“Catfished” was never a term when I was growing up.
There was no such thing as a “selfie”. No one took pictures of themselves. Our lives were photographed by our parents. And we only met people in real life. The only ones who lived with a gap between who they portrayed themselves to be and who they actually were were famous people.
Today, everyone is “famous”. We all have a brand, a channel, and our own “gap”.
This means we can fall in love with the idea of someone instead of the actual person.
Because Instagram is the new dating app.
It’s happening every day.
Scroll through anyone’s Instagram and you can see the polished studio movie of their life. Told through lenses, filters, and editing. It’s very easy to fill in blanks. It’s very easy to project a sexy life. It’s very easy to see the grass as greener.
And now there’s room for us to be hurt and disappointed, and not trust each other even more.
Take me, for example. I document my life. I started on Tumblr nearly a decade ago as a way to express my feelings. Today, posting words, pics, and videos, is just a part of my daily dos. Like sleeping and eating lunch and working out. I use filters, do retakes, I’m aware of lighting and my better side.
And since I’m a therapist and I write about love and relationships and give tips on being “healthy”, I may represent something or create an image of someone who has life answers, especially if you’re in a place where you are thirsty for them. I may project someone who has perfect relationships and the ability to hold the kind of space your therapist says you need.
When in real life, I get stuck in my thoughts, insecurities, and struggle with all the life shit (including dating / relationships) people Skype me to process. I have a simple life, but not a sexy one (not that you were thinking I did). I struggle with loneliness and high expectations created by a bed I made myself. But I’m just a dude still trying to find my way. Trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Trying to shop at Whole Foods. That’s the truth. And as my online life bleeds into my real life, I wonder if I’m projecting something that isn’t accurate. I wonder if someone’s perception of me is casting a shadow behind me that I can’t live up to.
I think social media is a true gift. It helped me with my journey. It gave me a voice. Built me a full practice. Helped me create a start up (an online life coaching school / community). Got me book deals. Amd gave me a sense of purpose. But I think it can also disconnect us. Not only with others but more importantly with ourselves. It can build inner walls. Create prisons. Turn us into caricatures.
We are all living movie trailers.
So here’s my point.
The goal is not for us to fall in love with you.
And listen, I want you to fall in love with me. Fuck yeah I do. Who doesn’t? I want you to like me. Adore me. Think highly of me. Feed my giant ego.
But that can’t be the goal or I will be tearing down who I’ve been building since the beginning of my inner journey.
The goal is for YOU to fall in love with you. That’s when man wins the man vs machine battle. That’s when we take the power back and all this is used as a tool. Not cliffs we fall from.
Are you projecting truth or a movie poster?
Because it’s all fun and games until you don’t know yourself anymore.
Check out ma book, aqui!