The Facade and the Human: Navigating Role Models in the Age of Social Media

ReConnected Life

In an age where our screens are flooded with dazzling images and punchy taglines from so-called influencers and gurus, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The struggle is real, especially when you're on a journey to be your authentic self. Can we find genuine role models amidst the cacophony? How do we process the disillusionment when someone we've admired shows their human flaws? Welcome to the intricacies of role models and pedestals: a maze of inspiration, expectation, and very real humanity. In this blog, we're not just peeling back the Insta-filter; we're delving into the complex emotions of being considered ‘inspiring' and what it really means to find someone who resonates with your true self.

The idea of role models isn't something we often go out searching for, is it? Most of the time, these figures emerge naturally in our lives—sometimes from the pages of a book, the dialogue in a film, or increasingly these days, from a heartfelt post on social media. We find ourselves touched by their stories, encouraged by their wisdom, or perhaps, inspired by their resilience. It's not so much a quest for perfection, but a yearning to connect with someone who resonates with our own hopes and dreams.

Yet, the online world, brimming as it is with Insta-perfect lives and curated content, can make this connection complex. Not everyone sharing an ‘inspirational' quote is truly vested in your well-being, and not every influencer who touts a ‘dream lifestyle' has arrived there through the same struggles you might be facing. This is why it's crucial to delve a bit deeper, to find the real human beings behind the online façades. Look for those who share the bumpy ride, not just the summit selfie; those who talk about the tears and setbacks, not just the wins.

Being someone who has walked through her share of life's storms, I know firsthand how essential this authenticity is, both in the people I look up to and in how I communicate with others. I'm often humbled when someone says they find my work or my journey inspiring. But what does that mean, really? And how do I, or any of us, live up to such a designation?

This leads us to the crux of the matter: pedestals. We've all done it—elevated someone in our minds to almost superhuman status, where they can do no wrong. Yet, no one, no matter how extraordinary, is infallible. And when our heroes falter, as they inevitably will, how do we navigate the complex emotions that ensue?

The key is to remember the shared humanity in all of this. Understand that every journey involves missteps, every life has its own set of challenges, and every individual is a complex tapestry of virtues and flaws. When someone ‘falls' from the pedestal we've placed them on, it's not so much a betrayal as it is a revelation—a reminder that they are as human as we are, facing their own battles, learning their own lessons.

As we dig into the realities of role models and pedestals, I'd also like to touch upon the delicate responsibility that comes with being considered a ‘role model.' It's an aspect that often leaves me grappling with questions about authenticity and influence.

Finding the Human Behind the Facade

It's often easier said than done, isn't it? Amidst the sea of carefully curated posts and highlight reels, how do you find a person whose message truly resonates with you? Well, it might sound old-fashioned, but sometimes, it's the age-old virtues of honesty, vulnerability, and integrity that shine through. They manifest in those rare posts where someone shares their lows and not just their highs, where they show their struggles alongside their successes.

While the gloss and glamour might catch your eye, it's the raw, authentic moments that capture your heart. So don't shy away from diving deep into someone's content before deeming them your role model. Remember, it's not just the snapshot of today but the journey they've taken, the choices they've made, and the values they've upheld that truly make someone a beacon worth following. But what happens when these paragons of virtues falter and fall off their pedestals? It's tough, right?

The Fall from the Pedestal and the Rise of Humanity

Ah, the crushing disappointment when someone we've admired turns out to be, well, human. It can be a shocking revelation, but it's also a vital one. Because it's in that moment of disappointment that we confront our own unrealistic expectations. We are reminded that role models aren't templates to be copied but references to be adapted to our lives. It's an opportunity for us to reassess and refine what it is that we truly value and seek in a role model.The Weight of Being ‘Inspiring'

As someone who's often labelled as ‘inspiring,' let me tell you—it carries both an honour and a burden. A privilege because if my story or words can serve as a catalyst for someone else's journey, that's truly gratifying. Yet, it's also a responsibility that I never actively sought. It's overwhelming at times, pondering over how to sustain this so-called ‘inspirational status.' But here's what I've come to realise: It's not about striving to be a constant source of inspiration. Instead, it's about being true to myself, flaws and all, and hoping that authenticity resonates with someone else out there.

A Kind Path Forward

So here we are, navigating a world filled with voices, messages, and figures, each claiming a piece of our attention and often, our admiration. It's a lot, isn't it? Yet in this labyrinth of influences and influencers, let's not forget the most important voice to listen to—our own. For in the quiet space of our own hearts, away from the digital cacophony, we find the wisdom to choose whose words we let shape us and whose example we wish to follow.

Choosing role models isn't about finding flawless figures but about resonating with genuine people who reflect the values we hold dear. It's also about being realistic with our expectations, for them and for ourselves. So as we wade through the seas of personalities, let’s make room for the nuances, the imperfections, and the humility that come with being human.

And for those of us who find ourselves in the surprising position of being someone else's role model? Let's acknowledge the responsibility but also offer ourselves the kindness of imperfection. For if there's one thing that can genuinely inspire others, it's our ability to be authentically, imperfectly ourselves.

May we all find that delicate balance between seeking inspiration and allowing room for human frailty—in others and in ourselves.


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