Everything is starting to feel like one giant illusion. It seems we must weed through endless troughs of b.s. to find the truth, but these truths can be distorted or revealed to us in limited capacities. They’re the truths people & entities want to disclose while keeping many pertinent details hidden from us.
To be blunt, we don’t get to know the whole truth in most circumstances and many of us present falsities.
We’re Trapped in This Illusion.
Major media providers, politicians, and advertisers are good at keeping us in the dark. It doesn’t matter which media outlet you gravitate to or which political party you align with, you’re likely getting an altered version of the truth (the truth those mediums want you to see). They all have an agenda—to make money—so most places twist the content to attract the attention of their target audience.
Media outlets typically start with an appealing, usually misleading, headline to get us to click. The content is almost irrelevant at that point because they’ve made their money (we don’t make money from your clicks so don’t worry!). But it keeps us in a perpetual state of ignorance because if we’re not getting the actual truth, how can we really know anything?
Advertisers create standards that we often try to adhere to. Buy this and you’ll be better for reasons x,y,z. Buy that and you’ll attract more attention from the opposite sex. It’s all a lie they tell to persuade us into buying their products on the basis that those objects will fill some gap or hole in our lives and help us obtain what we desire most. So, without even knowing it, we just dig ourselves deeper into this lie they sold us and present said lie to the world.
Consider the Majority of Social Media Accounts.
They paint a pretty nice picture of the life of the person who owns it, don’t they? Hanging out with friends or family, taking trips, or reporting what they’re eating…it makes their lives look pretty sweet in comparison to the rest of us.
Most of us don’t share what goes on in our day-to-day lives. Social media is about showing people the highlights of life, but everyone goes to work, juggles time with the kids, and stresses over bills; you know, the boring stuff the majority of us endure.
We can get this false impression that people are living better lives than ourselves and that’s what they want us to think. People typically don’t report the bad or negative sides of their lives unless they want attention or to provide information. I know that’s not always the case but it sometimes seems like people post those types of things hoping ‘likes’ will somehow make them feel better.
If people presented their realities we wouldn’t see selfies taken from their “good” side or the “perfect angle.” There’d be pictures posted without some sucking in their bellies, donning nicer clothes, or wearing make-up (another illusion brought about and enforced by societal norms which we’ll discuss in a later article). We’d see more guts, bags under the eyes, and posts that honestly reflect who a person is.
Real Life is Not Much Better.
We tend to present ourselves in the way we think the world wants to see us. Behind closed doors, we are completely different people. Think about the family members you visit during the holidays. There are some relatives you just don’t say or do certain things around, but that’s creating another lie or illusion. The intentions may be good because you’re avoiding potential conflicts, but the cost is suppressing how you really feel (it’s not a good feeling to have to hide those things, especially if it’s just to appease the sensitivity of others).
I think if most of us could, we’d wear sweatpants most days and maybe skip a shower or two from time to time (I hear from my women friends that they can’t wait to take that darn bra off every day and wash those beauty products off their faces). It’d be a relieving feeling to dress and act how we do at home in public.
So why do we trade comfort for acceptance and conformity?
When we go out in public, specifically on dates, to work, out with the gang, etc. (minus trips to Wal-Mart, which you never see selfies for, do ya?), we put on the mask we believe to be our “Best Selves” to appeal to certain types of people. We smile, we’re fun, and we’re in tune with society but someone else lies beneath the facade.
It’s after months, or even years, that we are comfortable enough to reveal who we really are to another. But we never reveal everything, do we? We essentially lie in those other versions of ourselves—the whole, we reveal our true selves behind closed doors parable applies here.
And those are big lies. How many times have you dated someone, who you find out years later that they weren’t the person you thought they were, based on the conclusions you made about them in the first six months? You were fooled by the illusion they presented to you.
In terms of finding a mate most people, similar to many animals, do a little dance to attract someone. When the dance is over, they shed their false skin and gradually show you the person beneath it; not the person they think you wanted them to be.
I’m no better in any way. The articles I post represent the man I often want to be rather than the man I am. Those articles are full of positivity and reflection and I post upbeat content on my social media accounts but most days, I can’t stand the world and sometimes, myself—not many would know it.
I dress nicer when I go out and talk and act differently depending on the type of people I’m surrounded by—all an illusion.
Even now, sitting in the same exact clothes I wore yesterday, I’m readying to step out into the world as someone else. It’s kind of sad to me that we, as a society, go through such great lengths to be something we’re not.
It begs the question, “Who are you, really?”
What’s behind those metaphorical masks we wear? What/who are you hiding? It’s sad because we may never really know who someone is (not to mention trying to understand who we really are) and that can hinder us from being able to help those who need it. It’s sad because many of us feel we have to be what we think others think we should be…leaving us feeling isolated and out of place in this world.
It leaves us to live a life of repression and shame even though we continuously repeat the mantra that we should be ourselves. But who is that self?
Lastly, everybody judges and wants us to act how they want us to act, which doesn’t help, so a lot of us spend our lives trying to appease others when we’re stifling the person we really are (obviously, society has rules and many are necessary to follow—to an extent).
We create an imaginary world and emulate it by trying to fit in within these illusions. Our actions, our dress and everything in between is us trying to conform to the idea of what we should be doing.
We must learn not to gather our perceptions of people and the world by the media or by what we see. We must dig to find out what’s beneath the information presented to us and attempt to be ourselves. While we must conform, at times, to keep society moving forward, we also must not let it constrict us to the point where we live one big lie.
—But it is easier said than done. Do you think anyone can ever really be themselves?
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