The pitfalls of modern media
We live in a world ruled by media; social, commercial, personal, advertisement—you name it. As with any force that has the power to reach so many people, it can be both a blessing and a curse. The pros are evident. We can stay in touch with distant friends, we can see our loved one’s shining face at the click of a button, we can ask a little computer almost any kind of trivial question and get an answer within seconds. But what about the cons?
We have a vague sense of the negative aspects of this media-based technology, but many do not sit still long enough to reflect upon the true implications of its use. One of the most harmful things all of our media has produced is the concept that we need to be larger than life. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but think about it.
The celebrity craze, the advertisements for health and beauty products, and the explosion of reality TV have led many to believe that they must achieve some impossible ideal of existence. This incessant media bombardment tells us we are not smart enough, beautiful enough, successful enough, and that our lives are basically uninteresting.
As a result, in America, we live in a society wherein many people believe that they will never be good enough. In other countries, people idealize the American way, and similarly live with the sentiment that they will never be fulfilled unless they achieve that ideal. (Excuse me for making broad generalizations. I certainly understand that this is not the case for everyone, but I believe those people are the exceptions.)
A shift in perspective
Many of us become so riveted on these external ideals we are attempting to realize that we forget to take the time to be with ourselves and think about our incredible potential as human beings. Moreover, the deeper issue is that we have already convinced ourselves that we are not adequate.
Of course, it is not as easy as just deciding to be better or deciding to be good enough. We’d all do it if that were the case. Yet, there is one thing I like to remind myself of during a bout of low self worth: I have a choice.
I can either let myself slide down that trash chute and wallow in all the filth of doubt, insecurity, and fear, OR I can make the choice to acknowledge all of the muck, and ask myself why. Why is it there? How did it get there? Is that really true? Oh, that one hurts a little. This one hurts a lot.
When we approach the pain in an inquisitive, almost childlike manner instead of resisting it, we give ourselves the opportunity to change those harmful patterns of thought. And we can only change if we realize that the choice is ours.
Who has the final say?
Finally, it is important to remember that each of us is the ultimate judge of our own self-worth. Yes, at some point in our lives, we’ve all been told through the words, actions, or suggestions of others that we are not good enough. The media suggests this on a daily basis. So what? At the end of the day, there is only one person who gets to make that call: you.
It’s not easy if you’ve lived with low self-image for a long time, but it is never too late to change. Remember, you have a beautiful mind, one of the most functional, well-crafted minds on the planet. Don’t be afraid to use it. Don’t let the opinions of others lead you to believe that you can’t use it in some particular way. I’m not saying go after all your wildest delusions. I’m saying, look within, be honest, and ask yourself the hard questions.
Often we find that feeling of inadequacy is rooted in fear and gravely inaccurate. As always, for this sort of thing I suggest a well rounded wellness routine that includes meditation as an integral part of your practice.
Wishing you courage to face the stillness within.
By Terence Stone
Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.