It was a Monday night. I sat on my bed with some cookies nearby and my phone in hand, ready to watch and tweet about my favorite reality shows. I was about 10 minutes into the first show of the evening when I suddenly felt annoyed and angered by what I was seeing. However, it was nothing from the norm: cursing, arguing, fighting, basically people treating each other like trash. It was the same stuff over and over.
But on this particular night something was indeed different. I used to be able to watch a bunch of different reality shows and see them for what they were, entertainment. But in the weeks leading up to this night, I had been coming down on myself for the fact that my life was not where I imagined it would be at my current age. This thought crept into my mind as I was watching the show, and that’s when I realized that these shows that I have been addicted to for years, had slowly been taking a toll on the way I viewed myself and my life.
After you push all the drama to the side, who doesn’t want to have the latest fashions, beautifully maintained hair, a beat face, and events to organize or attend? As someone who already deals with issues of comparison, I never realized how watching reality shows played into those issues. Subconsciously, I would watch these shows and want these lifestyles for myself. However, in turn I would end up unhappy and sad, and left feeling like my life was nothing because I didn’t have what the women on these reality shows had. In addition, aside from the drama and dumb choices these reality stars would make, their lives seemed so easy and carefree. Meanwhile, mine was full of hard work and dream chasing that seemed farfetched or unobtainable.
After changing the TV channel that night I realized what was different, I was. My life is not what I see on TV, nor is my path the same. And that’s when I made the decision to stop watching many reality shows. Even if they did not noticeably change my attitude, they were for sure changing my outlook and often times were desensitizing me–ultimately making me unhappy without me even understanding why. But in reality these people “put on” for their segment of time, and we the viewers are left wondering how we can maintain the reality star’s 15 minute portrayal of life as our 24/7 lifestyle. But it’s unachievable because it’s not real.
What we consume on a daily basis has the ability to change and shape us (for good or bad) without us even being aware of it. Constantly consuming images of fake or exaggerated lifestyles, along with staged relationships, positions, etc. was something I had to remove from my mind. And in doing so I have become more appreciative, and loving of my lifestyle and the choices I have made. I am no longer worried about living up to the world’s expectations of how I should look or act, based on what the norm is on TV. I can no longer keep up with nonexistent competition.
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