What is the Self if Not in the Body?
I often ask people to consider the Selves they have that live outside their bodies. The Facebook Self. The Instagram Self. The LinkedIn Self. The (gulp) Tinder Self.
How different is the LinkedIn Self from the Tinder Self? Or the Snapchat Self. Or the Self someone might see on a employee directory page at work that doesn't even have a name (besides "directory") but we all know what it looks like because it's a headshot and a short description of who we are and what we do?
All these selves are us, and we know them intimately, but individually they are not us at all.
You are more than your Facebook Self. Chances are, your Facebook Self is the best version of You that you can create through heavy and thoughtful curation over a number of years. You almost always look best in the Facebook pictures (no double chins, thank you very much). Your kids are always the happiest there too. Quirky sometimes, sure, but only in a ironic or socially acceptable (or even desirable) way. No tantrum pictures, unless the tantrum was humorous or your editorial about it was.
LinkedIn. All business. No fun. Next.
Instagram. Mostly fun. It's not a complete picture of you, but visually it gives a damn good impression and it often features what you see around you as well as what someone would see looking at you (well, the better angles of you).
Tinder. Hmmm, let's leave Tinder (and anything like it) alone for now. (We know, we know ...)
So who are You? Who or what is your SELF who lives outside your body? Is it happier than you? Thinner than you (because it's the sum total of all the "thin" pictures you chose to put in it)? Is it prettier than you? Does it have more fun than you because it's always the "fun you" that is collected and pools there making the Real You feel like you're not quite pulling off life as effortlessly as your Facebook version does?
Or maybe you have just gone all-in on being your Real Self in your online profiles. Good pictures, bad pictures; happy pictures, sad pictures: they're all there. It's the Real You because you just pour all of yourself into it, completely unvarnished. If that describes you, do you remember making the conscious decision to just be You outside your body and in these social spaces? I'll bet you did.
We'll return to this discussion someday soon but in the meantime, take a look around and examine your Selves and size them up. What do you see? Who are they? And finally, what do the Selves who are not in your body say about You?"