I am a mother of four children under the age of 6 and a size one because of the special workout routine and diet that I invented.
You can be fit like me, all you have to do is what I did...
I am a multi-millionaire small business owner with more new customers than I can count because of my 'one of a kind' sale technique.
You can be rich and successful like me, all you have to do is what I did...
I was lost and alone, searching for meaning everywhere until one day I found spiritual enlightenment by doing these five fail-proof things.
You can be enlightened like me, all you have to do is what I did...
This is the 'reality' that we are exposed to every day on social media.
There is only one problem...
It's all fiction.
Perception Is Reality & Social Media Knows It
Go into any major city and walk down the street.
Look around you...what do you see? What do you hear?
Very likely, yours will be a rich experience of sensory inputs...with hundreds of images, sounds, and smells...all influencing how you perceive the world around you.
Next, put ear plugs in and restrict your vision by looking through one of those paper tubes that are leftover when you finish a roll of paper towel.
How will your perception of the world around you change if you are only able to perceive it through the small opening at the end of the paper towel tube?
You will have a very restricted view of what you are looking at and must, then, allow your brain to make assumptions based on the very limited images you see to fill in your perceptual gaps.
These assumptions may be accurate...more likely than not, however, they won't even be close.
Never-the-less, your perception in the face of a lack of information becomes your reality.
And it is this "reality" that social media takes advantage of.
Our Relationship With Social Media & Self
So...what does all of this have to do with improving our life by improving the quality of our interpersonal relationships?
Believe it or not, if you have a social media account then you have a relationship with social media.
In fact, you have a relationship with everyone and everything you are connected to and interact with.
So, if you see a video on social media that makes you feel bad about yourself, your relationship with social media is categorized as dysfunctional as it is harming your relationship with your SELF.
Making you feel bad about yourself, however, is precisely what many social media advertisers want to accomplish...so you are motivated to buy their product in an effort to feel good about yourself.
So, why do we allow posts and videos of incredibly fit moms/dads or super successful entrepreneurs to negatively affect us?...
I'm Not A Doctor But I Play One On TV
When we see a commercial on TV where a man or woman wearing a lab coat promotes the latest drug to combat joint pain, we can be fairly certain of one simple fact...
That the person we are watching isn't a real doctor.
We know this but we don't really mind because we understand we are watching a TV commercial and not the news.
We understand the interaction.
We choose to watch TV. Commercials are a part of TV. Commercials are not "reality" but rather efforts by companies to get us to buy their products.
We enter into our relationship with the TV and the commercial aware of this.
So, if we see an extremely fit man or woman on TV promoting the latest exercise craze, we automatically assume it isn't a father or mother of 5 but rather a professional model or personal trainer...someone whose livelihood requires them to remain extremely fit.
Yet, our understanding of the fictitious nature of commercials, promotions, and advertisements has not yet transitioned to our social media feeds.
When we see an extremely fit mom of 5 on Facebook discussing how she manages to be an amazing parent, work full-time, clean her entire house from top to bottom, and spend a few hours each day making nutritious meals for her family and exercising...
We think..."wow, she is amazing...why can't I do that? What is wrong with me?"
We fail to understand the interaction.
This failure to understand the interaction actually results in the social media ads having the opposite effect on many who see it.
The Real Effects Of Social Media Fiction
These social media posts are meant to accomplish 3 things:
- First, they are meant to create a sense of dissatisfaction with our current state of being. They want us to feel bad about our body, business success, or whatever they say they can help us fix.
- Next, they are meant to inspire us by building the vision of what we could achieve...with their help. This is the message, "hey, I did this and so can you!"
- Third, they are meant to connect the dots and provide us with an easy answer when we ask ourselves, "how can I do what they did?"
However, as the message is filtered through our insecurities, self-doubts, and self-judgment, many of us don't get past the first phase...we get stuck in our dissatisfaction.
We think, "they can do it...but I can't. I have tried to do what they do...and failed. The problem must be me. I am not good/smart/strong/wealthy enough. I am a failure."
We do this because we compare the full expanse of our life (in all of its dirty, messy reality) against the seemingly perfect life of the social media advertiser that we see through the minuscule window we are afforded into their life.
