Why We Need to be Ourselves Online
I was sitting on the couch the other night, staring anxiously at my phone and feeling self-conscious because I’d just posted something new on my social media accounts. After an inspiring chat with my good friend, social media guru Brigitte Truong (check out her website), I created a schedule for new and uplifting weekly Instagram posts, YouTube yoga videos and monthly blog posts to connect me with the online world in a positive and more reliable way.
I want to, and someday soon will, take my yoga and writing skills with me all over the world to spread a little magic and create a little openness wherever I’m present. Sounds wondrous and maybe a little idealistic, right? Well, I believe it is in my future and that’s why I write this post and so many others with such conviction. But, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn’t sometimes a tad self-conscious when I write, create or share in a manner that’s straight from the heart and 100% authentic when I’m online.
Why the trepidation? I hesitate when I hit enter because I, like most of us, inherently and jadedly expect to be judged- however harshly- whenever I show up as myself online. I think there’s an aspect of virtual presence that’s strongly linked to validation- a connection between our self-worth and the number of “likes” we get, or followers we gain.
Instead of feeling free to express ourselves, we’re tempted to censor, alter and tweak who we are in favour of feeling loved. Feeling loved is all good and well, but it’s an inside job and the more we perpetuate a culture of looking outside of ourselves for that which we believe we need the longer we live feeling unfulfilled, empty and disconnected.
The more we love ourselves and show up as ourselves online, the stronger our immunity is to perceived judgment from the “outside world.” The issue of identity goes far beyond computer screens and social media accounts–I’m talking about ego and the foundation of identity–but I’ll save that for another post. Online identity is enough to contemplate for one day!
The latest post, the one I referred to earlier, was the first of many weekly Monday Mantra posts I’ll be sending out through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, featuring a short mantra written out and in video. I showed up with no makeup on and as the open, light-filled human I am and aim to always be AND as soon as I hit send I felt butterflies inside (See it here). What will people think of me? Is this stupid? Should I have put my ‘face’ on? I need a better camera- these were all of the questions and thoughts that paraded through my head.
I continue to be myself online, despite the fact that I’m working through some nervousness around it. In a time where more and more virtual platforms are popping up that offer identity-altering features, I think it’s key to keep showing up as ourselves. Besides, in a way, our identities are already fragmented because of our participation in the variety of ego-centric mediums out there, myself included. I want to keep showing up as me, one cohesive, complete ME.
PJs, dark circles and messy hair will occasionally show up in my social media posts and I like it. You’re always getting me. I know what it’s like to see wellness professionals or self-help “gurus” live a seemingly perfect and well-kept life. It feels unattainable and confusing.
This is life. It’s messy and dark sometimes, but it’s also beautiful and bright. I’m committed to showing up as Eryl at every turn, and that’s what I’ll share with you. Let’s drop the obsession with perfection. With non-stop camera clicks. With swiping filters. Let’s show up as ourselves, wherever we go and show others it’s okay to show up as themselves, too.
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