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Resist the cookie-cutter life

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Break free from the emulation of a cookie-cutter life, and be yourself.

Break free from the emulation of a cookie-cutter life, and be yourself.

Photo illustration by Sara Freitag

Photo illustration by Sara Freitag

Break free from the emulation of a cookie-cutter life, and be yourself.

Sara Freitag, Opinion Editor

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I have a dream.  To one day see every man and woman regard themselves as uniquely beautiful, talented and an essential puzzle piece of this world we call home.  To blur the lines of harsh comparison and lessen the need for cutthroat competition.

While on the one hand, I see incredible rewards that social media can and has harvested, I simultaneously abhor its existence with every remaining ounce of my being.

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram.  In my opinion, this social media platform is the epitome of “the grass is greener on the other side.”  Perfectly curated feeds display only what is pleasing to the eye.  As an editor, I realize the power of social media in that we can quite literally “edit” our life in a way that looks as if it is spotless and without fault.  What is so often left is the deceptive portrayal of imperfect people as poster children.

There is nothing wrong with creating beauty and releasing only what is excellent.  I am guilty as charged.  When social media becomes deadly is when comparison creeps in.  When, what we possess or look like is simply not good enough.  Such is the point when the scale tips and individuals find themselves desiring to be just like “so-and-so.”

We all know social media is not an all-encompassing depiction of each other’s lives, so why bother imagining that it is?  Social media is a powerful tool, indeed.  Yet, as with every power tool, it must be handled wisely, or the ramifications could be deadly.

I call for, not the abolition of social media sites, but for awareness.  A check on our habits.  Is social media the first thing we look at in the morning?  Is it what soothes our slumber into the wee hours of the night?  How many moments do we spend aimlessly scrolling through pages of “have not’s”?  How many minutes do we waste pining away for our neighbor’s grass (or better yet, a stranger’s)?

Rather than wishing for the grass on the other side, water your own.  The world does not need more cookie-cutter-shaped individuals.  We need people who, like cookie dough which has been left to assume its natural shape, are not flawless, yet are authentic.

You have something truly unique to offer the world.  Your purpose will not be discovered by copying the most popular style of Instagram curation.  Your destiny will not present itself as an epiphany while you are perusing through the accounts of those people you long to emulate.  The minute you stop trying to live someone else’s life is the minute you take up your own.

 

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