doesn’t look like that right now. Read that again. You might not have the funds to pay for that trip, or the motivation to plan, but whatever it is, your life is your life, and their life is theirs. Who knows, that picture taken on the Swiss Alps with the majestic mountain cattle might have taken four hours of struggle and pain, someone might have thrown up over the side of the mountain, or the cattle might have pooped on someone’s shoe. Who even knows if it was that amazing of an experience? The point is, it might look wicked cool from the outside, but you don’t really know if that’s what YOU want to do, because again, this is your reality as we speak and their reality is something different. And that is COMPLETELY okay. And I’ll be the first one to say that there are so many good things social media does for business, connections, promotions etc. but the point here, is beyond that. You can’t rely on Instagram and someone else’s perceived reality to experience the cool side of your own life. If you want that trip to India so bad to visit the Taj Mahal, then start saving! Start planning, do the research, ask for some help, and MAKE it your reality to experience.
So the big lesson here, which I will not exclude myself from as I have learned some things while writing this–with so many avenues of influence, have you ever sat with yourself to think about your own personal truth? With no distractions, no influence, just your own personal being. Your own reality of your situation. I saw a quote that really hit deep for me by Stephen Cope, an author and psychotherapist who studies the affects of meditation and yoga.
“Through practice, I’ve come to see that the deepest source of my misery is not wanting things to be the way they are. Not wanting myself to the be the way I am. Not wanting the world to be the way it is. Not wanting others to be the way they are. Whenever I am suffering, I find this war with reality to be the heart of the problem.”
And this is the crux of it all. As a society, we try so hard to portray these images of ourselves, that are simply….inaccurate. We go on LinkedIn to share how successful we are with the world in this cool, new, lucrative opportunity, when we might hate the job in reality. We post a happy picture of ourselves, so we can be perceived as happy, even if we struggle on the inside. We find ourselves attracted to people who we think will fulfill our image of that dream relationship that we’ve put so high on a pedestal, but realize they might not be the one for us, so the relationship suffers when we try to fit this person into our false reality.
So to this I say, it’s okay to be human. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to not be perfect. Accept yourself for what you are. Even if that means you have flaws. I know that sounds corny, or maybe you’ve heard it before from someone else, but I mean this. We can work on these flaws, refine ourselves to our highest selves when we can distinguish our realities from our illusions. Because when you experience finding your own truth, you find peace in that. The closer you are to your own truth, coming to conclusions on your own, we can better understand others, and let them into our lives. “Looking the part” will never ever trump “being the part.” We are human “beings” after all, so let’s just be.
Joe Rogan Feat. Naval Ravikant
One thought on “A Little Something About the Truth”
hi 💛 i loved the message. needed the message. thank you. i enjoy your perspective & your writing. i gained some weight recently, and i’m okay with it. i don’t need to be a certain size just bc freaking it told
me to. this whole blog IS THE REALITY
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