You are in your car at a stoplight. You have your foot on the brake. The car beside you rolls back a few feet and for a split second you think you are rolling forward and put your foot to the brake even harder. What you have just experienced is relativism. You reacted to the other car’s movement. Unfortunately, this is how so many of us live our lives.
The digital age has redefined communication in the 21st century. So much of how we think and react is based upon messages inundating us from third parties. We find ourselves feeling better or worse based upon how others have managed to communicate what their lives are. Leaving aside the probability that the presentation by others as to the status of their lives is based in fictional marketing, and their lives are anything but as they have presented, we find ourselves instinctively pressing harder on the brake to adjust where we perceive our lives should be. Relativism is nasty business and only leaves you feeling less of person every time.
To move your life from the position of passive voyeurism to allow your behaviour to be impacted solely by what others have determined is the benchmark, is wrong. There will always be someone with smarter kids, a bigger home, better vacations, flashier cars and nicer clothing. It is how we respond to these messages that is so important. Are you a casual observer or is what you see impacting and directing who you are?
Human nature subliminally requires us to find affirmation in the choices that we make based upon other’s acceptance and following lock step. Do not be deceived. How others choose to govern themselves should never set the standard as to who you are and how you live. Digital media has moved hard from its basis in entertainment, personal and familial communication, and the providing of news to be a tool for marketing. The number of likes, views, followers or retweets should never be considered an endorsement of the content. To allow it to be so is the beginning of living your life in relativism.
Make a conscious effort when viewing digital media to ask the single most important question: Is this post, this image, this tweet, this blog impacting who I am and how I feel about myself? If the answer is yes, you may need to readjust who your audience is. Perform for an audience of one, and others will come see the show. If they don’t you’ve still hit your target audience.