What you see, is not what you get

By Scott Schimmel

We are living in an incredibly manufactured, air-brushed, curated, and some would say artificial age. With Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels, we no longer have to wonder what success, beauty, and an abundant life look like- just open your phone. 

Here are some examples:

— My wife’s feed is filled with stay-at-home moms who grow their own organic produce so that they can homeschool their kids on the techniques of pickling. Their kids are happy, the moms are in bliss, and their homes look immaculate and clean.

— My email inbox gets filled every morning with new promotional products— podcasts about how to start your own successful podcast, blog posts about how to find your best life, and tips for entrepreneurs for how to scale your startup. It almost seems simple to create your own home business and “crush it” as an internet entrepreneur.

— A student in high school told me recently that while he’s at home on the weekends, watching Netflix and hanging out with his parents, he watches his “friends” post stories about long days at the beach, late night parties, and social gatherings. It looks like everyone is having fun, he said, “except for me.”

The problem is, what you see is not what you really get. 

There’s always more to the story. 

In the YouSchool program, we ask people to take an honest look at themselves through an outside lens. How do you come across to others? What are the observable aspects of your true personality? In what ways do the outer circumstances and choices you make shape the inner parts of your character?

We guide people through a process to consider the style of music they prefer, the language they use, and the types of jokes they laugh at. All of those external characteristics point to something inside. 

Sometimes, just sometimes, we create an appearance on the outside that we wish was true on the inside. 

One significant part of growing up and becoming a whole, healthy human being is coming to terms with who you really are. Some would call it surrender and acceptance- the painful realization that you aren’t any more or any less that your true nature. The good, and the bad, and the ugly, are all parts of the real you. Most people, though, resist coming to terms with themselves, preferring to put on an illusion and cast that image to the rest of the world. The real problem is not just when other people realize you’re not telling the real or whole story, the real problem is when you can’t tell the difference anymore between the real you and the fake you. 

If you have the courage to get honest with yourself and take an honest look in the mirror, be warned: you might not like what you see. You can’t change it, for sure, but you’re likely going to be tempted to hide from yourself and others. Here’s the real invitation: 

There’s only one version of you. As Brene Brown says: “When you deny the story, it owns you. When you own the story, you get to write the ending!”

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