Image: our image of ourselves, the image we have of other people, and the image other people have of us. No matter what scenario you use to describe it, image is a big part of our lives, but why?? Is the image the world sees of us really an accurate depiction of who we are? Can we change that image?
College is a new start. A place to find yourself. A journey where you meet the people that you might spend the rest of your life with. This is a big deal on so many levels. You are starting a blank slate. After working for the last 18 years to find your ‘best friend’ in high school, you now have to start all over again. This can be an scary thing, at least that’s how I felt! It is also not a quick process. The biggest struggle is that you are not only finding those ‘best friends’ but you are also finding yourself, as is everyone else here. How are you expected to figure all this out when you aren’t quite sure what this is?? Here’s the thing, you don’t.. not yet. You have to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of groups and then give it time. Let things settle and eventually things will figure themselves out.
So what does this have to do with image? Everything. Some people are so afraid to show the true image of themselves around new people because they fear they will not be accepted. What they might now realize is that, now all of the people they think they are best friends with are not really friends with them but this false image. Who really wants to go through their college years and so on being someone they’re not? It might be ok at first but we were made to be who we are for a reason! No one, especially not you should put that part of you in a box on a shelf. Let yourself be free! That image is such an important and beautiful thing, don’t let it be hidden by your fears of acceptance.
But what if you are the person looking at another person’s image? What if you think you see something, but then that image changes? What if it changes for the worst? This throws you into a world of confusion. You might not know how you feel about anything now because what you thought you knew was no more. It is so hard to see a person in a different light after you’ve seen them a certain way. Let’s say they made a mistake, a bad mistake, a stupid mistake; now don’t really see the person, you see the mistake. Is that really what we want though? Should our lives be defined by all of our mistakes? I think not! Maybe that mistake was big enough that you realize being with them 24-7 might not be the best decision, and that’s ok. You don’t have to be with someone all of the time, space is good. But that also does not mean you can never be with them again.
College man! It’s crazy. It’s hard. It is definitely not just academics any more. Trust me, you still have that, but now you have to be aware of everything around you. You are creating relationships, working at a job…. or three, living with other people, being part of groups, and going to classes on top of it all. It is an important time, and although it is filled with a zillion and one things happening at once there are so many good things that come out of it too. Image can go both ways. The most important thing is to not even worry about it, which you would hope wouldn’t be too hard considering all of the other things to worry about. Be yourself, because no one can be you better than you!