“I”nstagram

Wow.

What has our social-media-crazed world created?

In particular, my thoughts centre around the aggressive focus of physical appearance (of women) on all media platforms- but in particular social media. (Because we all know that’s where the people are!).

Who decided we all have to look a (very) particular way to be deemed as physically acceptable, let alone attractive?

When did it become the norm for everyday-people to feel the need to have plastic surgery to achieve these unattainable beauty standards?

Why has the need for apparent success and beauty become so rampant in the focus of our modern culture?

How do we make a difference in this (ironically intolerant) so-called “tolerant” culture, when voicing these concerns to anyone, feels like screaming with your mouth taped shut?!

Where did we go wrong?

I don’t assume in the slightest, to have all the answers to these questions. Far from it. In fact, I’m mostly just asking them.

Renowned makeup artist Alex Box, wrote a short poem on this exact paradigm:

“HAIR extended
BROWS bladed
CREASE cut
NOSE shaded
LASHES lifted
LIPS injected
IMAGE graded
LOOK at what we have created.”

Of course, there is the ever-probable conclusion we can draw, of the money-motivated marketing behind products and brands to convince the everyday woman aimlessly scrolling through her social media feed -that she needs to have this. And she needs it today. No wait, she needed it yesterday.

But I actually think the reason we don’t see right through this, is because at a deeper level -we don’t know who we really are. We don’t know just how valuable we are. In turn we are endlessly reaching for acceptance from a world which will never fully give it. Expectations that are actually impossible to reach, like a rat stuck on a wheel- feeling that they’re making progress but of course, getting nowhere.

One of the worst symptoms of this perilous trap, is that in order to to try and reach this acceptance, our focus turns inward. “I” am not good enough naturally. How can “I” look better? What do people think of “me?” How many followers do “I” have?

Looking inward is a guaranteed way to misery.

However, looking outward– to bettering the lives of those around us, is fulfilling on numerous levels.

And the most important, in my opinion – is looking upward. Looking to God, our creator. To speak to us directly, of our worth and value. To tell us who we are. We are His. Fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. Loved and adored by Him. And His love and acceptance is absolutely unconditional. Absolutely attainable. (1 John 4:9-11)

Only in this state of knowing who we are, unconditionally loved by God – can we clearly see the perils of the warped expectations that society demands of us.

 

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Hailing from Perth, Lauren currently resides in the Hills of Sydney with her husband Grant. With an innate awareness of her surroundings – she has run an interior styling business for almost a decade and is now also branching out into a long-held passion with a global organisation, Alpha.

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Self-Awareness: Knowing Who You Are and Who You Aren’t

Before I walk into a meeting room or an event full of potential, brewing conversation, I already know five things.

  1. The culture I want to bring is one of inclusiveness.
  2. Regardless of what any conversation brings, my default will be to respect you and I will do everything I can to reflect this in my actions.
  3. My emotions will not dictate how I treat you.
  4. I want my behaviour to reflect that I believe at the core of my being, that each and every person has inherent value.
  5. I thought I had five when I wrote five above, but I only have four.

How do these convictions play out when I walk into that room for me personally? I’m willing to engage with anyone who may look socially uncomfortable. I’m willing to ask questions; what do you do with your time? Do you enjoy it? Do you have hobbies? This engagement reflects and communicates that I am interested in your life, I am willing to find value from what you have to share. How is this person’s behaving as we have this discussion? What does their body language say? Better yet, what does my body language communicate?

This understanding comes from having an awareness of how people impact each other. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “no man is an island” – and this is true! We do not live isolated, and we have an ability to set a culture by our behaviour and actions. Self-awareness is the first step in developing this: understanding who you are and who you aren’t, because you’ve probably noticed by now that you surround yourself with people that are similar to who you think you are and what you think your values, beliefs and convictions are.

I feel it’s important to note that if you’re anything like me and this value for self-awareness and loving people well can somehow dance (somewhat gracefully) across the line into hypervigilance, it’s important to develop the skill to rest and have healthy boundaries (if you’re not sure what healthy boundaries are, go right now and buy Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend’s book ‘Boundaries’). Self-awareness means knowing that even when you’re not at your best, your desire to express how you value others can manifest in a number of different ways (and does not mean not loving yourself well enough by not getting the rest you need).

So, I leave you with these questions: who are you before you enter a room? Have you decided who you will be regardless of external factors? Do you know how you might handle someone disagreeing with you? What five things (or four) do you know about who you are before entering a room?

Elyce