When we follow people—be the authors or internet gurus all about self-help or celebrities or influencers, we only see one side of who they are: the shiny side.
We see the end product of a book, a video, a photo, a blog post, a speech, but we don’t see the day-to-day humanity behind that. We consume the product, become devoted to the person, even sometimes think we’re friends with the person, and sometimes even think the things in their lives belong more to us than to them.
And that’s pretty interesting, right?
Last week our dog, Gabby, died and because Gabby is a big part of Carrie’s message and social media, she posted that Gabby had passed. So many people were lovely and kind and expressed so much sympathy because Gabby presented something good in their lives and because they were kind and had empathy because they’d been through loss, too.
But one person sent a message that said they were still really sad about Gabby and that Carrie may still be struggling. And that? That one little word ‘may,’ when combined with their statement about being really sad? It made us stop and think even though we know this person is absolutely lovely and only has the best of intentions.
Still, it was our dog that died, but we were the ones who may still be struggling?
We are no Tim Ferris or Kardashian or Tony Robbins or Anne Lamott, but our lives are real and not just consumption for others. We get joyous, desperately sad, grieve, make massive mistakes, and sometimes even do things incredibly right.
Sometimes when we follow others, we forget that those other people are people and sometimes we forget that we are people too.
We are all intrigued by the personality and human aspects behind the people we follow, be they entrepeneurs, philosophers, influencers, or Kardashians. But that doesn’t mean that we should forget that they are humans with whole teams sometimes helping them create a product.
You don’t need to be a product.
And you don’t need to feel bad about yourself if you aren’t an influencer or don’t have a massive following or don’t have beautifully curated Instagram photos.
You aren’t a product and even those famous people aren’t products. We are all humans, figuring things out as we go. We don’t need to imitate a Kardashian to be happy or to channel our inner Tony Robbins or Oprah or Anne Lamott or Jayson Reynolds. We need to define what it is that we truly want in life. If you are overwhelmed by the death of someone else’s dog, you might want to find more love in your life. If you are angry about something your town council did, you might want to be elected to a position where you can change things. If you are sad that other people are getting books published, you might want to start spending some time writing your own book.
Success is not about not eating carbs, wearing the right make-up, putting on the booty enhancers, and drinking a certain kind of energy drink. Success is about defining who you are, what you believe in, how you want to live your life. That’s not something you can imitate. It’s something you have to be. You have to choose to be who you are, not who the gurus want to be. You have to choose to live your life, not live through others.
That takes work sometimes, deep thought, and the ability to look inside yourself at what you want to be and who you are right now. It means letting go of past mistakes and moving toward a human-focused and humanity-focused present and future. It takes love, damn it. And the first step is loving yourself. Oprah, Kardashians, Ferris, Robbins, Reynolds are all probably great humans, but they aren’t you. And you? You’re just as great or maybe even greater. You just have to believe in yourself enough to let that greatness out.
Dog Tip For Life
Follow your own nose. Be your own dog. – Sparty
RANDOM THOUGHTS LINKS
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!