It’s not easy to admit our faults, flaws, and failures, whether that be to others, or ourselves.
As it stands about 90% of the U.S population visits social networking sites each month, this number has grown significantly within the past five years.
As most know, perception is everything; especially within the realm of social networking. We all have an ideal self. As research suggests, your real self is what you are– your attributes, your characteristics, and your personality. Your ideal self on the contrary, is what you feel you should be; much of which is shaped by societal and environmental influences. From a societal standpoint, many of us are driven by competition, achievement, and status; hence the creation and portrayal of our ideal selves.
Overall the difference between our ideal selves vs. our real selves becomes more and more relevant on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
It’s interesting to consider how we portray ourselves online, as often we opt out of sharing the low points in our life. It’s not as exciting to share that we just failed a exam, that we didn’t make the athletic team, that we disappointed our family or ourselves, or that we cheated on our diet. Social media allows us to chose what we want our friends and followers to know about us. If we chose the world would only know about our “highs” and be completely oblivious to our lowest moments.
What am I getting at here?
In a society (especially within popular culture) that fixates on this ideal of perfection, lest us not forget the lessons found within our failures. We are so pressured to be “flawless”, that we forget the importance of the journey.
As many of you may know, I work with young ladies ages 8-16, twice a week with my program Project Poise and in a recent blog post I shared what an honor and responsibility it is to have these young ladies looking to me as not only a leader, but a role model. This week while working with a group of teenage girls, one commented, “You are so perfect!” While her compliment was sincere, something inside of me cringed.
I am not perfect, and I don’t want to be. I want people, and especially these young ladies looking to me as a role model to know that I too, fail.
There are days I break down due to being anxious or overwhelmed, there are days I question myself as a leader, there are days I look in the mirror and am not happy with my reflection, and there are days I simply want to stay in bed. A few months ago I would have been so ashamed to share this, as I would have presumed others would question me as a leader due to my faults and failures. I once was so worried about the creation and maintenance of my ideal self, that I neglected to realize the importance of authenticity.
We all cry, get frustrated, feel hopeless, become overwhelmed, make mistakes, say things we don’t mean, and linger off the path towards our goals. Guess what? That’s okay! I can no longer consider myself a genuine leader nor role model if I am only presenting a one sided representation of myself to these young ladies or to my peers overall.
Therefore, I must be accountable for my actions. I challenge both myself and others to be more accepting of our real selves, and forget maintaining an ideal self to satisfy the expectations of others. As I tell my girls at the end of each Project Poise meeting, “You are Enough”.
I felt inclined to write about this subject matter this evening, as today I was overwhelmed with anxiety, yet now I can smile and let out a sigh of relief. Tomorrow is a new day, and another opportunity for me to continue forth. So..
To my readers: Remember that you are enough, do not allow the fear of failure or other’s opinions/perceptions to prevent you from truly expressing yourself or following your dreams. You are not alone in your journey and you won’t be the first, nor last who will have to overcome bumps in the road- find solace in that. Remember why you started? Hold on close to that and utilize that as the fuel to your fire. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, know that your journey is unique and will lead you to your purpose. Never let anyone bring you down or make you question your worth. You are enough, you are enough, you are enough..
To my Project Poise girls: This journey wouldn’t be the same without you. Anytime I feel inclined to give up, your faces flash through my mind. Your smiles truly are the greatest reward I can receive from this. When I look at you ladies, I see endless possibilities. Anything you can put your mind to, you can do. Yet, in the same stride I also must apologize. In the midst of sharing success and discussing how we as women can be successful, I neglected to share my own faults and failures with you. Thus, I promise to be more open and authentic with you ladies, as you have done so gracefully for me. Queens- I love you! You are more than enough, keep the flame in your heart and eye on the prize. I believe in you.
To myself: It’s going to be worth it, continue to press forward and keep in mind why you began this journey. Pray for comfort and guidance. You are not your mistakes, nor your failures. Be open and honest with those young ladies, they need to hear stories of overcoming and know that you to have been in their shoes. Continue to be authentic and genuine in your day to day actions, projecting a lifestyle where we all embrace ourselves. Share more about your journey as opposed to your destination. You are going to be okay! It’s okay to cry, but get right back up and get back out there, you are enough and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are a leader, you are a role model, and you will make a difference. Remember to love you and project love to others.