The Commercial Self


"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was feeling lazy the other day, and so I did something that is far out of character for me. I sat down to watch television. After a difficult search to find something that might be worth my while watching, I settled in to watch a movie.

The movie was so-so…thus, it was one of the best movies that I have seen in a very long time…but that isn’t what caught my attention…

I was fascinated by the advertisements. I was shocked and saddened as I watched commercial after commercial sending the same underlying message to those unfortunate enough to be exposed to them. Each ad was for a product that would make you better in some way, or more popular…many were telling the viewer that if they used the product, they would be more beautiful…they would have stronger, fuller hair…or they would be able to lose a quarter of your body weight in only 13 minutes of exercise a day…three days a week.

Each of these ads said the same thing…you need to be fixed…and we can do it. The ads served to lower the self-esteem of the viewer and then present a solution to low self-esteem. I really couldn’t believe that each commercial had exactly the same underlying method.

But what made me really sad is that these ads must work. Why else would there be so many of the same type? That means that we either have a very easily manipulated society, or there is something really wrong with our societal system of norms.

When did our society become so obsessed with changing to “fit in?” When did we stop liking ourselves? When did our self-esteem dip so low that we just had to go out and buy a product that will give it back to us…when did we become so shallow about ourselves…never mind about others.

“Who cares?” I kept asking the television. “Who would need this product?” But alas, I never received an answer.

I guess I really don’t understand because I actually like myself…a lot. I love myself just the way I am. I am not here on this earth to please anyone else…I am who counts. So I guess I don’t need all of the products that will make me popular. I don’t need fixing. Sure, I want to improve myself, but I am fine just the way I am. If I never get any better, so be it. I certainly don’t need to be one of the “beautiful people” that these ads are trying to convince everyone is the “societal norm.” I am ordinary, and quite proud of it.

My challenge to you is to take a look at yourself and to start to believe that you are perfect as you are. You are exactly who you should be. There is no need to change just because somebody tells you that you do…you are not broken. Accept yourself as you are. Change in the ways that you want to change…not for some commercial ideal that is unnecessary to living the life you want.

I know that this may be a difficult thing for most to accept…after all, we have been bombarded with these messages for so long, it is hard not to believe them. Try. Accept yourself…like yourself…love yourself. When you start to do this, you will find yourself a much happier person.

Let me know what you think. I really want to know on this one. Leave a comment. Tell me how you see yourself…in what ways are you broken?




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