I love Tivo or DVRs because you can skip all the commercials. Online shows, even though we can see them in their entirety, have commercials before them that we have to download and listen to before the show. Even that small amount of commercial time can affect us. Why? Because commercials are designed to make us feel like we lack something; something that we need or have to be in order to feel okay. They strive to make us feel inadequate. And they do a darn good job about it.
Essentially commercials stir up feelings of inadequacy by suggesting that we would be happier, healthier, and more loved if we buy their product. We see visions of immaculate skin with no wrinkles, ripped abs, and toned arms. Glistening new cars spin toward us on water-slicked roadways and lure us to believe we would be cooler if we drove them. Even cereal products promise more family harmony because they bring love in the morning. Really? Who are they kidding?
The temptation, caused by comparison, is to overcome our lesser position by "buying into" the cool set. It's like being in high school for the rest of our lives. Just trying to get to the table with the cool kids. And so with the right clothes, car, look, and computer, I can be one of the cool kids. It won't happen because comparisons are odious.
I will never look like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. I won't have the "cool" of George Clooney (I also probably won't have his money). At the end of the day, I will just be me and the sooner I accept that, the better off my life will be. Yet TV and magazines will pummel me with images of what I could be if I buy, drive, or wear something different. Somehow we've got to stop the madness.
In reality we are who and what we are. Trying to better ourselves through education or fitness enhances our total well-being, but trying to buy into having a cool life will only end in frustration. The sooner we can look into the mirror and love who we are (even though we might still push ourselves) the sooner we will have a sense of peace instead of a sense of inadequacy.
Ask yourself honestly. When you look in the mirror, or look at your life do you have a desire to be something or someone else? If so, is it really an inner drive to enhance your life, or a brainwashing that you have to be like someone else? If it is an inner drive to enhance your life, then pursue it. But if you realize that it is just Madison Avenue talking and making you feel inadequate take another look. You are wonderful, we are all wonderful as we are. Some of us have a desire to improve and that is fine. But even on the journey we are all still wonderful, valuable, good, cool, people. We just have to stop comparing and start accepting.