Why do we focus on our ‘outsides’ more than our ‘insides?’

By: Ellie Perlmutter

Ellie Perlmutter

Imagine me, a clueless 15 year old girl in her room, trying to figure out what to do for her first Table Talk event. She’s looking for some good questions for a nice conversation with her fellow classmates, teens, and teachers; she’s scrolling through questions made by TableTalk until.. BOOM, there’s the question she’s been wanting to ask all along:

“Why do we focus more on our outsides than our insides?”

This was perfect! A group of young teens being affected by social media, self worth, and body image everyday? How much better could that get?

When it was time to begin our discussion, I asked the question “Why do we focus more on our outsides than on our insides?” and the responses I got helped me figure myself out on a deeper level.

Most of the responses I received were related to the idea that “social media affects the way I think I should look at myself and I’m constantly comparing myself to others because of it.” This type of answer is what I expected and is completely understandable, but one answer hit home for me. Another person said “ I feel like people care more about how I look than how I act.”

What was I supposed to say to that? The room went silent. I began to wonder if people were not as focused on appearances, but rather, people’s souls, could the world be a different place? This brought me back to one place close to my heart: camp.

Camp is the perfect example of this idea for me. I would wake up, put on a random pair of shorts and a t-shirt, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my sneakers and I was all ready to take on the day. At camp, we were focused on our souls and how we could impact one another, rather than that “one pimple on our forehead that we can’t have anyone see,” “the outfit that doesn’t match,” or “the eyebrows that may not be “on fleek” that day.” Thanks to camp I didn’t have to wonder what this world could be like, a world where people focused primarily on their insides. At camp, I knew exactly what this world was.

Ellie at camp

After this wild realization, I began to think of what this world would look like if we focused on our insides more than our outsides.

I started to think about school, youth groups, television, social media, and our everyday lives. The world would be completely different! There would not be beauty magazines or insecurity among such a large number of teenagers! My new challenge for myself is to focus on my soul and actions, more than my physical appearance.

Eventually, the discussion ended and more people continued to speak about this issue of self worth and self perception beyond our initial conversation. Thanks to TableTalk for providing me the infrastructure, I figured out more about myself, my fellow teenagers, and the world; all I had to do was start the conversation. The topic didn’t need to be something lofty or pre-planned.

By bringing up a topic that is rarely discussed, yet on everyone’s minds, we were able to talk about something that mattered. I never would have thought that a casual conversation would have had such an impact on me, but by putting down our phones and engaging in face-to-face conversation, I discovered something new about myself and others because of TableTalk.