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Oh the pain.

Wicked Hamster (the dear!) sent me this cartoon. It touched a nerve. It nicely summarizes in one sentence a topic that’s been in my mind for some time, wanting to come out in prose. Thanks, WH, you are better than The Muses or at least The Furies. Spo

I think I was about ten when I began to smell a rat what was told to me was hogwash. Looking back on life, it isn’t the concrete things that bug me the most [1] but the subtle statements of society that burn my bacon best. You know the sort. They are along the lines of “Do [fill in the blank] and work hard and you will be successful and happy”. Then there are the big bogus bugbears, likeThe Universe has meaning, The American Way is best, and Justice prevails. At least these were mostly misinformation: thems who said so were sincere in their beliefs. [2] The spreaders of disinformation were and are the real stirges. [3]

I’ve learned to put a little distance between myself and what I encounter and I question everything, especially when the presenter is assuring me what they are saying is true. However, a lifetime of ads still tugs at that old idea ‘If I go along with this, I will be happy”. The internet makes it all worse for I am continually besieged by ads and photos of how I should be, look like, and what I should have.

Now, here’s the kicker: Everyone lies. Most of us don’t do this blatantly, or maliciously, but we do in small ways all the ding-dong day. This is sometimes to spare feelings but mostly to be more wanted. It is more accurate to say to avoid rejection. We care about other people’s opinions, often more than our own. We know that we are prone to exaggeration and posturing, but we seem to have a blind spot for the fact that everyone else is doing this too. Big-wigs and beautiful people online with their fabulous fun times on Facebook are putting up a front – or at least not revealing the whole picture, yet we compare our insides to their outsides. At least I do.

It helps ne to remember this. When I hear an ad, or I see Dicky Purdy posting on Facebook he’s off on yet another fun-filled excursion, or I see a well-built fellow on ‘Fearsome Beard’, I get an automatic tinge of envy and I don’t measure up. I recognize it right away and stop to remember I am seeing is a façade or at least not the whole picture. I feel a satisfaction I don’t have to ‘buy it’ to feel better. Happiness comes from the sense of contentment, which when you think about it, is the opposite of advertising. I was recently reminded these words by a mentor of mine:

Stop comparing yourself to these lies. Stop thinking about them at all.

Focus on your own truth.

[1] Example: “Drink your orange juice and eat your Frosted Flakes (Mother told me). You need the sugar to start the day right”.

[2] Or so hope. Woe to them who were not in earnest.

[3} Misinformation is data that is wrong but told by somebody who believes it to be true. Disinformation is a flat-out lie and the seller knows it. It is conveyed for dubious purposes. Examples: my great aunt believed boiling vegetables to extinction made them more nutritious (misinformation). The Tuskegee Study deliberately told falsities of the sake of data. It makes me mad to think on it.

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