We are being bombarded daily by advertising that tells us how we should live, what we should wear, what kind of house we should get, what school we must attend, what lifestyle we ought to have, what doctor we should see, what cell phone/television/vehicle/makeup/etc. we should buy and so on.
We become so used to this that we may automatically start craving those things we keep seeing and hearing about. That’s the whole point of advertising–to make you want and to make you buy.
I remember my teen years, when I believed with all my heart and soul that a certain brand of mascara would make all my dreams come true. The same with hair products, clothing, shoes, toothpaste; you name it, if it was on TV, I believed it. I was convinced (make that brainwashed) that having and using all these things would make me popular, successful and smart. Fortunately, I had parents to set me straight on that score. “Be who you are!” they would say.
The plain fact is that advertising exists to sell us stuff, and that is its sole and complete purpose. The most popular skincare product, the most expensive makeup, the $600 stilettos, the fabulous designer dress, the current ‘must-have’ car–none of it will make or break our essential “us-ness.”
The fact is that we all come in various shapes, skin and eye colors, sizes, mannerisms, backgrounds and so on–we are not meant to be all the same. It is a privilege to be unique, and this is the kind of ‘brand’ we ought to be selling. Be who you are, and don’t buy the lie.
I am an admirer of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many of his quotes really hit the mark, especially these:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
“It is not the length of life, but the depth.”
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
And my favorite: “Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.”