A full life has its roots in an authentic relationship with yourself. It has always been this way and always will be. There is no substitute.
We all want to live meaningful lives. There is a fundamental and healthy desire in most of us to become self-actualised. Ironically and paradoxically, the fact that so many spend so much time on social media trying to convince their virtual friends that their lives are meaningful, that prevents them from leading meaningful lives.
So much suffering is caused by when we try to live up to an imaginary or idealised self. It can be considered part of a neurotic coping mechanism. Nowhere is this clearer than on social media, especially Instagram. Many of the lives depicted on social media simply do not exist or if they do, they are tragically empty of meaning. Even the pictures of the people bear little resemblance to their appearance in the physical world.
It seems that a favourite meme is arms raised, facing a beautiful view, accompanied by an inspirational quote: a moment of “feel good” which feels kind-of meaningful but on closer examination means little or nothing and is soon forgotten.
Trips and holidays appear to be planned with an eye as to how it will look on Instagram or Facebook. I do not know what they are thinking but it must be something like: “Do these pics make me look like I’m a really interesting person who lives their life “fully”? “Will I come across as adventurous, spontaneous, extroverted?” This has led to vacuous youtubers and instagrammers desecrating the Berlin Holocaust Memorials, just to get a good pic and impress their “friends”.
Shahak Shapira, a Jewish artist, photoshopped these crass selfies onto the events commemorating the holocaust in Berlin which controversially puts into perspective just the obscene level of self-absorption of these people:
The images that you will see in the link are strong images.
Life is messy, difficult, repetitive and often uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable normally means that you are growing. Adventure is great, pushing your limits is great but fulfilment can also be found in those quiet moments where we are fully connected to ourselves and each other.
In other words, happiness, fulfilment is and always will be based on an authentic relationship with ourselves − something I teach in our retreats and will continue to do so.
Live life with open curiosity, an attitude of kindness to yourself and others and, above all, with a sense of humour.