If you do a Google search for the phrase “image vs. identity” the first page (and most of the succeeding pages) is full of articles discussing corporate branding/identity versus corporate image. On the first page, there are only 2 items that do not reference corporations. One of them is a video from Family First founder Mark Merrill (NOT the same as Focus on Family). The other is a page from a movie/TV quote website.
Why is this important?
We seem to have completely forgotten how to focus on our identity, and have developed our image to our identity’s detriment.
We’re teaching our children that image is far more important than identity. I mean, look at the simple abundance of selfies everywhere. People are so focused on taking photos of themselves, that they are pretty much missing out on everything else out in the world.
Self-absorption, narcissism and a focus on “how it looks to other people” have always been aspects of childhood and adolescent development. And there’s always been people who never grew out of those phases in their adult life.
In our search to find more constructive ways to discipline our children, and to teach them to do what’s right, we have somehow thrown away the baby with the bathwater. We’ve seemed to have stopped teaching the skills of politeness, courtesy and compassion to our children. In our desperation to encourage the individualism and identity of our children, we have instead taught them how to “look good” rather than “be good.”
But, everywhere there are examples of people who did learn those things, and who are often held up as role models for how to live a good life. There are inspirational quotes papering the Internet as memes, making people look good as they post them. But unless someone actually LIVES these memes, they will never really understand them.
We’re distracted by the lives of celebrities, of so-called normal people who have populated our ‘reality’ shows, of people that it seems to be acceptable to hate and vilify. And while we all focus on image, the people in power with scores of people covering their ass with spin doctoring and PR are being stage magicians telling us to “look over here” while they destroy our society from within.
My Mental Support playlist on YouTube has two separate songs that talk about this. First, Fake It by Seether:
The other one is The Vengeful One by Disturbed:
The sad thing is, this is exactly what the abusers and users of the world want. They don’t want you to talk about what they did/do to you. They want to isolate you from the world so only their projected image of you will be what faces the outside world. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.
And it’s not just politicians, corporations, rich people or whomever is the cause célèbre of the moment. It’s so-called normal people just as much.
It’s the person who claims to love you, but destroys your reputation to the rest of your social group. It’s the person who claims to love you forever, but attacks your every weakness when they feel bad. It’s the person who is flirting with you, not just to “get into your pants,” but also to get everything from you that they possibly can. It’s the friend who encourages you to share your deepest, darkest secrets, then turns around and emotionally blackmails you with them.
This is one of the reasons I’m living as transparently as possible. If you have no secrets, those secrets cannot be used against you – because you’ve already gone public with them. It doesn’t take all problems away, because there are still times when no matter how clearly I try to communicate, it isn’t understood. But, it takes away the ammunition that people who want to use you look for.
I still have vulnerabilities that I struggle with sharing. I still have trust issues. Those aren’t going to ever completely go away, because there is always another level of understanding that you must learn about your own issues. But, I’m moving forward.
And I’m focusing on my IDENTITY. Let other people make up their own damned images of me, I don’t care. As long as I am true to myself, that’s all I really need.