Almost, every image-centric platform such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook lets their users post filtered photos. Millions of new images are updated daily, and these sites let users filter, edit, and crop out any undesirable aspects of themselves. Interestingly, it usually takes about 4 to 6 selfies, before a person usually decides to upload the one photo deemed to be upload worthy.
Unfortunately, this constant, secret visual manipulation creates an unrealistic portrait to onlookers of what other people and their lives look like. Consequently, this fixation on what we look like has led to decreased self-esteem, and increased anxiety. Now, there are studies being conducted to gain insights into just how much these unrealistic portraits are contributing to a mental health crisis.
Sadly, there are many people whose identities and self-worth are attached to the number of likes, and thumbs they receive underneath their photos. Unfortunately, those same people are left disillusioned by the social media world. And increasingly, as a society we are more concerned with creating the right illusion, that we are forgetting how to create meaningful real-life experiences.
it’s no wonder this disillusionment has spilled over into
the dating world……
Dating, whether meeting a person online or organically requires the dater to assume a level of risk. So, when we decide to take on the daunting task of getting to know someone, we naturally and instinctively will put our “best foot” forward. Our desires to make a good impression intensifies as we inwardly ask, “Could this be the one?”
As a result, we often will withhold certain aspects of our lives and personalities from our prospective beaus. This is a completely normal and acceptable act. After all, you shouldn’t “expose your hand” up front. Especially, since the first date may be too early to know where the relationship is heading.
However, the problem arises when you are six months to one year into the relationship, and you still have not shown your true self to your beau. This is what I call the “Filter Dating Syndrome.”
Filter Dating Syndrome
The truth is, falling in love, is scary! Unfortunately, many people use filters in dating. We hide our true selves to make ourselves seem more attractive. We inherently believe that if another person knew all about our imperfections, then they couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to love us. This is caused by having a low self-efficacy. It means that the way we see our true selves is so low, that even if another person were to see your true value, you would distrust that individual.
On the other hand, there are those who are so afraid of being hurt, that they have imprisoned themselves behind a wall of hardheartedness. These people pretend not to care and keep people at a distance. This too is a filter.
Sadly, the root cause of our inferiority complex runs so deep, that it goes unrecognizable even to ourselves. So, we wear masks to hide behind, we put on the rainbow, flower filters, and just smile for the camera. All the while, we’re crying on in the inside and repelling the one thing we truly desire……. Authentic Love.
“We long to share our best selves with the person who would be trustworthy of receiving our best.” Shawn Bolz
Authentic love requires vulnerability. Vulnerability is defined as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. No one likes to be vulnerable. No one wants to be in a position where they must give someone else the power to hurt them. Yet, until we do so, we will not receive the deep, satisfying love our heart desires, and that Our Heavenly Father desires for us to have.
Three Ways to be YOU!
- Guard your Hearts
Scripture tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” What we think, feel and believe about ourselves impacts our behavior. Take time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on identifying the toxic, root cause of your faulty thinking. Seeking help from a Professional Counselor will aid in restoring a healthy self-concept.
- Start Where You Are
According to Psalm 139: 14, You are fearfully and wonderfully made, so praise God! Your journey is a God filled journey, and who you are right now, as you read this is so full of value. You are worthy, you are ENOUGH! The person who is meant to love you will celebrate your achievements and your failures, because it made you the person you are today.
- Practice Being Vulnerable
I love Lamentations 3:40, which says “Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord.” Ask yourself, how did you get to this point. Practicing vulnerability simply means, to be honest. You only need just one person within your sphere of influence with whom you can be comfortable with sharing your story. Tell them your fears, your hopes and dreams. There is so much safety in the multitude of counsel and sharing our thoughts with people helps to provide a fresh perspective. Also, it forces us to consider points of views we may not have considered on our own.
Pouring out our grievances help to strengthen our inner worlds, so we can see God in the outside world. If you don’t have people surrounding you that you can trust, then I pray the Holy Spirit aligns you with empathetic, and trustworthy people who can listen without prejudice.
In closing, I just want all of you to know that who you really are is worth loving. So, be free in the Lord’s presence.
Be free to show them who you really are. Take the filters off!
My face when I’m trying to see the Real YOU!