Written by Emma Kenny, TV psychologist and presenter
Every day, we flick through a magazine or search social media to see celebrities, influencers and even friends, proudly showcasing their ‘perfect’ lives. They share their latest holiday snaps, designer clothing haul and ‘clean eating’ lunch dishes while convincing us that is what ideal looks like. That we should feel guilty for reaching for a sandwich. That we’re underachieving because we didn’t spend a week in the sun.
Scrolling through our social media feeds we forget that these people woke up with the same bed hair as us, scoffed a bag of crisps as they ran for their train or photo-shopped a few wrinkles out of their selfie – because they choose not to share that with us.
A recent poll by New York Bakery Co. found that the average British adult dedicates 12 hours a week trying to improve their lives but importantly, three quarters wish there was more importance placed on being authentic. The bagel makers’ new TV campaign celebrates the real and the authentic, just like a New York Bakery bagel, by introducing the UK to Edna, the straight talking woman who runs New York.
So how can we put that into practice?
Remember, there is no such thing as perfection
The poll discovered that the average Brit believes their life is only 48% perfect but what is perfection? My idea of perfection may be different to yours, which may be different still to your friend’s, and even less in line with what the latest reality TV star believes is flawless. It is vital that we learn to turn the volume down and think for ourselves, but this can only happen when we start balancing our exposure to these images of perfection with a more realistic perspective of life.
Celebrate what’s underneath
Worryingly, more and more young people are buying into the idea that happiness is skin deep. The irony is that external beauty has very little to do with authentic happiness. Placing characters like New York Bakery Co.’s Edna on screen sends out a really important message. The confidence she exudes cannot be bought - it comes from experience, wisdom, and the recognition that when your looks fade, you have great qualities underneath.
Embrace our differences
Researchers have long since known the recipe for a successful and fulfilled life, and it can’t be bought. It lies in a life fully lived, surrounded by people whom we love, who value us for our intrinsic qualities and gifts. The recipe for a happy life involves the positive relationships we build, the passions that we choose to pursue, the communities that allow us to belong, and the celebration of our individual traits that make us uniquely who we are.
Be Your Own Version of Success
The idea of perfection we’re bombarded with every day is often unattainable which, when we put too much weight on it, leads to a sense of failure. Happiness is completely within your reach and you will find it when you stop seeking it in all the wrong places. Beauty fades and perfection is impossible, so we need to be unique, care less about how other people are living their lives and concentrate more on how we live our own.
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