I recently discovered that someone had taken a piece of my writing, tweaked it a bit and reposted it, passing it off as their own genius.
At first, I was irked. The more irked I became, the more I began to dive into why it was irking me so much. The more I dived in, the more I started to untangle my initial reactions.
Perfection is a silent killer.
I began thinking about why someone would plagiarize. Sure, I’ve been there when I’ve struggled to write an essay about something I had absolutely no interest in. I’d tell myself after hours of scouring online for words I could pass off as my own, “Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s use that.” However, that was back when I was still a college student, trying to make passing grades so I could graduate.
How does it apply to our lives now, in the social media age? We live in a world where we no longer have anonymity, are craving true connections, but instead, are left stranded with estranged, delusioned online lives where a “like” on someone’s Facebook post or a comment means that they are our “friend”. Our ego inflates with the number of “likes” we accrue, and we are engaged with this obsession of displaying our lives in a way that makes it, on the outside, look perfect and ideal.
How did we get here?
We now have the ability to present ourselves in a way we’ve always wanted. Not particularly in real-time per se, but real time enough where we can post snippets of our lives as it’s happening, moments that seem exciting, photos of ourselves that always look good, and can delete any and all things that we dislike or decide not to share for whatever reason. We live in a constant world of editing. We can edit ourselves to be more “attractive” online, we can share parts of our lives that seem the most fun, the most exciting, the most beautiful, and others end up with this really biased view of our selectively publicized life.
We essentially, can create “perfection”.
We want to present ourselves as perfect, pristine, with photos that are touched up, and words that aren’t quite truly our own. If we aren’t careful, we can blindside ourselves into believing that this alter ego, edited and touched up is who we are. Sadly, this only moves us further away from our essence, our core, our Spirit. The work is to live honestly, authentically, and unfortunately, trying to be perfect all the time only reinforces the fact that deep down inside, we believe that WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.
And I’m guessing that this is what this individual felt. I wrote something that touched her. It quite possibly resonated, and while my first response is feeling irked, my second response is a heck yeah. You go girl. If I can write something that touches you deeply, and resonates with you deeply, and if I gave you words to express something that you otherwise wouldn’t have expressed, then it makes me happy…that my words have power. And it is transcending, and far-reaching, AND making a difference. I’ll take it as a form of flattery. However, this little “irk”, which is so unimportant at the end of the day, led me to really mull around this idea of “perfection” a little bit more and examine our need to make our lives look perfect in this secondary world.
What I see is that this notion of perfection is silently killing our true spirit and authenticity. Our online world only encourages it.
Wanting, seeking, constant perfection makes us do all sorts of crazy things.
How about we lose this need for perfection and reconnect with the need to be authentic and the desire to share our truest, most beautiful self?