Why Do We Want things to Look or Sound Better Than They Are?

Do you ever find yourself saying you ran more or exercised longer than you did? Weigh less than you do or taller than you are? Filter or air-brush pictures? Say you feel better than you do? Got more marks or earn higher than actual? And those innumerable selfies we take?!?!

Well, you can find solace in the fact that you are not alone. I can sheepishly admit to doing many of the abovementioned faux-pas myself.

The examples of such occurrences are endless. At some point or another, we all tend to make things look or sound better than they are. Sometimes knowingly, most times unknowingly. The question is, Why?

We all want to feel better about ourselves, our circumstances, characteristics, capacities and social stature. We all have different needs we want to fulfill. One such basic need is self-esteem.

When we don’t feel good about any of the traits mentioned above, we may end up building an alternate reality which make things look or sound better to ourselves without being entirely false. A facade or a charade. Sounds savage, I know. It is still true.

We may even project things to be worse than actual sometimes but for very different reasons. That may have to do with our insecurity. An attempt to gain affection, kindness and sympathy in a slightly inauthentic manner.

It will be of great help to start by recognizing and addressing our unmet needs.

I ask the topical question today more to myself than to you. For many years, when asked where I lived in the city, I would try to camouflage the fact that I lived in company provided accommodation. We do this because we fear judgement from others. The truth is we judge ourselves even before others can.

I discovered that somewhere inside, I was not proud of my choices. I was not ready to accept reality or take responsibility for my actions. I probably thought it may make me feel better if I airbrushed it! Let me tell you first hand, that feeling of goodness, is an illusion! In fact it feels hollow, pretentious and dishonest.

Being honest is a cherished aspect of one’s self-concept and outright deception can challenge the self-view!

Prof. Ka Tat Tsang, University of Toronto

In recent years, I noticed that things had started to change inside. The craving for genuinity and the need for authenticity in myself and others, became a priority for me. There was a monumental shift in the fault lines of my sense of self. My needs had changed.

How did that happen? What caused the change? The focus on the external became too painful to bear. To look inwards was the only way. It took a lot of determination and help from unexpected sources to become unwaveringly accepting and honest about my realities. No more was there any desire to make things sound or look better. (The “No Dye” hair is a visible outcome of that change.)

Our needs of self-esteem and security can be addressed and achieved by increasing our self-awareness and self-love. A no judgement policy for ourselves and in turn for others, is a good start.

Be kind to yourself before you are kind to others. Just like the oxygen masks in the aircraft!!!

Until next time…@thethinkingcaptain

6 thoughts on “Why Do We Want things to Look or Sound Better Than They Are?

  1. Doubting the self leads to unnecessary efforts to edit the reality. Strangely the front camera of my mobile detects my age as 24 years even with the grey crown I too adorn. Beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder

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  2. “start by recognizing and addressing our unmet needs”

    One of the most insightful statements I’ve heard in this year so far…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I heard someone say recently that delusional people are the happiest. Is there a case to be made for a healthy level of delusion?
    I’m naturally a planner, so I think that puts me on the far end of delusion. Or, perhaps my brand of delusion is simply familiar.

    I’m learning the self-awareness and self-love at an agonizingly slow pace.

    Sidebar: working on becoming a flight instructor, aviation brought me here, people keep me interested, learning, and also adventure.



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    1. The most beautiful declaration is that you are learning self-awareness and self-love. The pace is irrelevant. Hopefully, you will give yourself that concession too.
      The cockpit needs more self-aware people. Aviation needs more self-aware people. Hell! The world needs more self-aware people.
      More power to you, my friend!! See you in the skies, someday! Someday, our contrails shall cross. How about that!!

      Liked by 1 person

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