The Realty of Reality TV
Recently I attended a luncheon with a few hundred business people. The main attraction of the gathering was a speaker who stood at the podium to share her life story. Without shame, she shared with transparency. She didn’t tone down her mistakes nor did she shy away from personal decisions she’d made that had wreaked havoc in her life as well as those she cared most about. For the twenty minutes she spoke, she smiled as if to serve proudly as a shining example. There is hope no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done.
As she intertwined her business life with her personal one, it was evident she had learned the two could not be separated. Decisions in one area had a cause and effect in the other. Yet as she shared, we heard how success had found its way into her messy life. Her newfound happiness was evident in her confident disposition. She had learned enough from her mistakes to share such lessons for the benefit of others. As the audience listened you could have heard a pin drop.
Authenticity. We find little of it in a world where imagery has become the new currency. How you look seems to take precedence over where you’ve been. What you do is more important than who you are. And, sadly, often what is “posted” becomes the standard by which we must live by.
Popularity for reality television is at an all time high. Many channels have their own titles ranging from swamps to food to surgery and many topics in between. Seems there are few limits to what becomes feature programming that invites others to tune in to the life of another. Yet many appear to be scripted and so far fetched that an assumption can often be made that there seems to be little reality in reality TV.
Such as life. We’ve all made mistakes. Many of us have wreaked our own havoc like our speaker had done. Yet her purpose was clear. To offer hope, encourage, and serve as an example that it’s not so much about where you’ve been but where you are going. The extended standing ovation she received at the end of her presentation was evidence that one thing we long for more of in our culture of perfectionism; reality in life.
There is nothing like a great story. What is yours? Why watch reality TV when you write your own script everyday. Real people. True friends. Authentic relationships. The ability to speak of mistakes without feeling like an outcast. The freedom to learn from others and seek renewal. Surely our speaker had pain as the result of some of her decisions. It took courage to share what she did, yet she was unashamed. Many left having been deeply moved by her story.
Reality TV? Yes! It happens every day. On the channel we call life. In the places we call home and work. What do we learn from such stories? Let’s get real.