Influencers and your Inner Child 

In a world addicted to social media platforms, where attention is currency,  the rise of influencers has become a prominent cultural phenomenon. From fashion to fitness, beauty to business, influencers have carved out niches and amassed followings that rival traditional celebrities. But what really led to the emergence of influencers, and why do they hold such sway over modern society? Are we truly so in need of influencers? What is the psycho-social impact of influencers?

With the advent of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, individuals gained unprecedented access to global audiences. Suddenly, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection could become a content creator, sharing their thoughts, experiences, and expertise with the world. This democratization of the media gave rise to the birth of a new breed of celebrity: the influencer.

At its core, the concept of influence is nothing new. Throughout history, people have looked to role models for guidance, inspiration, and validation. From ancient philosophers to religious leaders, political figures to pop icons, individuals have always sought out those who can shape opinions and behaviors. However, what sets influencers apart, is the medium through which they exert their influence and the scale at which they can reach their audience.

Influencers leverage social media platforms to curate carefully crafted personas and lifestyles that resonate with their followers. Whether it’s sharing fashion tips, makeup tutorials, travel adventures, or wellness advice, influencers offer a glimpse into aspirational lifestyles that captivate and inspire their audience. Through aesthetically taken photos, captivating videos, and engaging captions, they create an intimacy and authenticity that fosters trust and loyalty among their followers.

But why do we, as a society, place such value on the opinions and recommendations of influencers? 

The human desire for connection and belonging. In a fragmented and digitalized world, we crave authentic connections and communities where we can feel understood and accepted. Influencers fill this void by offering relatable narratives and shared experiences that resonate with their audience’s desires and aspirations.

Pursuit of Perfection. Influencers often embody the ideals and values that society esteems, whether it’s beauty, success, health, or happiness. By aligning themselves with these aspirational qualities, influencers become symbols of perfection. In a culture obsessed with image and achievement, influencers set unrealistic standards of beauty, success, and happiness, creating feelings of inadequacy and insecurity among those who cannot measure up. When filters and Photoshop blur the lines between reality and fantasy, a culture of comparison and perfectionism thrives, reducing self-worth  to external validation and material possessions.

How did this happen?. For every influencer to flourish, there must indeed be a receptive audience willing to consume their content and products. In this sense, influencers and their followers are co-creators of a shared narrative, where authenticity is compromised to monetize products and concepts. Ultimately, the power of influence lies not just in the hands of influencers but also in the choices and actions of those who choose to follow them.

What about the Inner Child? The part of you that still feels like a child, your inner child stares wide eyed at the influencer. Your inner child often :-

  1. Gets lost between fantasy and reality. 
  2. Feels shame and unworthiness by comparison.
  3. Has no handle on the time wasted on scrolling unlimited content.
  4. Is swayed to buy products and services that are superfluous and unaffordable. 

Most importantly the child in you is disappointed time and again when these products and services don’t fulfill the promises they make. You feel as empty, hurt and purposeless as you felt before you bought the anti-wrinkle cream or the pure linen co-ords. It perpetuates the loop of despair in mind already riddled with self-doubt. Someone somewhere builds their image, someone sells their wonder solution to a non-existent problem, and a little child in an adult’s body says, “I knew it wont work. There is nothing wrong with it. Something is wrong with me.” 

How can you influencer-proof your inner child?

  1. Be a loving parent to your inner child telling them gently, yet firmly the reality about influencers and influencer marketing.
  2. Support your journey of growing up with mentors or coaches you can learn from and build a real relationship with.
  3. Understand what your inner child craves for and create opportunities to meet these needs safely. 
  4. Nurture your own fragile sense of self till you can handle the maelstrom of communication coming their way. 
  5. Continue your active journey of identifying, expressing and regulating emotions on the way to peeling off layers of conditioning.
  6. Take solace in mindfulness and meditation as resting places and to build a strong spiritual connection and your own true potential. 

Yet, to not throw away the baby with the bathwater, let’s look at what positive role influencers can play. They can use their platforms to educate, empower, and advocate for positive change. From raising awareness about social issues, environment and ecology,  to conversations for inclusion, influencers have the potential to mobilize their followers for collective action and social impact. There’s a lot of growing up that is needed on the part of influencers and their audiences. It would mean giving up paltry gains for the larger goal of human evolution to compassion and excellence. The inner child within the influencer would have to grow up too. And that is another blog post !!!

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