How to Stay Real in a Fake Digital World

You think you know a person. In the digital age, it’s easy too.

We can assess a persons’ level of intelligence and ambition by the position they hold and the company they work for. A quick LinkedIn search will tell us that.

Facebook and Instagram activity tell us who their significant other is, if they are perpetually single or playing the field. We know the company they keep, who they are related too, which restaurants they dine at and other spots they frequent.

We may not know the secrets of their soul but we know enough.

And as individuals actively engaged in the digital age, it’s easy to allow these judgments to seep in and define us. Without even realizing it, we accept others opinions of who we are as undeniable truths. We’re just too overwhelmed with the busyness of life to do otherwise.

You might be lamenting to a friend over dinner about how badly you need a vacation and rather than being attentive and concerned, she might easily dismiss it and say something like “oh come on, I see you going out every weekend. It can’t be that bad.”

Coming from a good friend and confidante you may walk away feeling like: I guess this is adult life. I have it better than any of my peers. Why am I ungrateful?

But the reality is that those weekend outings are more obligations than stress relief and the constant barrage of responsibility is incredibly draining. You’d rather be in a cottage by the lake, sipping cocoa and taking in the evening views completely alone than be forced into another lavish dinner with your partner’s parents.

What we see in others, and sometimes what we begin to see in ourselves, is just a silhouette.

We are not our jobs.

We are not our relationships.

We are not the company we keep or even the family we come from.

We may not even be the choices we make. Sometimes our life’s crossroads may coerce us into a path we’d never willingly choose to take.

But these parts of our stories remain untold in the digital world and sometimes our brains can’t disconnect even after we’ve logged off. Sometimes we forget who we really are and consequently succumb to other’s surface level narratives of ourselves.

This week as you navigate through life, challenge yourself to dig a bit deeper.

Take some quiet moments in between routine tasks to check in with your inner voice. Does it echo the tone of the conversations you’re having or the words others speak of you? Chances are there may be a disconnect in some of your relationships. Take note of them.

Then, find subtle ways in your daily conversations and interactions to bridge the gap and clarify your stance where ever possible. Speak your truth and be a bit more inquisitive in your conversations with others. Learning about others, beyond their digital persona, may very well teach you something about yourself.

After some practice, things are bound to flow more naturally.

It’s always the small steps that compile over time and lead to big meaningful changes.

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