The mainstream message reminds us what’s not right in the world. It points out our failures. It accentuates our lesser moments. (Perhaps you’ve seen The Bachelor?)
It can even shape our thinking by turning our focus to all that we seem to lack, particularly as individuals. For example, there’s an entire industry around weight loss. Which is great. Except when it reinforces stereotypes and vanity. (You also need to have straight teeth.)
Even in the pursuit of something good we can allow ourselves to become distracted. Often these distractions are around the parts of ourselves that we wish were different because somehow we decided we would be better some other way. We are incredibly critical of ourselves and rarely satisfied. And there are plenty of reinforcing elements in our lives, forces that don’t want you to feel complete. Because then you wouldn’t need them. This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s a business. And people who are very good at earning your attention are able to open you up to being influenced. It’s as simple as telling a story. Many use these powers for good ends. But some play on insecurities and unmet longings to sell you things. Something to remember as you absorb the daily barrage of media that is aimed at your noodle.
Maybe there’s a business in making people feel awesome just the way that they are?