Lately, I’ve been kinda pissed off at the media.
In a world where it’s getting harder and harder to make enough money to live and do the things that make us feel good (a.k.a keep us from getting super anxious!), we are also being bombarded with things in the media that make us feel even worse!
So in this blog post, I thought I’d share with you 7 of the biggest (and most dangerous) misconceptions the media is telling us. And remember – the most important thing to know when it comes to media consumption is that we all need to take responsibility for and be super mindful of what we let into our mental space (and our phones!).
1. That you need to go to school, get a job, go into debt to buy a house, and then retire when you’re too old to enjoy it
This is something I have talked about probably a million and one times before – because it is SO TRUE. We are being told that every human on planet earth should follow the same linear trajectory in life. How crazy is that? We are all completely different, and we all have our own stories to write.
So if you don’t land that perfect job right after graduating, don’t worry – pretty much none of us do. In all honesty, it’s a bit of a fantasy. And even if some people do land the job of their dreams right away, so what? Their life path has nothing to do with yours. We need to stop pretending we still live in a 1950’s sitcom. Life is so much more complex than that – we are so much more complex than that. And that’s what makes life so beautiful!
2. That you need to find the “perfect” partner (and basically everything else they teach you about romance in the movies and TV)
This is so not true. Cinderella is a fantasy, just like Bridget Jones’s Diary is a fantasy. Why? Because they don’t reflect how love really is. Love is…
Actually, there’s no one way to describe love! This is because it’s different for each and every one of us. Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s painful. Love can be anything. Those warm and fuzzy romantic dreams that Hollywood feeds us is nothing but a facade. Don’t forget – movies only last for 2 hours. How on earth can a 2 hour acted drama be a reflection of real life? Real life is a whole lot messier and a whole lot longer than that.
And on top of all that, the “perfect” partner doesn’t even exist. That’s right, there’s no such thing as Prince Charming. Nobody is perfect. We all have our faults, and if you expect your significant other to be some sort of God on earth, you’re going to be very disappointed (note: this shouldn’t be upsetting – it should be encouraging!)
3. That everything in life is easy and do-able
It’s a common misconception that people reach their goals in life really fast. What you don’t see, however, is all the crazy hard work that people put into it behind the scenes (and how long it took them to get there!).
I watched one show recently that showed kids in high school developing apps in their spare time and making tons of money off of them. The show made it look so simple. Like, these kids just started developing apps on a Tuesday afternoon and it took off.
And we can’t forget the millions of influencers on our social feeds who appear to have these sparkly, perfect lives and make everything in their daily life look dazzling
The truth is, though, you’re not actually seeing all the gruelling hours of work that’s been put in behind the scenes. And on top of that, most of the stuff we do see is seriously edited anyway.
Related Article: How to create a great goal setting worksheet
4. That you need to have a “perfect” body and that most people have perfect bodies because you see it everywhere
I was watching ‘Friends’ recently and I couldn’t get over how good the actresses’ bodies were. They just looked so “perfect”. And as I was watching, I noticed that I began to suddenlty feel insecure about my body!
But then I thought about it for a minute – these are professional actors who basically get paid to look good. Their job is to stay in impeccable shape. Comparing myself to this way of celebrity living is just ridiculous. I don’t want to spend most of my day working on my weight and my body – that’s just not realistic for my way of life, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of you, as well.
5. That mental illness is “cool”
This one is a bit of a touchy subject because if you do have a mental illness, it’s nice to make light of it sometimes because then it doesn’t feel so bad.
But there’s a flipside to this, as well. There are so many people in the media who claim that they have OCD or that they’re depressed – but they only say it to give them a “quirky” or “cool” vibe.
Again, we can look at the show ‘Freinds’. Monica basically has OCD. In the show, her OCD (although it’s really not OCD) is portrayed as something that makes her fun and silly. In reality though, OCD is a serious mental health issue, and I guarentee you that people who truly have OCD do not feel like it’s just a quirky, fun character trait. I can say from experience that it’s actually a very tormenting thing that makes you feel awful.
6. That everyone knows exactly what to say all the time
For a lot of people who struggle with social anxiety (or just may not be very socially-adept), it can be intimidating watching all those people in the media who always seem to have the perfect thing to say all the time. It could be people on TV, in the movies, even on YouTube and Instagram – everyone’s conversation and dialogue just seems to flow so smoothly!
But we need to remember that none of this is actually natural. People on TV and in the movies have scripts, and people on social media are just posting their highlights. Real life, on the other hand, doesn’t have the luxury of being rehearsed and edited.
So don’t compare yourself to people you see in the media – it’s a totally unrealistic standard. And I’m willing to bet that if you met a lot of these people in real-life, they probably won’t come across as such smooth-talkers!
7. That buying product ‘x’ will make you happy
I didn’t really realize this until I started an online business myself, but honestly everyone is trying to sell you something. What does this mean? It means that when they make recommendations or when they make certain posts about products, they don’t always have your best interest in mind, and they could be lying or stretching the truth.
Even things that seem super trust-worthy like university and the pharmaceutical industry are just businesses trying to sell to you! So if you think you have all the information, remember: what you see isn’t always what you get. That new, sparkly product that your favourite YouTuber is plugging may not be the Holy Grail to everlasting happiness…it may just be the key to some extra cash in their pocket!
Moral of the story: most things are an illusion and they can seriously warp our perspective of reality to the point that we start to think we’re inadequate
The media is made up primarily of things that are 1) meant to entertain you, and 2) make you feel inadequate. This is for one reason only: so that people can make money off of you.
So be careful and be conscientious when choosing what media you watch. There are of course some good people out there (I hope I’m one of them!) who are trying to do things to genuinely help other people. I myself do sell some products but I also offer a lot of free information and basically I only sell products so that I can make this website and make a living off of it (and provide more free information down the road!).
And there are a lot of other content creators doing just the same, but there are bad seeds out there who ruin it for everyone. And it’s the bad seeds that have the ability to warp our minds and leave us feeling inadequate and unhappy. So when it comes to the media, remember: be picky, and take everything with a grain of salt!