The cover of a book is important, but a cover isn’t the whole book & covers don’t tell the whole story. Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover. Don’t Judge Others!
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Newspaper bulletins, social media marketing and high-gloss magazines, bombard us every day with photoshopped images of ‘what it is’ to have the perfect figure and present ourselves in the most ‘appropriate’ ways.
Marketers operate from one foundational logic: that if a particular ‘look’ is perceived as being the norm, then followers of fashion will spend their ‘hard-earned’ money on presenting themselves in a way that will be deemed as ‘normal’ by others.
Selfie’s flood the social platforms, where people desperately do their best to prove to peers that they’ve ‘got the latest look’ and that they’re worthy of social inclusion. Add in some peer pressure with a few ill-considered remarks from friends or family, and voila … people become entirely insecure in their physical appearance.
What’s ‘cool’ one month, is uncool the next, and for those who can’t keep up, social exclusion and isolation is unfortunately looming.
A wise man once said, that, “Cool’s only cool until cool becomes cool. Because once cool’s become cool, cool’s not cool anymore!”
Many people face an overwhelming intensity of social pressure that some of us would struggle even to imagine. As the social media’s become increasing more popular, many people sacrifice their real relationships, for their virtual relationships.
A few days ago I was out for dinner with my wife Karen, where sitting opposite us, were a group of young women, aged between 18 – 25 (ish) who all looked completely bored in each other’s company. One girl was picking her nose, and the rest were fully engaged in their social media networks.
At one point, the group stopped being miserable, to touch up their lipstick, and get together for a group selfie, donning false smiles, puckered up lips and two finger victory signs.
Within moments of the selfie being taken, all members of the group proceeded to transfix their focus, back on their iPhone’s to impress their virtual friends with how much ‘fun’ they all were having. It’s easy to understand the current epidemic of social isolation and loneliness.
I hope they all got the retweets and likes that they wanted!
2016 see’s a digital era where selfies are enhanced and perfected by the latest ‘App’ before being shared with a 24/7 virtual audience. I guess that Facebook Like’s today, are the same as what social inclusion once was ‘back when’.
As I walk through the High Street where I live, I see countless young guys, all wearing the same or similar t-shirts, they all have defined biceps, and seldom would you ever see a hair out of place on their heads.
Obsession with ‘the perfect body’ plagues both men and women across the globe and throughout the nations. This cultural preoccupation with physical appearance isn’t a new thing, but thanks to the ongoing advances in science and technology, this problem has become increasingly more pervasive!
Culture promotes a standard of beauty that is unrealistic, degradingly unachievable and harmful to the self-esteem that stems from the way in which people view themselves. The reason why this social norm is so destructive is that people become the objects of other people’s viewing pleasure, rather than human beings who can be meaningfully interacted with.
The obsessive focus that culture places on self-image seems to result in an entirely self-consumed need (and want) for picture perfection.
Admitantly yes, I’m partial to the occasional tweet or Facebook update, but despite the hours of entertainment that technology can bring, it also magnifies the social pressures that people feel to ‘get it right’. The many social media’s facilitate 24/7 peer-to-peer comparison, where the photos that many people take are shared in their desperate pursuit of social acceptance and social validation.
Many people believe that others will find little interest in them unless they become ‘picture perfect’, however, if we were to dismiss the preferences of other people as irrelevant, and consider how we ‘ourselves’ choose those that we commit to relationally, the rules of the game usually change quite significantly.
Unless you’re 12 years old, most people don’t choose their friends according to physical appearance, or the quality of selfies their friends produce. Because fundamentally, we know that all healthy relationships are build over time, and based on a foundation of trust. It’s maturity, consistency, attitude and shared values that cement the basis of all meaningful relationships.
A wise man once said that “It’s impossible to judge a book by its cover accurately.” And I guess that in ‘an ironic kind of way’ each of us resembles a book because we all have a cover that we present to other people, but most often, none of us want to be known by this cover!
Regardless of whether a book’s cover is attractive or otherwise, if the contents are boring, superficial, pre-occupied with self, arrogantly opinionated, the reader will soon put it down and move onto another.
If the book is interesting, though, if it’s insightful, exciting, a pleasure to read and also engaging, people will see it through to completion and keep hold of it for many years to come – regardless of the condition of its cover.
Would someone still need the approval and acceptance of others, once they have fully taken ownership of themselves?
Over the years, I have grown to recognise a trend that those who commit more time developing themselves, and adding more value to others, have a far lesser need for an ever-increasing number of social media ‘likes’ or ‘shares’.
The cover of a book will always have it’s importance, but the cover isn’t the whole book, and covers don’t tell the whole story. Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover!
To accompany this short article, I’ve created a downloadable PDF version mini-workbook that can be used to help you assess yourself, from the outside-in and then the inside-out.
Regarding how other people might currently see you, you will be able to identify the changes that you can start making today that’ll give people less chance to judge you unfairly, and make false assumptions about who you are based on however it is that you present yourself.
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Also, you might find my other Free resources helpful? Why not have a look…