Our brain does a funny thing, it assumes that whatever information we feed it is true- then creates a reference point for any future mention. This is particularly true with images and when the information is new to us. Think about a place or person you know very little about (what does a typical neighborhood in Iraq look like?), our memory pulls up what it "knows" and we use this as a base going forward. Even if it is ridiculous. Since our brain's primary function is to keep us safe, it is primed to notice patterns of danger and use them to survive. This is why the images we see in the media and the scripts we hear can be so damaging. Historically, questions about what is important in life; sexuality, relationships, career, and values were answered by our dominant source of interaction: our family. Now we are inundated with images and scripts of what is important beginning at birth-and it is all rubbish. Fear driven rubbish.
Social media is the epitome of cultivating insecurity. Daily we compare our very personal, scrutinized, internal blooper reel to the cultivated, filtered and fake highlight reel of others. We compare our sink full of dirty dishes to the vacation photos of our high school crush. We look down at our thighs while watching the latest yoga porn video on IG and wonder if this is why we have not found our soulmate. We assume the information is real, the implications true, it even comes complete with an equally perfect backstory. Every time we do this it feeds the false reference points and the stereotypes, negative self image and the detachment from humanity grows.
But before we poopoo all social media we need to first own it as our shadow side. It reflects what we tell it to, we must own it before we can control it. There are plenty of examples of social media being used for the greater good: #DStrong, kickstarter, increase in media coverage of events that are important, changes in race and identity representation. I am in love with celebrities releasing the prephotoshoped photo in response to the drastically different images being promoted by advertisements. When we believe what we are feed by the media be become complacent rather than empowered, a slightly less authentic version of ourselves.
There is a shift happening in the old regime, grab ahold of that energy and start cultivating change at a micro level. When we can take charge of our own inner dialogue we can change the larger conversation. It takes courage to face our own lies and start telling the truth. We need to start taking greater responsibility for teaching our children and not leave it up to the media. We can no longer afford to be complacent in a society that does not reflect truth. A stream of outside information that destroys our sense of self.
How do we change this narrative? Become conscious of what information you let in. Be mindful of the tone of your own comments and information spread. Be ruthless in questioning it's authenticity, it's impact. Look at your life: are the values, goals and images that you project congruent with your belief system? Do you even like your belief system? Does it match what you want to teach the next generation? We need to put actions to our words. Support that local business, compliment others, use the manners you wish others would, most importantly speak to yourself with kindness and truth.