My home is an exercise is controlled messiness.
I hate having clutter on counter-tops, or shoes hanging out in the entryway; however my opposition to clutter ends there. Kitchen and bathroom drawers are open season for shoving things into them.
Let’s avoid discussing folding clothes, shall we?
Yet, my friends and family believe that I am a “clean” person, and I cringe when I hear this. Why? Because I know the chaos that lurks in the drawers, and in the spare bedroom..(spoiler: it’s where unfolded clothes go to die). I also know I am not alone….
The point is it’s easy to accept the picture people present to us, even if it’s manipulated. It’s in our nature to want to see the best in people we admire. But putting people we admire on pedestals removes their humanity, and the bits that make them, them.
It’s like the Olympians in Greek Mythology, worshiped in their temples while they observed mere mortals from their perch in Olympus. Oh Zeus! You must have all the answers! Of course you’ll save us from the Kraken! Yet, Zeus was a frisky fellow, he wasn’t perfect, how many demigod kids did he father??? He was a god and he was flawed. Biggest spoiler!
Here’s the truth: Nobodies life is that pretty. Nobodies. Everyone, yes, I mean everyone, is shoving some sort of crap into their kitchen drawers.
What’s the point of this? To keep expectations real while you’re on board the struggle bus. It’s the easy thing to default to seeing others as better, or as “more” of something, especially when we’re in the middle of figuring things out. We would rather perceive a deficit in ourselves, than admit to the flaws of someone else we have put on a pedestal.
So how do you combat that?
- Recognize a marketing campaign when you see one.
- Marketing campaign can be applied to a business, or to a person. It’s their job to change the visual narrative. It’s all about personal brand these days. Marketing campaigns put major effort into seeing how people respond to ads, to colors, down to faces that represent their brand. Recognize an ad when you see one.
- Consider Personal Motivation.
- The person you admire from afar is asking you, and 100’s of their closest friends, to participate in something, why? Is there an obvious cause and effect? If a person is pushing a campaign, like above, is it because it will somehow impact them? Will they financially benefit from you doing what they are asking? Of course they are motivated then! Bottom lines are big personal motivators.
- Look for humanizing stories.
- To the point above, personal motivation, what are they doing to balance out that we all have to make money somehow. Are they giving back in other ways? If they are, I’d be much more willing to participate in what they are asking. I want to know if they are they supporting under-served populations? What do their actions beyond their campaigns look like? What’s their reputation? Which leads to the next point….
- Actions are truth serum
- A person can say whatever the hell they want to, campaigns can do the same, but actions will always tell the truth. Does the person treat others like crap? Have a short temper? Do they live with kindness? How do they help others? An example: If a person says they want to get together with you, do they? What’s their follow through? Always look for integrity in action.
It’s not my purpose to discourage you from admiring others, having role models is healthy. It’s also healthy to not put role models in an elevated position above yourself. You are not less because they are more visible, and they are not better because they are.
By owning this, and thinking critically about what you are seeing, you have an opportunity to create realistic expectations for yourself and people you admire. It might lead you in a direction you never expected!
Hey, you might even find you can be friends with your role model even if they hate folding laundry.