Performative wellness and performative success occur when someone becomes more concerned with presenting an idealised version of themselves rather than being honest about who they really are.
The concept of wellness, living well and achieving success has, in someways, become a fashion that was started by books like “The Secrete”. We only have to look at social media to see people that we know who are not having a good time presenting themselves and their lives like everything is wonderful.
Are you being the real you or a performative you?
The perceived benefits of a wellness, success or a business routine can leave people being embarrassed to simply be themselves. As in, it is not who you are but how you look that counts. It seems that being who we are is no longer good enough. The Botox, fillers and cosmetic surgery are a testament to that. If we get to the point where we no longer look like who we really are or act like who we really are how do we even know who we are? If the way we present ourself or our clothes or our house in the way that we believe other people will value us, do they ever know who are we really?
Over lock down I have been really surprised at how many people, when using Zoom etc, use filters to improve their complexion rather than just being who they are. People tell me that it is the problem of continually looking at their own face on a screen that makes them feel as though they are not good enough. In everyday face to face conversations we are focussed on the other persons face not on our own.
I have also be surprised at how many people now use video back grounds to make their home setting look better than it is. They tell me the same thing that after looking at their old furniture or worn out kitchen they want to present a better looking home when on video. So with the filters and the backgrounds people are not really being themselves. It come as a real shock when we finally meet people face to face. In Psycho-speak these performative issues often come down to what is described as ‘performance anxiety’. This is often simply concerned with the fear of ‘am I good enough?’
Social media has a lot to answer for in this regard. It can take a toll on anyone’s resolve. Many people have used social media for support and connection. Over the pandemic people’s reliance of social media has increased. Sadly at the same time so have levels of anxiety as people try to look and act like everything is wonderful and okay.
Perhaps, for many, this would be a good time to take a break from social media.
I was thinking a lot about how we compare ourselves to others. As a people watcher I am fascinated by people’s need to mimic and copy others behaviours. Even as a yoga teacher I have watched many students doing their postures with one eye on the person next to them to check if they were doing it as well as them or if they could stretch further. I have even had to say to some classes that yoga is not a competition, there are no winners, this is about you, your body, mind and soul.
As you get dressed in the morning, do your make up or your hair ask yourself ‘who am I doing this for?’ Is this you being you or are you doing it to effect they way that people see you? Everything in life can be a performance from walking and dancing to making love, to ordering and eating a meal to the way that we drink our wine.
When you stop performing you start being.
In mindfulness we learn the ‘be’ in the moment and to ‘be’ in the moment with ourself.
Be here now, be you and be happy.