Words \\ Armand Alvarez 

In today’s world, we are inundated with images and stories of other people. In just five minutes on any social media channel, we are informed of the success, confidence, happiness, memories, and vacations of friends, acquaintances, celebrities, and strangers alike – often without knowing who they really are and what they are going through. Obviously, by surrounding ourselves with successful people – whether in person or online – we can be inspired to reach our highest potential as well. Those around us can inspire us to realize our desires and manifest them to create a better reality for ourselves. However, if you want something that you don’t have, those images can be a constant reminder of the gap between your desire and where you are at this moment. Hence, it can quickly become envy or insecurity. Too often, we compare ourselves to others and begin to feel inadequate. 

How do I find the balance to embrace my true self while admiring others?

We are all guided in life based on our emotional reality. If we are confident in ourselves and are always striving for self-growth, we can feel happy for and inspired by others. If we feel incomplete, we can feel threatened by those around us. When I admire a person or witness an event in someone else’s’ life that I would like to experience, it only inspires me to become and love myself more which radiates to a love for others.

Words \\ Lisa Ramos

 The reason for our becoming who we were destined to be is realized gradually. Every single one of our life experiences adds to us in reaching our destiny. One of the most important things I learned in life is that things don’t happen to us, they happen for us. Our journey is not meant to be a straight, smooth path. We are meant to walk through dark valleys, up mountains and through green pastures. 

 Discouragement comes to each and every one of us. I find that discouragement creeps in when we compare our journeys to that of other people. 

The thing is, we are ALL on different paths to different destinations! Another person’s path can look more attractive than our own but in reality, someone else’s blessings would be a burden to us. The things meant for you are specifically meant for you and no one else. Our blessings and journeys are tailored for us as individuals. 

Our joy and drive for life are easily threatened in this era of social media where we constantly ingest highlight reels of other people’s lives. It’s easy to think people are much further along in their journeys, happier, more successful and more well-liked. This is why we must focus on our own journeys, gifts and talents. Comparison is the thief of joy. So, stay in your lane! 

As an influencer/model/whatever else I am considered in this “slash” generation, I can tell you firsthand that not everything is what it seems like online. I really don’t know anyone who “has it all together”. We are all figuring “it” out.

Just remember, no matter what, YOU are gifted, talented, and have a purpose in life that no one else in the world can fulfill. No one can be you like you can be you. Stay the course. Focus and be grateful for YOUR gifts. And remember, everything that is happening at this moment is happening FOR you. Trust the process!
project coordinator Rose Newlands | photography Steven Santiago | make up artist Timothy MacKay | hair artist Talaya Iman | stylist Devin Lewis | location ODR Studios