In this age of filters and fillers, Instagram and reality TV we have been named a generation of unhappy people with very happy pictures. Sure, 100k+ followers, numerous likes, messages of admiration may give us that quick shot of dopamine to make us feel good, but it doesn’t last long. The biggest socio-psychological problem inflicted by media is almost a pathological need for external validation. For someone else, even complete strangers to say that we are pretty, successful or worthy.
Thankfully new paradigm pioneers like Jay Shetty and Tony Robbins are slowly shifting our perceptions and bringing us back into the real world, with real feelings and real people. Last week, on World Kindness this really got me thinking.
What is the opposite of digital misery? It’s substance and being a person of substance. Someone who adds value to the world, makes it that little bit better place for all of us by creating a meaningful connection, a thought or an emotion. Someone who can help others and is willing to do so. The following question that jumped into my mind was why is being a person of substance is so underrated? Here’s my hypothesis …
Last year, I watched Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for the very first time. I was happy I never saw it before, as for this film to have such a profound impact on me I had to get that little bit older and serious about life and people in it. If you haven’t seen this 1946 classic, I urge you to watch it. Drawing my own conclusions from this film after being presented with the irreplicable phenomenon and shattering depiction of internal struggle and suffering of George Bailey, it clicked.
The significant change we make every day goes unnoticed because it is just something that we do, nicely blended into a background and drowned in the noise and hassle of everyday life. We stopped looking inwards and seeing how well we are doing, how far we have gone and what difference we have made. It is hard to keep going and moving forward on internal motivation when no one else is metaphorically rooting and clapping for you. This inevitably leads human nature to seek that validation from external sources, which ultimately is like falling in love. Yes, it can elevate you and make you feel like you’re on top on the world, but with the same force, it can drop you to the lowest of all lows you never even knew existed.
True happiness, the true purpose is an inside job, always has been, always will. If I had the power to make every person in the world reflect on one thing- I would ask to stop and think how well you have done, forgive yourself for things that didn’t go well and keep going. I fundamentally believe that there is more good in this world than bad. To me, it is axiomatic, indisputable fact.
And just like Gorge, if we realised what an impact we are making without even being aware of it, the likes and love hearts would become redundant. We would build on love, substance and making a difference.