You did it. Now your children are doing it, too. Somehow, each new generation manages to surprise their elders with attitudes and behaviors that parents find shocking and offensive.
Today, young people publish their private thoughts, photos, and videos, in essence—their lives—online in blogs, media sites and social networking web sites like Facebook. Camera phones and handheld video make this process as easy as “point-and-click”. Older baby boomers caution young people on the dangers of being so open with their lives. They warn that certainly, future employers will “Google them” to discover their party photos and other, potentially embarrassing, postings.
The idea that a private life and a public life are distinct is a concept that baby boomers hold dear to them. And yet, Generation X and Y and the Millennials have always felt free to share their joys and miseries online for the world to see. While former Pres. Clinton might proclaim that he “didn’t inhale”, our future presidents will have already shared their youthful follies online and no one will be able to “out” them.
I believe that we are entering an age of “Authentic Living”. Our media already reflects this shift: movie DVDs are increasingly devoted to special features such as “behind the scenes” and “bloopers”, and popular TV shows are predominantly unscripted reality shows. We prefer the real over the scripted and the contrived. This shift, while so highly visible in the media, is also a reflection of a shift in our collective consciousness. Over time, the new reality of authentic living, a shift towards “getting real”, will become part of our entire society, not just our youth.
What part of your life is fake? Which thoughts, feelings and actions do you prefer to keep secret? When we carefully script our lives and show people our fake smiles and practiced lines (“I’m doing great!”), we live shallow, hollow pretend lives that lack integrity. We pretend in order to make others like and accept us.
My experience has been that my friends, family, and even strangers, react more positively to my authentic self. When I share my true feelings, people react in kind—they can feel that I’ve taken off my armor—that I’ve become vulnerable and that it’s safe to share. It’s in this space that relationships deepen, friendships develop, and true love blossoms.
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.