I grew up surrounded by loving family, where conversations flowed all day long, often around the kitchen or dinner table, where my parents or grandparents gathered family and guests. I grew up listening to those conversations, to bedtime stories that my parents read to me before the lights went out, but mostly I remember stories that were created just for me by the resourceful mind of my paternal grandfather Yvan, a creative and accomplished man who travelled a lot, spoke several languages and who took me on amazing journeys around the world by constructing fascinating story-lines just for my own pleasure, education and delight.
There was lots of freedom to roam and explore with my friends on our daily adventures or during summer vacations in the Baltics and later at my parents country house, where there was time to read, listen to conversations and music, as well as the sounds of nature. The pace was slower, life was happier and somehow more fulfilling.
We live in the day and age when many people consider themselves to be ‘experts’ on various subjects, when in actual fact they have no qualifications to justify the title of an expert in their chosen field – this of course is subjective and open to a wide discussion.
We all are bombarded daily by the information from all kinds of directions -radio, TV, ads on the tube, social media and there seems to be no filter for it. Take beauty journalists or bloggers – are they best experts to give advice on your skincare routine? If you are sick, you will go and see a doctor, not read advice by a health blogger I hope. Internet won’t cure you if you are ill, but the right doctor has a good chance of doing it, possibly alongside qualified professionals like dietitians, acupuncturists & physios.
My point is that we all have a right to educated choices. Read, process, decide. We can all admire someone or follow someone famous, whose lifestyle seems so fascinating we want to emulate it – but what you see or read about them, what made you follow them in the first place – ask yourself if that is real? Does following some on Twitter or Instagram make you feel better or worse about yourself – that’s the question we all should ask ourselves before pushing the ‘follow’ button.
The longer I do what I do ( I write all of the content for my website, apart from the guest posts but don’t necessarily consider myself to be a blogger – I actually have a postgrad degree in journalism ), the more it becomes clear that honesty is the best policy. Some of the bloggers I like advertise on their website and do sponsored posts. Do I have a problem with it, as I don’t do it myself ? Not one bit, provided there is full disclosure. The thing is, the world of beauty is not as pretty as one might think but often bloggers are more knowledgable & more open than the press. Why? Well, publications depend on ad revenues and many beauty articles are sponsored by the marketing and PR machines, putting the latest ‘miracle cures’ that promise to solve your skin voes in your direct vision field. You go and spend the money that goes into the ‘pocket’ of the brand and pays the salaries of marketing and PRs but do you, the customer, get the long-term satisfaction from your skincare, beauty or well-being purchase or do you continue to haemorrhage money in your quest for the latest beauty launch?
I think we all need to press the pause button and listen to ourselves to start with. Do you know your skin type? The ingredients that irritate your skin or aren’t compatible with your body? Take the time, get to know yourself and then and only then go and look for like-minded people and professionals, the voices of which resonate with you and make you feel better. Try to engage with them, build rapport but still pause before you take someone’ advice and run away with it.
It is one thing to read a magazine, view the fashion show or an art installation – beauty, well-being, health are somewhat different and require care and knowledge. Beauty journalists and bloggers ( myself included ) are not experts on a par with doctors, nutritionists, tricologists, dermatologists, facialists – a true professional takes years of studying and practising to build a practise. After working for many years not all doctors achieve a private practise status, yet many well-known bloggers make a mint with technically no qualifications. They have experience, are savvy and driven, they are smart and sociable. They know marketing and PR tricks and they become successful because no doubt they are good at what they do and they appeal to their audience. I am not passing judgment or telling you whether to trust this or that source. What I suggest is to remember that no-one is a better judge on what’s good for you other than yourself. Never stop learning, trust your instincts and follow the sources that resonate with you, makes you reflect and wonder – sources from which you know you are learning and that ultimately benefitting you and your life by helping become a better version of yourself.
Use social media as a useful tool but not as a therapist who will solve all of your problems all at once & instead of you. Gravity works against us and there is no miracle cream that will stop its effect on our faces and bodies – if somebody tells you otherwise, turn around and walk away. Social media shouldn’t replace a gut feeling or instincts. Trust people who have honesty and integrity amidst the noise. Questions what you read and see on TV.
I recently read a book from the Inspector Fandorin series, written by the Russian writer Boris Akunin and there was a passage there that really stuck with me: ”Remember that the best one can do for another is turn him in the right direction and give him a gentle push. Whether he walks in that direction or not, only he has the right to decided’.
Disclosure: My choice of magazine selection or books in this post is by no means my endorsement of them, not am I implying any criticism to any specific title, blog or book here. I read a variety of publications & blogs daily, some in passing, some in detail. All the books in the image in the post I have read and hold an opinion on each but that might be food for though for future posts.