Do not judge yourself based on anyone else.  It may appear that people around you have it all figured out.  The fact is that what you see is an illusion.

What was once unknown behind closed doors is now on display.  You can see everyone’s most intimate details on TV, in magazines, on Facebook, Twitter and other similar social networks.  What is sometimes difficult to keep in mind is that people have created an even more in depth illusion while using media to make it appear the reality.

People expose what they want. There were always those nice, polite neighbors dressing in their Sunday best who appeared to do and say all the right things, yet behind closed doors they were a dysfunctional family.  Although inside there was alcoholism and spousal abuse, externally they looked like a perfectly happy family.

In today’s terms a Facebook page may be no different.  Dressed up with happy pictures of vacations, encouraging life quotes and clips from You Tube of all these amazing adventures only reveals what each individual wants to project.  Because everything is so readily accessible it’s hard to keep things in perspective.  These images have been carefully chosen.  In most cases, it is not that the images are false, but they are often not the full picture.  The multitude of snapshots of family vacations to all these exotic locations are not going to come with the disclaimer that the family is now in serious debt from overspending and their house is in danger of being foreclosed.  Just as that lovely picture of the couple at a romantic restaurant isn’t going to include the comment that just after that shot was taken they had a huge fight and are now discussing getting a divorce.

PL 3 Perfect web

Each day we deal with various obstacles and often look to those around us for guidance or clues that we are doing things right.  We want to know that we are making the best decisions and it is common to look around us for validation.  When you are at a grocery store and your child becomes relentless in demanding the big box of sugary cereal which you have sworn you would no longer purchase, you might look around to find strength in the look another mom gives you that says “good for you – don’t give in” as opposed to the look of disgust that says “really, just give him the damn cereal and shut him up!”

Be your own moral compass.  Whether you look to your friends, family or any of the social networks, you cannot count on what you see to guide you in your decisions.  Things are not always exactly as they appear.  Even close friends will occasionally not disclose every last detail.  They may be embarrassed that they still let their 5 year old sleep in their bed or bribe their kids with television so they can enjoy 30 minutes of quiet time with their favorite magazine.  Those 30 minutes of quiet time may be just enough to refresh your friend and give her the patience to deal with dinner and bedtime but she is also afraid of judgement.

Asking people for advice is great but be aware that their opinions are subjective.  Their guidance reflects their own values and neuroses and should not change how you do things unless you fundamentally agree. When feeling overwhelmed and unsure keep the following thoughts in mind: What you see from other people is only part of the story.  Be confident that everyone makes mistakes and most of them will not have negative long term affects.  Do not let society dictate your values, most people are as unsure as you.  Do not let anyone else’s opinion override your inner voice, you know what feels right and what does not.  Make sure that your decisions are yours and not someone else’s, otherwise you may find yourself dealing with the consequences of other people’s choices in your life.

PL 3 True to self web

 


 

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