Real

What is real? In this world of pixels and snaps and tweets and the ceaseless noise from like, like, like, share, comment, double-tap, text, how do we manage to make meaningful connections across the multitude of platforms available to us for instant connection? How do we sort out those who have truthful intentions from those that only want connection to benefit themselves? So what is real, or more importantly, who is real?

I have been lucky. I have been able to make friends, actual true friends, through Instagram. I never thought it was possible. I would have never dreamed that I would talk every day to friends across the country. That we would actually support each other, send mail, do Secret Santa, celebrate our wins, console our losses, and be there for each other. They have been a solace to me as I try to redefine who I am and help motivate me to achieve my goals.

So how do you sort out the authentic from the greedy?

You cannot get a good grasp of who a person is judged solely on their photos and their content. I have seen accounts with beautiful, curated photos yet the person has no substance, and accounts with average quality images but their soul pours through in their words. I go with my gut. The interactions of people I connect with tell me a lot about who they are. Do they have kind things to say? Do they offer insight and advice if asked? Do they stay consistent in their message and true to themselves?

The amount of followers or likes a person has means very little to me. Look deeper than the numbers flashing on your screen. If you find an account and feel that the person is relatable, that you agree or want to learn from them, don’t hesitate to reach out. You may be pleasantly surprised by their response. In the end, no matter if you have 50,000 followers or 200, you are just as valuable as them.

You matter. Do not belittle yourself or your importance in this world.

My hope, my goal is to strive to become more of myself everyday. It’s a struggle. It can be daunting to compare myself to others and suddenly find my inner monologue cursing my circumstances and making me find small and disconnected from the person I hope to become. I turn to my husband and my friends when the demon of self-doubt overwhelms me. I find it cathartic to voice my doubts or fears to you, my audience, in hope that we can find a common thread of connection rooted in our psyche.

So let’s get rid of the fear of connecting. Let’s move past the idea that perfection is a requirement for human interaction. Show me who you are, the good and the bad, and we can grow and learn from each other. Be real.

Love from a summer selfie, Connie

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