Unlike TV commercials, we see and hear what the advertiser wants us to see and hear and we perceive it to be "reality" rather than a fiction.
We fail to truly understand the interaction.
Tips To Understanding The Interaction
Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of valuable products and services promoted and sold via social media that can significantly improve the quality of our life.
The key is to understand the underlying reality of these those posts to prevent ourselves from getting stuck in the dissatisfaction with our own current reality.
The step we must all take to prevent ourselves from feeling bad about our own life is to understand the interaction...which is a fundamental tenet of the Law of Cooperative Action™.
Here are a couple of ideas that we have suggested to clients:
1. Ask questions.
- What business is that person promoting their sales technique actually in?
- Are they a successful business person who wants to now share something they learned the had way with you? Or, is selling their sales technique their business?
- Is this their first business (and they are really great at it)? Or, is it their sixth attempt at business and they don't talk about the first five that failed?
- What about that super fit mom that can accomplish more in a day that most of us in a week? Does she actually work full-time? Or, is promoting her fitness and diet business her full-time job?
- Does she have a nanny to help her take care of her 5 kids?
- Does she have a cleaning person?
- Does she have a partner who helps or is he/she working all of the time?
- Was part of her/his success the result of their genes?
While there is no way to answer many of these questions, simply raising them can break the illusion of perfection that we tend to create around their lives.
2. Understand the tradeoffs. Want to spend two hours a day exercising to be as fit as the "fit mom" on Facebook? That is two hours you can't spend doing something else.
What will you give up?
Want to commit twenty hours a day selling your product or services?
What are you willing to give up to free up this time?
Family time? Down time?
What is the tradeoff?
An hour spent doing one thing means an hour that can not be spent doing something else. If the tradeoff isn't worth it to you, based on your values and beliefs, the outcome of that tradeoff shouldn't be either.
3. Celebrate yourself and your life as it is today. The person telling you they can help you get a six-pack or become a millionaire has their "perfect" life.
This isn't to suggest their life is perfect, but merely that they made a series of choices and tradeoffs based on what was important in their own life and the life they are living is the direct result.
This is a VERY important fact.
Your life is equally as perfect.
You simply made a different set of choices and tradeoffs based on the unique conditions of your own life.
Celebrate this fact.
If you feel discontent when comparing your situation to the social media-based guru, see that discontent as a desire to create change in your life and adjust your choices.
If you make different choices, you will experience different results in your life.
Your life will still, however, continue to be the perfect outcome of your choices.
Celebrate this fact and stop allowing the results of others drive your expectations for your own life.
They are not you...You are not them...
When you accept this...you begin to understand the true nature of the interaction...and your relationship with social media and your SELF will no longer be dysfunctional.
A Thousand Grains Of Salt
When you see someone promote a product or service on social media, take it with a few thousand grains of salt.
Recognize that the success of that person was not overnight and not nearly as easy as they may be making out to be.
Just as it reportedly took Thomas Edison a few THOUSAND attempts to invent a working lightbulb (which means he failed a few thousand times at it before succeeding)...
The person on social media saying they have the answer you need very likely failed again and again before they got it right as well.
So, if you are a mom or dad of two, and can't find time in your day to exercise...or if you are a business owner who is struggling to make a sale despite taking sales course after sales course...
Don't let this eat away at your self-esteem or self-worth.
I guarantee that the person online telling you they have the answer to your problem had to kiss a lot of frogs before finding their prince or princess charming...
And don't doubt for a second they fell off the horse of progress many times before they finally achieved their goals.
Watch their "commercials" knowing this...understand the interaction.
And if what they say connects with you...inspires you...make the choice to take action.
But do so knowing that...just like their success was a process...so too will yours be...
Remember, they got the results they achieved because they decided not to give up...and the decision to not give up is really the last one you will ever need to make...the rest is commentary.
Being more liked and respected...getting along better with others...never feeling tension caused by other people...takes effort. But, if you have the desire to make this change in your life, we have the tools...The Law of Cooperative Action™ Personal Mastery Program...learn more.