The other day, scrolling through inspirational/ cheesy/ outright frustrating phrases on social media, I encountered one that particularly stroke a chord. In pretty handwriting, written over textured papers, the words read as follows: “I need to change. I’m not me yet.”
This sentence says, quite clearly, one of the main messages of this day and age. Ads, social media, newspaper articles, celebrities with good intentions - they all keep telling us that we are not good enough. This idea that I am not me yet – I need to perfect myself towards my fantasy self – is a very profitable one, from a business point of view. We are promised we can achieve our fantasy selves if only:
- we subscribe to this app that will make us exercise every day.
- we eat this super-food that just appeared on the market.
- we buy this amazing gadget that will change our lives forever.
- we read as many self help books as possible.
You know what? From now on, I will stop trying to be perfect. I will stop trying to be me. Because… guess what? I am already me! In fact, no one is better at being me than myself.
We have a group of powerful forces prying on our insecurities and low self-esteem. Wealthy giants scream to us that we are not good enough, feeding from our guilt. The irony is, we are not good enough indeed – but the steps we are suggested to take do nothing to improve us as human beings.
Millions are invested to convince us that we are too fat, but little money is spent telling us we are using too much plastic.
Much energy is spent convincing us that our real selves are stylish – buy these clothes, buy this watch, buy this car! But not much energy is used to tell us that our real selves are compassionate and kind.
The news fails to communicate effectively the real problems we need to tackle. News about the environment are scarce and always terrifying – there is always a note of doom, saying that we are destroying the world and will all be dead soon. But guess what? If newspapers were worried about the world, the news would be quite different. They would say instead: “There is still hope!” And give everyone a list of what can be done, and pressure the governments to do something about it.
So many news about the refugees, social injustice, human misery – but from those, only a fraction says what each of us can actually do to improve the situation of our human siblings who are living these horrors.
The truth is – the world doesn’t want us to be perfect. The system wants us to keep believing we are rubbish, we are doomed, we are guilty, and as far as we do we will keep buying their products, falling into their traps.
Let’s stop this madness.
We are not perfect – but we are good enough. And we can make the world a better place – starting now.