Have you ever had real Mexican or Chinese cuisine and then tried the fake stuff, the fast food stuff? How often do you see a post about someone who’s really struggling with whatever’s going on in their life, and they sharing something that doesn’t make them shine, it doesn’t make them appear that they have it all together, doesn’t make them look that good? Have you ever noticed how many more people respond to those posts and offer emojis or empathy or words of strength or giving a thumbs up because they can relate to it? Have you ever noticed that more people respond to those posts than the ones that make us look all perfect, make us look like we have it all together?
Why do we think that is? Why do you think that there’s an outpouring of emotions that comes from those posts, yet we still tend to buy into this belief that those picture perfect posts that make us look great, make us look like we’re all together, that we have it all figured out are the ones that make us look perfect in our lives and the ones we should post? That’s the public image that we want to have. Even though deep down, what we really want, as we want the people to be in our lives, authentic, genuine friends that know that side of us that’s not that perfect, and they’re still there for us. They still love us. They still care about us.
So yeah, I was once going for a long walk on the beach with my wife. Yes, when we were dating, we told each other that we both liked long walks on the beach. Here we were doing it. And we shared that it was so interesting to see that there’s a lot of people on the beach and with their loved ones, they’re there with significant others or maybe their kids, but psychically they’re present but they’re not emotionally present. They’re on their phones. I always loved how if you look at someone on their phone, their neck is down, their shoulders are slumped, and their hands are like this. As if there’s handcuffs right here that go right back to the neck, pulling them, pulling them forward, and now they’re hunched over like they’re serving their phone. I always love that image.
So what I wanted to just point out today was that while we were going for the walk on the beach, we saw someone who was taking 50 different pictures. Just trying to get that perfect angle, and it really hit me that it’s so interesting. Here this person is. They came from however far to come to the beach, and they’re not even spending time on the beach. They’re spending time trying to get the right picture. Not so they can enjoy time with their friends, but so that they could enjoy maybe potential pleasure of getting the attention or the appreciation or emojis or thumbs up on social media because they crave that. They crave just to feel that other people say that they look good.
So I want to ask you, have you ever done that? I can tell you in total vulnerability that when I first started posting on social media, I’m like well, what am I supposed to post? What are people looking for? What looks good? Right? We all have that normal tendency because that’s basis of survival and making it in the social world. But what I really wanted to say to this woman was, “Do you realize that what people really want to see is the imperfect picture because it helps them feel better about themselves. It helps them see that you really are genuinely happy, healthy, and just trying to figure it all out,” because that’s really we’re all trying to do anyways.
We’re all just trying to figure it out, trying to just figure out what is it that we’re missing, what is it that we have to do to figure that out and be genuinely happy and the points clear. We want to know that we’re not the only ones around that are struggling with whatever you’re struggling with. We know that other people are struggling with it actually connects us to them and it gives us support because it inspires us, it pushes us forward despite whatever adversity that we’re facing.
If I see your post and I see that you’re struggling with something and you’re sharing something that doesn’t make you look picture perfect, it says to me you’re real. It says to me I can relate to you. It says to me that you have something going on in your life and you’re willing to share that with other people, which means that it gives me permission to share with you what’s going on in your life. It gives us permission to be imperfect, and that is more authentic, that is how we connect with real people and make real friends, which is exactly why when someone sees an imperfect picture, they say, “Yes. That’s so real.” We all have this positive, this respectful feeling towards that person whether or not we know them. Whether or not we’re just Facebook friends or real friends, we feel like we appreciate them because they get it.
Now can you even compare a Facebook post that looks like it’s all picture perfect versus one that doesn’t, right? When you order that Mexican dish or that Chinese dish that you had the authentic thing at the real authentic restaurant and now you’re getting the fast food version, would you want to order it again or do you feel like, “That was the cheap stuff. That was the rip off. That wasn’t the genuine, name brand, authentic cuisine.” You feel a little cheated sometimes when you’re getting that fast food version. But I want to suggest that maybe social media is the fast food version of the actual feelings, the actual experiences, the relationships that we really want because it doesn’t give us that which we crave, that which tells us yes, we really are okay. It’s more enticing. It’s more valuable. It’s more shiny. It’s much more convenient to do that easy post or do that inspirational meme or whatever it is, but to be real and authentic, it takes more time. It takes thought. It takes work.
But seeing what is authentic, you can actually get more clear about what experiencing what is authentic. Meaning when you see someone that’s not real, you get a feeling. “Oh, they’re not for real. I don’t feel them.” And so the same applies to our emotions.
So I want to challenge you. I want to suggest today can you think of something that might be outside your comfort zone. How can you be more real? How can you be more authentic where you can show that side of you that maybe you don’t like to show, but even if it’s outside your comfort zone, just one step outside your comfort zone, giving someone a compliment, saying thank you to someone who did something for you, even if you’re not used to it, but just be authentic. If you really feel that they helped you, say, “Thank you. You helped me.” When I check out at the cashier, I always try to say … They got their name tag so I say their name, and I say, “Thank you. Thank you. You really sped up my checkout process. I really appreciate it.” And you know what they say, “Oh, no. I’m just doing my job.” Whoa, wouldn’t it be amazing world if we lived in a place where everyone just did their job? But that’s authentic.
What’s something that’s authentic that you can do or something that you can share? Maybe share something that’s not so authentic, right? What is something that you’re working on? I would love to hear from you.
Isaac is Life and Business Growth Expert. Helping entrepreneurs and professionals grow their businesses, while freeing up their time, to live more balanced, healthier and happier lives. I offer coaching and consulting for motivated, stressed, unclear, and ready for explosive growth and changes in their lives or business.
He can be reached for 1 on 1 coaching and private trainings. If you are ready for explosive business growth, reach out, the first call is free. It’s what you do with what you learn on that call that makes all the difference! www.IsaacBardos.com