July 24, 2013

Dear Facebook, It’s Not You, It’s Me.

I’m a Facebook addict. There. It’s out in the open.

I admit it: I think Facebook is one of the greatest inventions ever. It keeps us so entwined and connected with each other. From personal events to politics to to do it yourself home remedies to explosive gossip. We can get it all on Facebook.

Me? I love to use Facebook to share my thoughts, my knowledge and to inspire others to live a wonderfully healthy and abundant life.

Last week I put up a post entitled “Good Abs Are Made In The Kitchen” and one of my fans or followers freaked out. She replied,

“How can people love themselves ‘as they are’ if everything in the media screams:

‘Make yourself better!’ or

‘If you do this & that you’ll LOOK better!’ or

‘Flatten that belly’ or

‘Use this and you’ll look younger (prettier)!”

In light of her statement, I felt an urgent need to address this topic.

As a health and wellness coach, I am all about self improvement, but what I am not about is self hate.

Like I said, my mission is to inspire and motivate people to be their best. Never in a million years would I want to bring someone down or make her feel bad about herself.

Ahhhh. But here in lies the rub.

Every one of us perceives messages based upon our own psychological make up. While I may see a fit body and get inspired, you may see that very same image and feel depressed. And a third person may get so motivated, she’ll stop at nothing to attain that image.

There really is no way to know who will perceive a certain message in any particular way. How you may react to something is so personal. It’s really a reflection of you and your direct experiences with life.

Therefore, in our society, we will continue live in a place of mixed messages and most likely misperception.

There is a huge distinction between what it means to love yourself as you are and what it means to work on self improvement.

I highly doubt that the brainiacs behind media campaigns are suggesting that we are not good enough to begin with. That would be seriously ridiculous. Instead, it’s my belief they are helping us find ways towards our own self-improvement. Striving towards our highest potential. Finding the very best within ourselves.

If you’re not into self-care or self-motivation, no biggie. You don’t have to listen to these messages. Maybe they are not for you. And that’s okay.

Here’s the deal. None of us take the best care of ourselves. Come on, admit it. Even me: gluten-free, mostly raw vegan, mostly will stay up too late at night and eat an entire bag of Boulder Canyon All Natural Potato Chips in bed. Yuck. Or I’ll be too lazy to wash my face or take my supplements. And that takes two minutes!

I’ll get in a pissing match with my husband, which I know will wear me out for the remainder of the day, over something stupid like what time we should book an airline flight.

So, we all need help. That’s reality.

And if we didn’t need help, there would be little to no need for therapists, nutritionists, yoga instructors, health or life coaches and self-help books. And there is a huge demand for all of the above, right?

Sad but true: more people than I’d like to think about treat their bodies like trash cans, have horrible health and/or weight issues and are friggin’ miserable. They surely don’t know how to live in a way that may optimize their potential.

Now I know what you’re already thinking—I bet you think I’m suggesting that that if we have pretty hair or a thin body, we are “self-improved.” And that is absolutely not what I’m suggesting at all.

What I am suggesting is that if you wash your hair and if you start moving your body around and eat well, you will undoubtedly feel better.

And when we feel better about ourselves, our moods improve and we have confidence. I’m sure you know what kind of impact positive energy and happiness can have on the rest of the world.

The messages that are being sent out by the media are not intended to be a mechanism for self-hate.

Rather, they are vehicles for change and possibly a great inspiration for those who want to gain control of their lives.

If you are comfortable with who you are and what you have, and don’t feel the need to self-improve, you don’t even have to listen to these messages. You surely should not be taking them personally. You have the right to choose what you listen to anyway, right?

If, on the other hand you hear a message in the media and that message makes you feel sad, depressed or insecure, then there are issues you may need to address. It’s time to ask yourself what’s really going on.  But I don’t believe someone’s post on Facebook is the problem, do you?

There will always be an opinion, an article, a picture or an ideal that you do not agree with. That’s life. Let it be. Focus on yourself. If you are strong enough, it won’t bother you. If you are secure enough, you won’t care. If you continue to obsess or judge, you’ll lay awake endless nights.

Whether you want to work on self-improvement or not, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is being content with who you are. You are a unique individual. You are worthy. You are amazing.

You are you. And you must believe in yourself.

I have just given you great insight into how to navigate mixed media messages. How does media impact you? Does it inspire you or does it depress you? How does it make you feel about yourself? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below and if you found this article inspiring, share it with friends.


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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