im·age [ ímmij ]
- actual or mental picture: a picture or likeness of somebody or
something, produced either physically by a sculptor, painter, or photographer,
or formed in the mind
- likeness seen or produced: the likeness of somebody or something that
appears in a mirror, through a lens, or on the retina of the eye, or is produced
electronically on a screen
- somebody closely resembling somebody else: a person or thing bearing
a close likeness to somebody or something else
Image is everything, isn’t it? Or is it?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about my image, I think we would all be lying if we said that. I know that some people care more about images than others, yet I deeply believe, at some level, we all care about our image. If we didn’t we wouldn’t buy all these new things all the time … clothes, houses, cars, vacations, etc. Image … it’s been a topic of conversation with me and my friends lately.
Do you ever look at someone and think …. Their life is better than yours. Their marriage is stronger. Their house is bigger. Their clothes are cuter. Their hair is perfect. Their life, we’ll it is just perfect. I have thought these things before. I have compared parts of my life, well, lets be honest, all of my life, to others. Then for some reason, I stopped comparing. It was exhausting to compare. We’ll, again let’s be honest, I’ve tried to stop comparing. It is really, really hard to not compare yourself to others.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had some major ups and down in my life. I made myself vulnerable by sharing these ups and downs with some of my friends. What I learned in becoming vulnerable is that life is full of ups and downs for all of us. No matter how much we think we know someone, we probably don’t know everything. We don’t know what happens behind closed doors. We don’t know the thoughts going through her head as she takes a shower or his as he drives to work. All we know is what people choose to tell us, the image they portray. Beyond the images, here is a sampling of what I’ve learned about life:
- Many of us have dealt with alcohol problems, either personally or through a close friend/family member.
- We all have martial issues.
- Many of us have a deep secret we’re ashamed to admit.
- Chances are you have had or know someone who has had an abortion.
- You probably know someone who has been raped. Maybe you’ve been raped.
- Physical abuse is way more common than we want to believe.
- Everyone has money problems, at some level.
- Almost everyone wants more.
- We all want the best for our kids, we want to protect them from the same mistakes we’ve made – but we realize we can’t.
- Someone close to you has probably had or thought about having an affair.
- Everyone who is married thinks about a divorce at some point.
- After thinking about divorce, a lot of us realize life wouldn’t be that much different with someone else, just different problems with a different person.
- It’s pretty likely that you know someone who has or has had cancer. You might be the person with cancer.
- We all miss someone dear to us who has passed away.
- Even if we say we live with no regrets, you probably still have regrets.
- We’ve all wanted to share something with a friend but didnt’ because we were scared we’d be judged.
- We all have an image that we want people to believe about us.
- Women, well most women, feel awkward talking about their vagina’s.
- Most married people think other married couples are having more sex than them. (Reality, they aren’t.)
- Most of us have tried drugs (and even enjoyed them).
- You probably know someone who has been to jail. Maybe you’ve been to jail.
- We all have driven a car after drinking too much alcohol. Not all of us get caught though.
- You probably know someone who has had a DUI. You might have had a DUI, if not see the previous statement, you probably should have gotten a DUI.
Although, the best thing, I’ve learned is once we get past the image of wanting to impress or be perfect or better or whatever the image is we’re trying to maintain. Once we get past upholding an image, we can be real. Once we’re real, we can be vulnerable. Once we’re vulnerable, our friendships strengthen. With stronger friendships, comes stronger connections. With stronger connections, image doesn’t matter. Because once we get past images, we realize we’re all way more similar than we ever thought we were – the good and the bad of life. We all have our ups and downs, it’s the ups and downs that make life worth living.
Wishing us all the strength to get past image and courage to build real, authentic relationships.