I decided to teach a workshop recently. Attached to my workshop proposal I needed to submit a current photo. Scrolling through the photos on my phone, I found a few that I felt would fit the bill. Some needed "cropping", some
needed to be lighter in color, one I thought would be good in black and white.
On your phone there is an app for just about everything - I downloaded
a "photo editor" app and went about the task of editing and chosing a photo that I felt reflected the current me.
I found that along with a simple photo
enlargement or color change to black and white I could also add lipstick, and eye shadow, and smooth the tiny lines around my eyes. I could apply a filter and look ten years younger! (Or ten pounds lighter!)
I must admit I got a bit carried away with my photo editing. By the time I was finished I didn't recognize the person in the picture to be me. Nice photo - just didn't reflect reality. (People would
have shown up for my workshop and wondered what had happened that I aged so quickly) I had a chuckle and reverted the photo back to the original.
orginal photo, with lines and flaws, is me. No amount of "filters" will change reality.
This experience got me to thinking...
Daily we are presented with a "filtered" reality in advertising, posts on social media, personal interaction with others and even (gasp!) the reporting of news!
It is natural to want others to agree with us - so stories are slanted and filtered - be in the re-telling of a family disagreement or the
'reporting' of news. (Remember: somewhere in the middle lies the truth)
In order to sell products, advertising executives shade the truth. (Let's
face it - if popping a pill would make you thin, we wouldn't have an obesity problem in our country)
Everyone wants to put their "best foot forward"
so photos of gatherings, nights out, vacation and the like are filtered and edited. No one mentions that right before the photo was snapped Uncle George had to be pealed away from the beer cooler or that one heck of a fight occurred when someone brought up
how Aunt Lydia seems to always come empty handed to reunions. The cutesy photo of a friend on "vaca" in her new size 10 bathing suit doesn't say "I got up every morning at 6am to walk on a flippin' treadmill and turned vegan 6 months ago"
Our world is filtered...and that is OK as long as we are aware of it. It is when we lose sight of the fact that we are only being told and shown a filtered version
of reality that we can find ourselves coveting another's life...or lifestyle...or forming a personal or political opinion based on slanted material...
that glitters is not gold.
I believe that a fair amount of sadness, depression and despondency in our society can be traced back to comparing ourselves
and our lives to the filtered reality shown to us by others. We no longer find ourselves content with our lives.
God bless the women that give birth
and their bodies snap back into shape. (In my reality that did not happen - I will not feel bad about that either). What is not shown in the glossy magazines that report on models and actresses 'after birth' photos is the team of assistants that helped
to get them in shape and camera ready.
It may be that in a short span of time your neighbors buy a new vehicle, remodel their home and they go on a cruise
to boot. Fabulous! The reality is they are mortgaged to their eyeballs.
The 'loved up' posts on social media that you see from your high
school 'bestie' don't reflect the lonely evenings they spent as their spouse climbed the corporate ladder.
There is a chasm that exists between reality
and the filtered version of what we
We could, after viewing
the upteenth post from a friend about their fabulous 'date nights' be a tad jealous.
After viewing pictures of a friend's family car trip to the ocean
we could find ourselves resentful that we can't even make it to Walmart without our children trying to tie each other up in the back seat.
We could could choose to be happy, to be satisfied with where we are at...and not compare ourselves, our life, our spouse, our children
to anything else.
The saying goes that unless you walk a mile in another's shoes you do not truly know them. Do not allow yourself to base your
judgements on a filtered reality.
Contentment comes from not coveting what another has. A good way to achieve contentment... and happiness...is to be
firmly grounded in unfiltered reality.