by MK Vernon
On social media we are constantly bombarded by pictures of perfect family photos, everyone’s most flattering profile picture, loving messages to spouses, homemade kids crafts and perfect lessons plans. It’s the highlight reel of our friends’ and acquaintances’ lives. It’s easy to start feeling down about yourself if you are constantly subjected to everyone else’s finest moments.
But it doesn’t stop there. When we see ads or watch tv, we see people at their best. Beautiful clothes, perfect family homes, upscale neighborhoods, luxury vehicles, and exotic locations. The problem is that this isn’t reality, but it’s hard for us to recognize this in the moment.
So many of my beliefs about how I should live my life have come from media. Early in college I saw a movie about a woman who worked at an ad agency. The movie portrayed her as having it all and working a glamorous job. Instantly, I decided that was the career for me. Later, I watched a movie about a wealthy family with well-educated and thoughtful kids. They lived in a beautiful home and had a happy, close relationship. I decided I needed a home like that in order to create the warmth and quality of life they shared.
Over time, the advertising career wasn’t as fulfilling as it had appeared. And my single family home was too much of a trade off of quality time and money to make it worthwhile. Coming face to face with the reality of my situation — a career I didn’t like and an unattained dream home made me feel like a failure. I was supposed to live a life that contained these things because they appeared so perfect, but I was quickly realizing that I didn’t want perfect anymore. I wanted to be happy. And I wanted to own my life.
Over many months and years, I began to disengage from social media, TV and movies. What happened was an incredible experiment in social psychology. Instead of spending my free time scrolling through news feeds and looking at perfect pictures, I began to read. I found new concepts I’d never heard of. Minimalism. FIRE. Simplicity Parenting. I began to check out books like:
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
Your Money Or Your Life by Vicki Robin
…and books on meditation. I became interested in fitness and healthy living. I began to study and learn and grow again. I even started a fitness business for other moms leading one-on-one and small group training sessions. I began to clear the clutter in my life and started to align my self-worth with the things that made me feel alive: Helping others and personal growth.
I feel alive today because I’m no longer bombarded by the world’s definition of perfect. Instead, I’m finding my perfect. And as a mom raising three kiddos, my perfect is very imperfect. Half the time, my house is a wreck. But that is okay because even if people are judging my imperfect house, I’m working on being comfortable with that. I love this new world of possibilities I have created for myself, all because I began to tune out media and advertising and disengage my sense of self-worth from society’s expectations.
Now, my sense of self-worth comes from how much quality time I spend with my husband and kids, the quality of my writing and how many people I am impacting, and building businesses that I hope will change others’ lives for the better.
What is your relationship like with social media? How do movies and TV impact your views on life? Is it easy for you to disengage from the perfect or do you find yourself trying to measure up? Please let us know in the comments!
Wishing you lots of fulfillment in your motherhood journey.
MK and Yvonne