We do a million and one different things to impress the ones around us. It’s easy to get caught up in putting our best foot forward, but doing so may cause us to lose our footing along the way. What we must remember is that the most important person we need to be real with, will always be ourselves.
One of the most well-known impressions in the animal kingdom is the peacock’s fanning of the tail to show off their vibrant feathers in the hopes of courting and attracting another peacock. When we look at this as humans, it’s seemingly superficial that the iconic peacock tail is not only a symbol of its beauty and identity, but the only way to attract a male in order to mate and breed.
Peacocks are the perfect example of how innate it is within all of us to want to put our best foot forward, even if what we are doing doesn’t serve any functionality or add any immediate value to our lives at all. We all want to be perceived as a flawless and wonderful person, illuminating the best parts about us and burying away the less desirable facets of who we are. The influences of social media has largely added to this notorious highlight reel and put an unhealthy emphasis of how we present ourselves online. We end up creating one or more versions of ourselves on a canvas or platform where we are able to illustrate, re-imagine and purposefully depict our online identity in order to gain acceptance on a global scale. This has enabled many of us to pick and choose the assorted colours and patterns we want on our tails, changing them as we please and fanning it out on display in the hopes of achieving some sort of fulfillment within us.
This behaviour of putting our best foot forward is a desirable trait and one that shapes character, wisdom and great respect when fuelled and influenced by genuine intentions. It becomes a dangerous and thin line when we become obsessive over perfecting this image of us that we end up questioning who we really are, or lose our identity altogether. This is why the younger youth are so fragile in their teenage years and are prone to making mistakes, because they go through phases of peeling back layers of their identity through shifting mindsets and changing perceptions between who they are and who they’d like to be. The disparity between the projections we cast of ourselves to those around us versus the shoes we genuinely fill behind closed doors becomes increasingly larger and larger if we don’t first and foremost feel comfortable in our own skin.
Shame does not start with the judgement of others around you. It is created in your own mind, born and bred by the thoughts you are feeding yourself and the uncertainty that surrounds your identity. Confidence is not about believing in who you are and what you do. Rather, it is about believing that there is authenticity through who you are, no matter who you are and what you do. There is only one person in this world who you need to prove this to, and that can only be yourself.
The projection you cast towards others should be a reflection of yourself, because the moment you start to change, warp and recreate this image for a better perception or reception, is when you lose sight of who you are and create a stranger out of yourself.