Americanah is an amazing book. It got me thinking about the multiple identities we can have. Adichie writes in such a way that I could identify with the lead character Ifemelu at the various points in her life. However one thing that really stood out was the discussion Adichie has in the book about online vs offline identities. I have been talking to a number of people about the effect technology has on communication. There are a number of arguments for and against technology and the way we should be communicating. However that is not what this blog is about. The discussions Adichie has stood out for me because of the underlying theme of authenticity.
The Merriam-webster dictionary defines authenticity as:
: real or genuine : not copied or false
: true and accurate
: made to be or look just like an original
The rise of online profiles via twitter, facebook, blogs, instagram and everything in between means that we can create and re- create ourselves as we see fit. That is great. It gives us the beautiful opportunity to make connections around the world in a way that was not possible before. However I find it becomes a problem when what we do online begins to dictate and control our offline selves. We have just finished the series on finding peace and reconnecting with God (and ourselves), from personal experience I can see that the amount of time I spent online and what I was allowing to influence me stole my peace at times.
I found myself in a place where I was so emptied because I was sharing, creating and adapting my life so that I could post online about it. I was chasing experiences and talking and thinking for my blog. That in itself is not bad because as a blogger I do need to be thinking about what I am going to post. But it got to the point where I was unhealthily consumed by it. I had to step back and align my beliefs, values and actions so that I could live genuinely again. I was tired of living for social media. So is there anything that is taking away from your authenticity? Have you let certain relationships with people, your computer, iPad, mobile phone, social media…anything, take away from the true you?
Lets stop lying to ourselves and put it right.