Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Honesty, Hogwash & Miracle Whip

Honesty keeps popping up when I think about Sane & Satisfied. And being honest matters most in the things you tell yourself and the things you think about yourself.

By nature, we tend to think poorly of ourselves. It's easy to believe in something negative about yourself and a lot more difficult to believe in something encouraging. Many people, mostly psychologists and self help gurus, will tell you to stop that negative thinking and repeat, "I am a wonderful person and people love me", while staring at yourself in the mirror.

What a bunch of nonsense drenched in hogwash.

They are forgetting two important things:
1. I don't know if anyone told you but we are flawed beings. Saying a human has a bad habit or a negative personality trait is like saying sunlight will burn you if you stand outside too long without sunscreen.
And 2. Stuffing our flaws in a mental closet and slapping a smile on our face doesn't make us better humans, only humans with repressed flaws.

Why are we so scared of ourselves?

We are taught by parents and teachers and bosses and marketing gurus and experts to hide our flaws. Even social media experts tell us to develop a "social media strategy" so every Tweet and post and status update is planned in perfect synchronization.

I saw a commercial for Miracle Whip the other day. They used a lo-fi technique to record people on the street give their opinion of Miracle Whip. Some people said they loved it but others said it tasted horrible and they prefer real Mayonnaise. This sort of marketing is unheard of. Not only did Miracle Whip point out its flaws but they even gave kudos to their competitor. Risky, ingenious and glaringly honest.

When a company tries so hard to hide its flaws it can miss a golden marketing innovation like Miracle Whip's commercial. The same applies to humans. WE try so hard to contain the perceived negative bits of ourselves that we smother the truth: We are flawed but in and among those flaws are beautiful bits of ourselves.

Your mother was right: Honesty is the best policy. If you want to improve yourself and your life the best thing you can do is be honest about whatever it is you think you need to change. And if you must stare at yourself in the mirror, start by saying, "I am not perfect and here's why..." Honesty just feels better.

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