If you are reading this post, then you most likely know by now that Taylor Swift deleted all of her previous social media posts and announced in her newest single that the old Taylor Swift is, in fact, dead. Bravo, Taylor, for releasing your sixth album by participating in the most obvious media stunt ever. Here’s the thing >> I like Taylor Swift. I think she is a talented artist who has, for the most part, remained authentic and dedicated to her fans. What I do not appreciate is the callus message her social media stunt sends to her young, impressionable fans. She is ultimately saying that it is good to kill our old selves off and ‘start over’. At face value, that does not sound like the worst message ever. It actually makes sense. It’s healthy to to have moments where you start a new, better path based on the lessons you have learned. The small, yet important, issue I have is with her mass deleting her past self. I think we should all move on and start over during different moments in our lives, but we should not completely delete our memories and past while doing so. We should embrace who we have been in this life and love all versions of ourselves. Without loving and recognizing our past selves, we cannot possibly have a healthy, loving relationship with our new self.
Here are five reasons why we actually should keep our old photos, diaries and memories:
One of the most important things is for us to unconditionally love ourselves. How can we do that if we quite literally ‘throw away’ our past moments? Keeping old photos and notes from our past allows us to love ourselves completely. We are acknowledging what has happened in our lives and embracing our full selves. When we completely love ourselves, are able to unconditionally love others and have a more positive outlook on the world.
Those past moments can be great motivators as we grow into our new self. Whether you are trying to lose weight, or meet new friends, or live in a completely new environment, photos of our past help us ‘benchmark’ our progress.
How can we grow if we do not accept where we came from? A huge part of growth is humbling ourselves and accepting that we want to change from who we were into something else. Until we make peace with our past memories, we cannot healthily move into the future and engage in real growth.
Our past is what allows us to have empathy for others. If we choose be ashamed of our history, instead of embracing it, then we tend to also have negative feelings towards others encountering similar situations. However, when we proudly embrace our history, we are able to have more empathy and compassion for others.
Erasing our history is a cowardly act. It means we are not willing to face what we have experienced and/or we do not want others to know what we went through in fear of their reactions. On the opposite side, when we candidly share our past and how we got through it, we display courage and provide hope for others who are facing the same moments in their lives. Authentically telling your story is one of the bravest things we can do.
Now, this all is not to say that burning or cutting up the occasional photo is wrong. There is a difference between burning our ex’s’ things versus erasing our entire life up until this moment. We should definitely take out of the trash when needed, but we should never throw our entire life away in order to become someone else. You need to love who you are, at every moment of your life, in order for a true revolution to happen.
So, if you want to delete your entire social media history because you just want to be more private >> fine, but please do not delete who you were in the past as some grand statement that you are a new person. There are people who loved your former self, so you should as well. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your past. Be authentically raw in an increasingly fake world.
– Marji J. Sherman