In our day and age, social media is like using the term Keeping Up With The Joneses on crack. Every day we open our app and are fed images of gym selfies, exotic vacations and people living their best lives but rarely get a glimpse of what is really happening behind the scenes. Living in Southern California also comes with its challenges to find true genuine experiences. It seems that almost everyone is willing to trade their authenticity for approval at some point, myself included. When you are constantly surrounded by multi million-dollar homes, $200,000 cars, the best/worst plastic surgery that money can buy, and anything else that helps you to keep up appearances, it can be hard to relate and feel like there is any realness left. We have created a culture for ourselves that status and likes are what sets you apart but in reality, social media is nothing but a doctored highlight reel of someones life.
What we fail to remember are the not so glamorous things that happen in life which no one is excluded from. How our bank accounts don’t reflect the life we are portraying, how our seemingly perfect relationship is secretly failing, or how we have family struggles and insecurities just like everyone else. We are constantly fed images which help perpetuate the feeling that someone is always living a better life than we are and somehow that makes us inadequate. Someone makes more money than I do, someone has a better body than I do, someone drives a nicer car than I do, someone goes on more vacations than I do… you will always find ways to “perceive” that someone has it better.
Life Lesson #6 – Continuously aiming for materialistic goals or trying to do whatever you can to stay relevant becomes a vicious cycle that only leads to more disappointment.
I once sat next to an Emmy winning composer on a flight to Hawaii who had 2 mansions and George Lucas on speed dial, and what he told me will be ingrained in my memory forever. He told me the happiest he’s ever been was when he first married his wife and they moved into a tiny apartment in LA and had $200 left to their name. “We were in love and just trying to make it, that was the best time of my life” he said with a reminiscing smirk. To hear a man say that with a list of credits including Star Wars blew my mind. It just goes to show that at the end of the day we get so wrapped up building a list of material wants for our lives but fail to appreciate the now. Think about how many times you have worked towards something you’ve wanted and said “Now that I have achieved this in my life, I only need these other things to truly be happy.” What we don’t often realize is the quest for more material things and status becomes another quest for more material things and status. We don’t take into account the years of struggling to make it, or the stress that it takes to stay at a certain status level, or the insecurity that comes with portraying the perfect life, or the ultimate fear that one day it may be taken away. We just see things in others that we want for ourselves and fail to remember that no ones life is perfect and everyone is struggling with something.
The lesson i’ve learned through trying to live a more authentic life is that climbing your way to the top is hard work, but staying there is even harder. At some point continuously aiming for superficial goals and keeping up appearances becomes a chore as well.
Don’t sacrifice your happiness on the quest of being happy.
We have to enjoy the little luxuries in life. The things that are free. Our relationships, our passions, the feeling of being in love, laughing so hard that you cry, being in nature, our families, the vegetables in our garden, and the list goes on. That is the real meat of life, everything else is just icing on the cake.
Q: What is something you can do today to make your life feel more authentic?