October 14, 2010

Taking off my social media mask. ~Jeffrey Platts

The Truth, the Whole Truth and…Social Media Truth.

Take a look at your Twitter or Facebook streams, and you might think all of your friends are elephant-riding in Thailand or getting back from kick-ass workouts with their personal trainers. Blogs and social media sites can give the impression of all your friends are living perfect and eternally happy lives, always doing cool things. It’s easy to project that the people whose blogs you follow are experts or gurus with all the answers, or that they have it all together. As someone who lives with a comparison monkey in his mind, this can be especially challenging for me.

On one level, this makes sense. If we have total control over the message we’re sending (which we do on Facebook and Twitter), why wouldn’t we want it to be positive (you know, like Communist China)? Who wants to share messages that are negative or don’t portray us in the best light?

And if you believe in the attractive power of energy or vibration, isn’t it better to talk and give attention to what you want to experience more of?

That said…there are times when I can feel inauthentic, as if I’m not showing a fuller picture of myself. Instead I wear a Pollyanna digital version of the mask we so often wear in face-to-face interactions as a way to manage what other people think of us. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m blogging now, so that I feel pressure to put on a perfect public face so my “brand” doesn’t take on a negative tone. Or maybe because I teach yoga so I have this idea that a yoga teacher must be an infallible source of wisdom and joy.

“I’d rather be whole than good.” ~ Carl Jung

Yet I am a human being. A guy with dreams, desires, needs, fears, insecurities—just like every other person on this planet. Of course my family, close friends and the women I’ve dated already know that. If connecting in person has its inherent limitations on knowing someone, then technology can only provide at best a sliver of that connection. So with the intention of sharing a more authentic and whole picture of myself, here are a few things about myself that I am working to accept and embrace, while also wanting to move beyond:

* I pepper my conversations with “f*ck” and “shit” a lot more than I’d like to. And I worry if that makes me less “spiritual” or “yogic”.
* I struggle with the daily negative self-talk of my monkey mind.
* I get awkward and anxious around women I’m attracted to.
* I can get sucked into seeking validation from people I don’t even know.
* I can spiral into low moods that are tough to get out of.
* I sometimes feel like I’m not “masculine” enough, whatever that means.
* I get insecure when a really experienced teacher takes my yoga class, worried that they’re going to think I’m a crap teacher.
* I worry that I won’t attract an amazing woman that will like me as I am, flaws and all.
* I often spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter as a distraction from doing what I need to do.
* I have moments where I think to myself “I have no idea who I am or what the hell I’m doing.”
* I still eat processed junk food when I’m having a bad day. And on good days, too.

But you know what? Big. Fcuking. Deal. I’m definitely not the only person on planet Earth who does any (or all) of those things. But I’m aware of my patterns and, like most people, I seek to evolve and expand for the better. And that’s great, since you can’t change something if you’re not first aware of it. And for me to add shame, embarrassment, guilt, judgment on top of observing it serves no useful purpose. I don’t know about you, but I relate more to humans—not mannequins or happy robots.

“Our society nurtures the illusion that all the rewards go to the people who are perfect. But many of us are finding out that trying to be perfect is costly.” ~ Debbie Ford

As I look back on my previous posts, I realize the truth that many teachers have shared: we teach what we also need to learn. I don’t have it all figured out. It’s by living my life, observing my fumbles and learning from them, that I find the juice for what I write. I’m no expert. I’m no guru. Nor do I want to be. I want to be a guy who is living his life, thinks he has some interesting perspectives to share from his own experiences and hopefully they connect with some people and helps them in some way.

My intention is not to get you to start whining with your Facebook posts every time you have an insecure thought or get hassled by your mom on when you’re gonna find a nice girl and get married. That’s missing the point. I’m mostly wanting to remind you to keep the perspective that we are all human. We all have parts of us that we love and other parts that we don’t enjoy so much.

But they are all a part of you and I. I’m not suggesting to take out a billboard for your “shadow” parts, but you don’t have to lock them in the basement either.

…For the full article, check out Jeffrey Platts’ blog.

Jeffrey Platts shares soulful and practical observations on dating, sex, spirituality and relationships, always encouraging people to connect more authentically and follow their own groove, in life and in love.

His humorous, simple and direct approach is for anyone who wants to get to what’s real and express who they really are.  Jeffrey mixes in his own personal experiences as well as insights from his life as a yoga teacher, DJ and student of spirituality and personal growth.

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