Monday, March 24, 2014

Image Crafting

Image Crafting.  We are all guilty of it to some degree.  Maybe you do it in your day-to-day interactions, maybe you do it online in your Facebook or on your blog… Image crafting is a so easy to do and so dangerous for you as an individual, for your friendships, and even for our society as a whole.  It steals the authenticity away from our lives and prevents us from sharing our uniqueness and beauty with others whilst at the same time breeding competition and unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others.  How does this secret danger lurking in our lives manifest itself...

Image Crafting in Real Life...
Do you clean your house fanatically before a playdate or before your friends or family come over for dinner? I am not talking about maintaining a clean house. That is a different post for a different day.  I am talking about putting stuff in laundry baskets and hiding it in the closets or the trunk of your car.   I am talking about 'staging' your house like the real-estate agents do when a house is for sale.  I am talking about making your home look different.   Do you hesitate to invite people over because you don't/can't do all that (above) and yet you don't want them to see what your house/life is really like?  Do you have people that you WANT to have over but don't because you are worried that your cooking or cleaning or tidiness isn't good enough for them?  I do!

About 10 years ago my husband told me that he really would rather I not entertain/host if it meant I was going to be so crazy leading up to the party or event.  I was taken aback by the comment.  He said it wasn't worth the stress that I was feeling and passing on to the whole family.  Wow.  He asked me if I was even having FUN planning the party because I seemed so miserably stressed.  That was a huge reality check.  It doesn't HAVE to be perfect.

And lets talk about Christmas morning for just a minute.  We all look very natural at 630am after being up all night building that bike to put under the tree.  Why do we hide from the camera?  Even Anna is hiding here…

Following her mothers example of hiding from the camera?  I try to be the one 'with' the camera so that there is never a record of what I REALLY looked like when I first woke up.

In social media...
Do you ONLY post those photos where you or your kids look perfectly amazing? When you take a photo to share with other do you make sure you get the photo just right so as to not include the messy dishes in the background?  Do you use photo shop or other editing to make yourself look better before posting?  Which of these two photos do you think I posted on FB?

The one with all the junk in the back ground and me in my glasses and hair pulled back at the end of a beautiful but long day….


Pow.  Me after being all dolled up and stressing about my clothes, jewelry etc.  BTW this was the world's WORST photo shoot for my family because I forgot to feed a child lunch before the shoot.  Horrible.  Good thing my photographer was my Godson's mom otherwise she would have left us.  But that is the story you don't see behind the photo.  The photo says "I have a perfect life and a sexy husband".

And in the non-photo realm - do you post about the spectacular as if it is routine?  "My wonderful hubby brings flowers again"  when in reality it is the 3rd time in 5 years he has done so.

Do you post only the positive events?  Careful here - I don't mean only positive THINGS.    I would LOVE to see more positive, funny, inspirational things posted.  Sure beats photos of people's food.  No, what I am talking about it posting only positive EVENTS in your life lending your social image to be that of...

Yes, it is bad...
Image crafting feeds our vanity.  We post a photo because we want to be told that we are beautiful.  We want to be told how fabulous our children are. "Great photo"  "So Beautiful" "They are so cute"  "You guys are the most adorable couple"  "You look amazing".   Yup.  We know it.  I posted a great photo of my daughter and I at our daddy/mommy date with her.  I know I look good (or I wouldn't have posted it) and I think that it is cool that we do these little dates.  That is why I post the photo.  I want others to see how great we look and how fun it is that my hubby and I take our kids on little dates with us every so often (we did one so far - that is the first one - see the image crafting at work?).

We wouldn't post the ugly stuff.  Can you imagine what FB would look like on a day like that people only posted the nasty stuff?  "Husband just yelled at me and I feel like crap" followed by  "my kids are making me crazy singing Let it Go yet AGAIN" and "Really, why can't people drive in this city?"

I am calling for some balance and a move toward more authenticity because

image crafting feeds an unrealistic ideal 
of motherhood and marriage.  

It brings the rest of us down. We compare by nature because we are social beings.  I have some friends who are so amazingly authentic.  It is so refreshing to be around!  I know I don't have to be perfect and I know they aren't expecting it.   The way they live with such authenticity and yet humble confidence drives me to be more authentic as well.

Image crafting also feeds superficial relationships.  We have some idea that we "know someone" because we see them post fabulous things all the time.  You don't "know them" just because they post for their 300 friends that they are out on a date. You know a superficial tidbit from their life.

We should strive for authenticity in all areas of our life.  That doesn't mean that you have to let go of all privacy in your life.  I am not suggesting we all post selfies of us in PJ's with bedhead.  That would be frightening.  But it does mean that you should strive for other to have a genuine idea of who you are.

If you are having a bad day send out a post "needing some prayers folks".  Post something real every now and again that allows folks to see the unique YOU.

You were intentionally created for a beautiful and unique purpose in this world.  Have you discovered what that purpose is?  

Being more authentic with others may just help you be more authentic with yourself.  Gotta run… Have an beautiful day and thanks for taking time to think with me and Thanks for stopping by!
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