A Loss of Sense of Self
I am suddenly nostalgic for the days of the Champagne-Supernova, when the Gallagher brothers were still brothers, and when the lyrics of “Black Hole Sun” didn’t take on such a literal meaning. Before social media and texting. When we had real phone conversations and real-life snapshots. Before the hipster, the whole foodie and the highly intellectualized Zen culture. Back when we were baby adults listening to Nirvana, Oasis and Soundgarden just testing the waters, trying to figure out what was bullshit, and what to do with it. It seems simple to say, but maintaining a solid sense of self back then was so much easier.
Sense of Self” In The Spray-Tanned Age of The Selfie
Years later I find myself in a different culture altogether. Through social media, our society has evolved (or devolved) into a civilization of obsessively groomed Facebook profiles (Facade Book?) and snarky Twitter feeds that exhibit (perfect) lifestyles. This is all served up by a generation that concedes such sophistication and intellect that “Snark” is their first language. It’s easy to feel a little “less than” in such a tough crowd, as it’s only natural to devalue our overall sense of self in comparison to these super smart, gorgeous souls living the ever-exclusive culture of cool. In this climate how is it possible to maintain grace and an honest “sense of self” in the spray-tanned age of the selfie?
Start with Surrendering.
Just throw your hands in the air, wave a white flag, or crank up some Nirvana and roll down your windows as you drive through your nearest hipster haven shooting the bird. Recognize that it is okay not be like the rest of the herd. It’s okay to not be that polished evolved person who knows more than the Food and Drug Administration or the American Medical Association and the Center for Disease Control. Shit, it’s even okay to be a Republican. Do what you feel…not what you’re bullied into feeling. It’s okay to take a reprieve and separate. Be imperfect, embrace your insecurities and wear them well.
Here’s the thing…
As modern women we rush to yoga and Pilates. We drink green drinks and lovingly massage our kale before feeding it to our macrobiotic bodies. This is good! Yes, be healthy. Make kale the new spinach in your life, just like everyone else. But don’t be afraid to color outside the lines of today’s idealistic boundaries.
Seriously you don’t want to miss the whole point of your yoga practice by wondering how many chaturangas and camel poses you have to do to be absolved for immunizing your kids…and feeding them McDonalds.
It’s all okay because what’s going to shine through is your courage and grace to be no one else but you…nothing else really matters.
Find Some Peace
Get rid of extraneous noise that comes from toxic chatter. Then dump people that plant bad seeds in your psyche. It’s up to you cultivate healthy mind crops for yourself, and those lucky enough to harvest those crops with you. Listen more. Speak less, or just be silent. Perhaps experiment with a separation from the constant hum and pull of social media for a few days. Read a book, write something, call someone or cook for yourself. Consider this short separation a chance to enchant your “self.” Who knows, sparks could fly, and you may really like (love) the person you find there. Just think…if you can be content in your own head, what an attractive place that would seem for others.
Look at it like this…
The selfie generation is out there pathologically snapping pictures in their bathroom mirror, because they NEED YOU TO SEE how _____ (thin, pretty, happy, rich…) they are. Meanwhile you’re romancing your sense of self by listening and learning. You are feeding your psyche and building energy that generates its fuel from within…no “likes” or outside validation needed. This “self-generated-light approach” kind of puts a whole new twist on the concept of “taking a selfie,” huh? Go with it…and maybe get some shades.
Be Humble, Kind and Cordial
Twerking, texting, selfies and sexting are the norm, leaving conversation and real connection hanging somewhere between the cliz-ub, cyberspace and the nearest 4G tower. Don’t misunderstand, it’s fun and OMG who doesn’t love a good bootie-shaking session? Shit, I’m twerking right now! It’s all good, sexting, texting, all of it, just don’t forget to genuinely connect with people. Give the term “I feel ya Bro…” some real fucking depth, by making eye contact when speaking to someone. Reach out and call someone for a change, and let him or her know you wanted to hear their voice.
Make Someone’s Day
You’ll find its feels good to make others feel good and it’s really simple to do too. Just try to add to the light that already surrounds you. Make a daily decision to double the amount of good energy around you by slowing down, smiling and noticing people. Ask the barista how she’s doing. Pay someone a compliment, or make a person’s day by leaving an anonymous note on a random parked car (careful, no creepy messages). Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” He’s right. Try it and see.
Be Real Know Who You Are
Possibly the most important thing in cultivating a healthy sense of self is being real. Dump the ultra-posed selfie for the imperfect snapshot. Don’t be a freak show and walk around in full makeup ALL the time. That’s exhausting for everyone. Show your skin, and be kind to it. Speak the truth, and if that truth is not kind or necessary then…be silent. Find your passion and be true to it. Find your dream and make it real. Start a romance with your imagination. Take it out for date night often. Feed it good food (art, books, fear, love) to keep it nourished and hungry at the same time. Acknowledge your insecurities and let them go, by proving them false, as from now on, you only carry truth.
So now that you sparkle, and your solid “sense of self” is bumping and grinding with the universe, get out there and share what you got. Make the world a better place, shine on and go forth as you transmit the real meaning of “taking a selfie”
This article was picked up by RebelleSociety.com