Thursday, May 16, 2013

Remove Toxicity From Your Life

We as humans are imperfect.  Yet, in American society, we are constantly bombarded with images of what is perceived as "perfection".  I contend that this is leading to a level of toxicity in our lives.  An obvious example of this is reality TV.  Who in their right mind thinks that "The Bachelor/The Bachelorette" is a healthy way to date?  Yet, it is promoted as entertainment.

I can hear some of you thinking, "Yeah, but we know it is only a TV show."  Unfortunately, the current generation growing up with this type of "entertainment" are assimilating this into their psyche.  There is a reason it is called TV programming.  The adage "You are what you eat" applies to what you also consume with your senses.

Keep in mind that Americans are "connected" to media more thoroughly than at any point in history.  TV, the Internet, smartphones, tablets, billboard advertising, snail mail, etc.  The list goes on and on.  We simply cannot escape the influence, but we can limit it (more on that later).

So, what does the above have to do with the title of this post?  I contend that we as American consumers are being bombarded through media with messages, images, etc. that are limiting our potential.  In essence, we are being poisoned.  How so?  Read on.

If a standard of "perfection" or "normalcy" is set at a level that, in reality, is so far off the mark that it is not feasible or simply not true, then our expectations will never be met.  If our expectations are not met, then we become bitter, resentful and frustrated.  In essence, if we never achieve the standard of "normalcy" that we perceive as attainable, then we stagnate or give up on our true potential.

Let me illustrate this with an example.  1/3 of Americans are classified as obese.  Let us put aside the diet aspect of this demographic.  Images on reality TV shows, commercials, and entertainment always show lean, fit, beautiful people.  Obese people perceive these people and their lifestyles as the standard of "perfection".  Partying, unhealthy eating, drinking and behavior are, on the whole, glorified.  Is it any wonder that when an obese person tries to lose the weight that they generally fail?  They have been led to believe that they can slim down and still maintain the lifestyle they see depicted in media.  When they cannot shed the weight, or when they do and then balloon back up, then they quit.  No where in the media do you see that it takes disciplined exercise and eating to lose the weight.  "The Biggest Loser" is the only one that comes close.  Unfortunately, it falls short because, again, people cannot truly perceive the effort that goes into losing the weight.  They do not see all of the behind the scenes effort and support that the contestants get in production of that show.

This may be an imperfect example, but hopefully you understand what I am driving at.  Do not let the media dictate to you what is "normal".  Do your own research.  In other words, find out what is real.  A healthy dose of true reality is what is needed to counter the toxins in your life.

Here is a short list of what I consider toxins in today's media/culture:

  • Depictions of sexual promiscuity as normal
  • Depictions of hard partying without any consequences
  • Social Media as a substitute to real spoken dialogue between two human beings
  • Polling of any sort (most polls are biased)
  • Interjection of opinions, biases, etc. in news reporting and passed off as "just the facts"
  • And many other items that are not based in true reality or true facts with the appropriate context that they were originally presented in.

An even better solution is to avoid those media sources that are toxic.  For instance, try to not watch TV for an entire week.  You can read the news on the Internet if you want to stay abreast of what is going on in the world.  However, keep in mind that even the news is toxic to a degree.  CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc. all have a bias.  You might find yourself with extra time on your hands.  Use it to improve your reality.  Take a walk.  Learn a new skill.  Volunteer to help others.

To summarize:

  • Media is poisoning are expectations and reality of the world, culture, and ourselves.
  • To counter the toxins introduced by the media, seek out the truth on all subject matter, not relying on the media to spoon feed it to you.
  • Make an effort to avoid the toxins by replacing them with healthy activities such as physical exercise, quality family time, spiritual pursuits and self improvement.
Until next time...

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