I haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet – something I hope to put right very soon! But I have heard some of the music and I’ve been caught up in the music of ‘This is Me’ – a powerful message delivered in a spine-tingling way. And, while I don’t know the storyline, I’m guessing that this is all about fighting the need to try to be who everyone else is and instead, accepting who we each are as individuals.
In this social media era, it is very easy to get swept up in the tide of how others live – or at least, how we perceive them to live, based on a few snapshots or comments of their lives. I can’t help but notice how easy it is for trends to be shared and how, with the replication of similar styles and ideas appearing with increasing frequency in our feeds, how, so easily, we can get caught up in those trends. If you love it and you just know you have to have it, I say go for it! Embrace the trend. But I do sometimes wonder, as individuals who are all so completely different, do we get caught up in a trend because we really genuinely love it, or simply, because it’s a trend and we think we should love it/ have it/ photograph it, even, if we are totally honest, it’s just not us?
I’ll be honest: I’ve been there. I’ve seen the photos, thought I ought to love it and have it and though I probably wasn’t totally sold on how much I personally loved it, went for it anyway. The problem? In reality, I just couldn’t love it, because, being truly honest with myself, it just wasn’t me and while it was lovely in a snapshot of someone else’s home, it wasn’t right in mine because, well, I wasn’t them.
This brings to mind a disastrous hair incident ( Don’t be fooled by the use of ‘a’, it’s just that there have been way too many to relate them all here!) You know when you see someone with a hairstyle that looks great? It’s suits them so well and you think, ‘I’d love that hair.’ Speaking from experience, can I just offer this disclaimer: It could be that the reason the hair looks so good on them is because it is actually on them and not you! (There may well be photographic evidence but, in the interests of not mortifying myself further, they will not be appearing here!)
Styles and trends can catch on and spread like a virus in an over-heated key stage one classroom, but it doesn’t always mean it’s right for us. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how things catch on and how we can watch, read or listen to what others think or what they have to say and, just as it is with fashion, hair and home-styling, we can, without even realising we are doing it, adopt those views as our own even if, deep down, we may have our doubts.
It goes without saying that there will always be those we agree or disagree with and it’s always good to listen to others, to hear what they have to say and to allow this to help us think and make wise choices – ones that are right for us. But, I also think we need to be very careful not to simply adopt the views of others because they argue convincingly, have more people who seem to believe the same as they do or speak out more than someone else. Just like when I tried to rearrange my fireplace in the style of an Instagram post; while it looked ok, it didn’t sit right with me because, quite frankly, whether it looked good and was ‘on trend’ or not, it wasn’t symmetrical and try as I might to love it, I just couldn’t! (Sad but true – there are some things in my life that just need to be symmetrical.) There was nothing wrong with it and in the home where the inspiration came from, I’d say it was absolutely beautiful, but because there was just ‘something’ about it that I couldn’t get past, it wasn’t right for me.
When we deal with people we will, at some point/ points, inevitably deal with situations where we will feel conflicted. We will hear or see things and it can be incredibly easy to listen to the voices which speak the loudest. But lately, I’ve been learning that sometimes silence isn’t the direct result of being ‘wrong’ or not being worth hearing. Maybe silence is in fact a chosen state, a graceful response. A decision not to share with everyone. Why? Because we are all individuals with our own responses and choices and ways of dealing with things.
What I like won’t always be what you like. What you think won’t always be what I think. The hair that suits you won’t necessarily suit me – live and learn folks, live and learn ;o) We’re all different and do you know what? We’re meant to be and to have different views and opinions is ok. It’s what we do with our differences that really matters. Just as two people leaving a film will probably share some responses, there’s a good chance that how they interpret certain aspects of it will be very different. La La Land and, in particular, it’s ending, will forever be a bone of contention in our house but, differences are what make us individuals. While we both feel completely justified in our views, they are completely different. It doesn’t mean our lives need to be dominated by this – we’re different people so it stands to reason that we won’t see everything the same way. And so it is with life. But, it’s how we choose to deal with differences that will determine how we treat others.
I suppose what I’m trying to say, is that just because of how convincingly someone argues, how clearly they speak their views, how silent others may choose to be or how others feel about any thoughts/ feelings/ opinions/ doubts you may have, don’t forget that they are who they are and you are who you are. Your thoughts/ feelings/ opinions/ doubts are no less valid than theirs, but don’t expect everyone to be in agreement all the time and whatever you do, try not to make others feel that the thoughts they have are wrong. Maybe they know something you don’t, they’ve just chosen not to shout it from the rooftops, for one reason or another. Because that’s who they are and that’s the choice they’ve made.
We are constantly told to be wary of social media and the lifestyle it often implies – none of us have it together all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we want to share an ironing pile that is taller than our children. What is shared on social media is most likely an edited version of reality. The danger comes when we start to believe that people have it all worked out all the time. In ‘real’ life, the sad truth is, that there will be times when we get an ‘edited’ version; when bits are left out and, despite believing we have a full and convincing picture, we may indeed only be seeing a little snapshot of the whole image. Be careful what influences you, what you choose to fight for and how you choose to fight.
Put yourself in the position of the voice that isn’t heard because that is the choice that has been made. Be careful how you allow others to influence you. Maybe, through no fault of their own, they don’t actually know the real reality either; they just happened to have heard a convincing edited version and I think we’ve all probably had that experience at some point or another. It can be a real kick in the guts to realise that something we so fervently believed was perhaps not the whole truth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change our mind.
Don’t let yourself be fooled into believing that everything is exactly as it seems – sometimes it will be and sometimes it won’t, but be sure to follow your own heart, your gut, regardless of what you may hear or read or see about others’. Make the choices that are right for you and your conscience, but be aware that everyone else is just doing the same. The world is an incredible place, full of different people and just as we want others to understand where we are coming from, I’m guessing everyone else just wants that to.