No editing; I’m keeping it real
Keeping it Real
I’ve been on Instagram a lot lately promoting my upcoming Middle East workshops. And I’ve fallen into the classic social media pitfall: while perusing others’ feeds, I’ve felt that mine isn’t good enough. While the pictures of my standard poodle Oscar are cute, where’s my theme? What’s my instagram strategy? Am I truly inspiring and educating my followers?
Around the same time that these feelings of insecurity hit, I was listening to a podcast where the host was talking about social media, and admitted that she doesn’t post content confessing how stressed out she is or pictures of herself when she’s not looking stellar. I’ve fallen into this trap as well. I don’t do my make up before taking a selfie, but I do attempt to represent the idyllic side of mindfulness and meditation, making little mention of its struggles.
The convergence of these two occurrences got me thinking.
Once I extracted myself from my jealousy, I could see what was happening and I didn’t necessarily like what I saw, in my own mind or with the psychological games that social media plays with its’ users. We’re all presenting slightly disingenuous versions of our own lives, all the while angsting over the fact that the real thing doesn’t match up with the image presented by the people we follow.
Meditation teaches us to see our minds from an observer’s role, which allows us to identify less with our thoughts (such as, “My Instagram feed isn’t good enough.”) and watch them instead, as if from a third-person point of view. (“Hmm…I’m feeling jealous of so-and-so’s Instagram feed. I wonder what that’s all about?”) The idea is to separate ourselves just a bit, and when we do, we are less likely to be held hostage by our emotions. As the bard penned for Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
So I’m trying an experiment; my new vlog is one in a series of #keepingitreal. Instead of portraying a picture of what I think a mindfulness teacher’s life should look like—me sitting on piles of meditation cushions with a look of inner peace on my face and incense smoke floating behind me—I’ll show you real snapshots from my world where I may be feeling calm, frustrated or gasp, even angry. Because on any given day, we are faced with moments when we’re feeling weak and vulnerable.
I’m going to continue to use Instagram. When I do, I’ll try to step back and watch for the green-eyed monster and any associated feelings of inadequacy. And when they surface, because they will, I’ll do my best to observe these feelings for what they are—nothing but feelings. I’m also going resist temptation to depict my Instagram account and my life as something it’s not. I’ll admit when I’m stressed, post when I’m not feeling well and show my face with bags under my eyes. I’ll be #keepingitreal.