If you spend much time scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest you’ve probably found yourself drawn to images that are beautiful. The ones that are pretty and perfectly arranged. From gorgeous portraits of people who look like they belong in a J.Crew catalog to perfectly hand lettered graphics of heart catching quotes. As humans we’re drawn to things of beauty. We want to see all the pretty, but what about the real stuff?
We applaud “authenticity” but sadly it’s become a buzz word in a culture obsessed with perfection, the pursuit of more and consumption instead of contentment. Do we really want to see behind the curtain of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz? When we do the magic disappears and the oomph fizzles out like a balloon that’s lost its ability to float.
We click on perfectly manicured yards, beautifully designed kitchens, rich dark lattes with swirled foam and living rooms that look like movie sets from a Nora Ephron film.
But what about the piles of laundry, the burst pipes, the kitchen sinks overflowing with last night’s dishes and this morning’s cereal bowls? Those pictures of reality rarely get a double-tap and often result in a loss of followers.
I know if I post a photo of my daughter, I’ll lose at least a handful of followers, because pictures of kids aren’t what my followers are looking from or expecting from me.
Conversely, I know I’ll gain followers if I stick to posting inspirational graphics and the occasional beautifully shot image. And I totally understand why. We’ve all become brands and being a brand requires consistency of style, quality and experience.
And maintaining a brand is a full-time job and to win at that game, you’ve got to suit up and play in the game, stay in your lane and avoid anything off-brand. If you don’t post “the real” but the “reality” worthy, people will follow you.
But are they following you if you aren’t posting the real stuff? Nope. They’re following a hologram of you. They’re following the highlight reel you so carefully curate. And it’s exhausting. It’s a game I don’t want to play most days (which leads to days and weeks of little to zero Instagram posts). So what do we do?
I think we get real. I think we stop worrying about losing followers and start telling the truth. And the truth isn’t always pretty, but at least it’s real. And I’d rather have real than a hologram of anything.
It isn’t going to be easy. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone. Not because the likely result is a loss of followers or social status, but because being real requires being vulnerable. And being vulnerable is a position very few of us ever want to be in.
Check out photographer Emily Magers Instagram account to read her #ontuesdayswespeaktruth posts. Each Tuesday Emily writes a beautiful post from the heart and speaks truth about the love of Jesus and God’s glory. Her post this week is about choosing to be vulnerable and being okay with not being okay.
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