The Dangers of Personal Branding

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while, according to my Facebook feed it’s been a few years, but this is something that has been crossing my mind a lot lately so thought it was time to write on it.

It’s finally got a name:  “personal branding”.  What the heck is that?  Well, let me explain.  It didn’t have a name until last week at church, we had a message on how women always feel like they should be someone else, are always comparing themselves to other and how social media has made this worse.  The speaker, who is a woman, called it “personal branding”.  I like it so I’m going to use it so thank you Sarah Allen for the term!

She’s right.  How often do you go to Pinterest, find a recipe or craft to do and it comes out as the “Pinterest fail”.  All of us who are on Pinterest have probably done this a time or two…or you just say “it’s my version of it, I added my personal touch”.  Haha!  But seriously, we are looking at those moms who work a full time job, are on the PTA board, soccer mom, cook a full dinner, kids have homework done and are soundly sleeping by 9…and throw a Minecraft themed party the next day for their kiddo.  I don’t even have kids and that wears me out.  You wonder “how do they do that?”

I really think social media has so much to do with how our society feeds into things.  We have to look our best (never know when a selfie moment might arise!), get skinnier, cook healthier (and show each meal), keep up on the news and so much more.  We have to be perfect.  And don’t forget that when things are AMAZING, we have to show everyone.  Ok, even when things aren’t amazing, we HAVE to pretend they are because who wants to show the world (or your 1000 friends) that things suck.  You can’t.  Because then you are one of the sad saps on Facebook.

So what happens is that people can’t express their true feelings because it’s not the perfect world that your friends live in as they post “my wife is the most awesome person alive, I LOVE YOU!” and “My job is the best ever, I don’t know how everyone doesn’t work here” kind of things.  You know, in reality, that their lives aren’t perfect (none of ours are) and, probably, because they feel the need to post these things, their lives aren’t as honky dorey as they make it out to be.  Otherwise you would hear it more than you do.  BTW, almost anytime it’s not an anniversary or special date in a couple’s life and I see the “you’re the best hubby/wife in the world posts” I kinda wonder…it’s like flowers for no reason, I get suspicious.  But that’s me seeing too many couples do that kinda thing in those instances, but I digress…

Anyway, Sarah was saying that because of the Facebook “highlight reel” and people starting to hate their real lives because of the seemingly perfect Facebook life, instances of depression and anxiety have risen.  If you can’t have the perfect life like everyone else, you pull back from your friends, sit in your house, look at Facebook and continue to pull back…it’s a horrible circle.  And it’s so sad that something that should join us in seeing what an old high school friend is up to or me being able to see my niece and nephew and them grow up should have such a negative impact on each other.

So I guess what I’m saying is that if life isn’t perfect, don’t pretend it is.  Don’t go around saying that your life sucks but at the same time don’t pretend that life is peach when it isn’t.  Maybe it’s ok to say “hey guys, life sucks right now and I don’t want to give details but if you could send up a prayer or good thought for me, that would rock”.  Sometimes showing your vulnerable side might help someone who is struggling.  Make your personal brand a true one.

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