The Illusion of the Highlight Reel

I originally wrote this content back in May of 2018. Reading it again now I’m struck by just how relevant it remains.

In so many recent conversations the subject of invisible wounds has surfaced time and time again. Whether it’s navigating beyond (or through) trauma, grief, loss, divorce, the details are almost not relevant when it comes to connecting with one another.

From my writing last year:

Ever found yourself comparing and perhaps even brutally judging yourself based on the highlight reel of someone else? Me too.

And we’re not alone, this comes up all the time! Focusing on the highlights and polish, the very best of other people’s experiences, while denying the mess that lies beneath the surface is a slippery slope. It’s also a direct pathway to feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness and all around crap.

The thing is, highlight reels and polish are only and always superficial. They float upon and skim rather than scratch the surface and they don’t EVER reach the depths of our human experiences. Human experiences that always involve messiness: Everyone has a mess. Everyone. The only difference in whether or not you see it is based on whether you’ve earned the right to witness it.

Holding ourselves to a standard of highlight reel perfection is a recipe for dissatisfaction and disconnection.

What’s the antidote? Connection. Real, true, authentic, vulnerable and messy human experience connection that’s forged and strengthened over time and founded in trust.

Not everyone will earn the right to witness your mess and you won’t earn the right to witness everyone else’s. That doesn’t change the fact that the mess exists.

Developing genuine connection with others brings an invitation to go beyond the highlight reels that we all have. To go deeper than the superficial and see one another more fully. Highlight reels may look amazing but they don’t ever carry our full and truest stories. The stories that always include challenges, hang ups and insecurities, fears doubts and “failures”, the fullness of our human experiences.

Clinging to highlight reels may feel safer but it shuts off the opportunity to more fully connect with one another.

My absolute favorite and most trusted people are the ones with whom there’s deep mutually earned and respected access to the messes that lie beneath the highlight reel. Those are the connections that feel most true, safe, uplifting and inspiring.

Highlight reels foster disconnection and comparison. Drop the assumption that the highlight reel is the entire story, because it never is.

I’m not suggesting verbally vomiting all of your internal struggles, challenges and every hang up you’ve ever experienced at an initial one on one with someone. You can’t force a connection and there IS such a thing as over sharing.

There is such freedom in letting go of the highlight reel with our trusted connections. In being seen not as flawed or inadequate but as humans navigating life experience that includes messiness. The next time you’re scrolling or assuming that the highlight reel is the entire story, remember that it’s not. There is always far more beneath the surface than a highlight reel will ever convey.

Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “The Illusion of the Highlight Reel”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, connection and creative expression

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