#iamsubject project – Media Detox

Media Detox

by Ceri Beynon

As women, we are presented with many different images on a daily basis, and are bombarded by various identities that the media claims we should aspire to embrace. It is in this digital age, where we are exposed to so many different visuals, that it is easy to lose sight of ourselves and who we really are. We must strip away all the make-up, the idealism, the photo-shopping and become one with our very core self. It is only then that we can we tap into our true potential and come to realize what greatness we are capable of, and from there we can determine how to share this lesson with the world.

Ultimately, the things we see on TV, read about in the magazines and listen to on the radio are illusion. Being told what to think, how to see and what to believe may eventually wear us down and have a negative impact on our self-image and our own identity.

As an experiment I chose to stop buying magazines and stop watching TV. Far from being bored, I was surprised to find out that the results were extremely positive. I became more productive, had a healthier self-image, and stopped comparing myself and competing with others; as a result, in my opinion, I became a better person.

To understand who we truly are at present and who we will grow into, we need to focus on reality and accept our limitations and strengths, work on our weaknesses and discover what truly makes us happy and brings fulfillment. If we are constantly distracted by the illusion of the media and the aspirations of others who tell us what to aspire to, I have to question whether we can truly understand ourselves.

I’m not saying we should quit TV forever and go and live like hermits in the wilderness, no! We need other people and their opinions and views to grow, and to better understand the world. But sometimes, it can be extremely beneficial to focus on our own world and our own needs and to re-evaluate the direction we are heading in, asking ourselves, ‘Am I happy with this?’, ‘Is this truly what I want, or what I think I should want?’. It is only upon answering such questions and removing all thoughts of the expectations of others that we can truly come to understand and acknowledge who we truly are. And this is where the greatest self-confidence comes from.

Distancing myself from the media helped me gain a fresh perspective of what is really important in life. Rather than following the latest fashion trend or diet craze, I learned to develop my own sense of style, and consequently found that I was dressing well and eating healthier by default.

The time that I didn’t waste watching TV was used constructively, writing a novel, reading and taking up new hobbies. All in all I found I got a whole lot more out of the ‘real world’ by giving up the media for awhile.

My self-confidence was boosted by the hobbies I took up such as attending a drama group in the evenings instead of catching up on the latest TV show. The new people I met were wonderful and I was amazed at the exciting prospects that I found myself looking for, because I had to entertain myself rather than just letting myself be entertained.

Turning away from external influences definitely helped me to discover new truths about myself. As I had more time to think clearly, I could focus on parts of my life that I was extremely happy with and parts that I wanted to change. I realized that I wanted to take up sailing and decided to take action to turn this dream into a reality. I shall soon be starting sailing lessons. I also realized that I wanted to write a novel. I had attempted many times when I was younger, starting but never finishing, but now thanks to giving up the media I have completed not one, but two books. I highly doubt this would have come to fruition if I had been distracted by the TV!

I also learned a lot about myself personally. I found that I can be very determined and much more strong willed than I thought I was capable of being. After all, being surrounded by friends who constantly talk about the latest episode of Vampire Diaries and try to persuade me to give up my media detox isn’t easy, but I am pleased to say I have stuck with it.

I think I have grown as a person from the experience, the new friends I have made, a self-assurance that has come from realizing I can think independently, and realizing there are a lot of opportunities out there just waiting to be seized.

Diane DeBella

As a writer, teacher, and speaker Diane has spent over twenty years examining women’s issues. She is the author of the collective memoir *I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves*, and editor of the anthology *I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening*. As a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado, she received the CU Women Who Make a Difference Award and the CU-LEAD Alliance Faculty Appreciation Award. Through her organization I Am Subject, Diane helps us understand how we—as women—are impacted by the society in which we live. By claiming ourselves as subjects of our own lives, we become empowered and also provide strong role models for other women and girls. In healing ourselves we help others—a beautiful way for women to create nurturing, supportive communities.

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