In the age of social media overload, our masks of perfection are stronger than ever. Although in some ways we are more connected through social media, in other ways we are more isolated from real human contact. I know I am grateful for social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIN. Through these networks I have not only made valuable connections I have also been able to “keep up” with what my friends, far and near, are up to. On the other hand, it’s possible for perspective to change if most of our social contact is through social media. Even though these sites are valuable they can also give a false sense of connection.
Reading others posts on these sites only give us a small glimpse of life’s happenings. What we see is what the “poster” wishes to reveal. It is usually limited to the positive aspects of their life. By only seeing the positive aspects of everyone’s lives we are missing all the other mundane issues and struggles that they experience on a daily basis. Our masks are not limited to social media, we all have personas and “masks” that we show the world. Often these masks are protective and necessary. What happens when the mask is not necessary, when we are in an environment where we can be ourselves? Do we still put it on anyway out of habit? Does your “mask of perfection” prevent you from having real connection? Real Authenticity?
Spending some time of your day and week being authentic is necessary in order to create greater connection and joy in your life. How do you remove the mask? Does that come easy to you? If it does, I applaud you! I know that I often have to remind myself and actually take some steps to be authentic. If you would like some tips, here are 4 tips to being more authentic and removing the mask of perfection.
1. Take a day off from social media. If you can’t take a day off, try with a few hours a day, and work up to a day. Instead of spending your time on social media, use that time to call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Maybe someone you have been thinking about. Take time to have a conversation, and really catch up with what is going on in their lives.
2. Ask for help. Are there things that you need to do but don’ t know how? Were you just planning on “googling” a how to? Instead, do you know someone who is good at this task? If so, call them, email them, ask them for help. You will be surprised how much people are willing to help. We all want to feel useful and sharing our knowledge is a great way to accomplish this. When you ask for help you are making yourself vulnerable, which creates a sense of connection with the other person. Contrary to what some believe, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
3. Write your thoughts in a journal. There is something about writing with a pen/pencil on paper. For me the physical act of writing with a pen allows my thoughts to flow freely. Take a few minutes out of your day and connect with your thoughts, goals, or dreams and write them down. I always find the best way is to let your thoughts jus flow, don’t think too much while writing. When you are done take a breath and experience how you feel. Writing connects us to ourselves. When you are connected to yourself it is easier to share yourself with others.
4. Write a Thank You note. Is there someone in the last couple of months that has made a difference in your life? Has someone gone out of their way to help you? Or have they simply been a kind ear to your problems? Take a few minutes and actually handwrite a thank you note. Writing the note connects you with your sense of gratitude and helps someone else feel appreciated. Experience the connection.
I hope these tips can serve you and give you some tips to removing your “mask”. As you connect with others and yourself, your life will be richer and more meaningful.
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