Posted by: nmontague | July 26, 2010

Image is everything. . . or not

We’ve all heard the line that “image is everything.” Basically what the phrase means is that it doesn’t matter what reality is. All that matter is how we or other people percieve it. And the world seems to emphasize this quite a lot. Look around. If you watch TV you’ll see business advertise their products with catchy or flashy ads. They try to make their products look cool. Does any man honestly believe that drinking a certain brand of beer will cause beautiful women to hang out around them and fawn all over them?

Or look at a politician. He/She is trying to sell him/herself as the the perfect person to run for the position. But the second they get in that position, it’s corruption, kickbacks, bribes, all sorts of abuse of power, etc.

Hollywood is always trying to sell us on fads or what’s cool. All it is image. Companies make billions every year trying to help people lose weight, why? Because people want to improve their self image.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made the point. We live in a society where the message is constantly about the image and not anything to do with substance. This is not a good thing.

I am not going to say image is absolutely nothing. Quite the opposite. I think Image is quite useful if the image accurately reflects who we are instead of being an attempt to pretend who we are not. There is nothing wrong with losing weight. There is nothing wrong with looking good and grooming ourselves. The problem comes when we try to create an image of ourselves that is phoney. One that is set up to gratify our pride or decieve people for whatever reason.

I think one of the major problems in society is that we are always trying to be who we aren’t. Either to build our self worth, trying to make friends, trying to get power or money etc. But as humans, we can’t be someone we aren’t forever. Eventually our images crack. People see through insincerity. We abuse trust we are given, etc.

No matter what brand of beer you are drinking, if you keep up the drinking, you eventually end up overweight, depressed, alone, or all of the above. No matter what fancy clothes you have, what treatments or surgeries you recieve, you will grow old. You won’t be as beautiful as you were. You won’t be as athletically built as you used to be. No matter how much you pretend you are perfect, you are still going to have imperfections showing you reality.

So I say Image isn’t everything. Image is nothing unless there is substance beneath it.

Of course, everyone will say “Of course there is substance to me“. Is there? Is there really? What makes you better than anyone else? Who are you if you strip all the nice cloths, if you strip away your public image, if you stop worrying about what others thing of yourself, or even what you think about yourself and accept you are you really are? I guess the question is really: Who are you?

Are you honest? Really? I used to think I was, then I started analyzing what I was actually saying and what I wasn’t saying. I realized that I fall well below the mark I thought I had. Are you charitable? Did you do any act of service for someone today? Even a small one? Are you humble? Are you able to accept who you are and learn? Or is your identity caught up in your image of yourself that glosses over your weaknesses and magnifies your “strengths”. I put that in quotations because often our strengths aren’t what we originally percieve them to be.

Quite honestly, I am tired of this image over substance society. And I think there are a lot of people that agree with me. So how do we change things? Well, in order to change society, we have to change ourselves. That’s the only way we can. Once we are changed, society is impacted because we are part of society.


1. Ask yourself, who am I? Answer that and then ask, is that who I really am or is that just how I percieve myself?

2. Examine your motives behind what you do. Why do you do them? Don’t just gloss over them, but actually think it out. Are you doing things for the right reasons?

3. Determine what you can do to make your image accurately reflect your character. Stop pretending to be someone you aren’t.

If your image is who you really are, then you don’t have to worry about being found out. You don’t have the stress of decieving people. You can learn and adapt who you are. You will have more power in your life and more influence on those around you. It’s just that simple. Unfortunately, it’s not easy. But at least you can live without hypocrisy.



  1. Its a good point that I have always tried to tell people. I had this one room mate that was all worried about how his chest looked. He was really REALLY depressed about it. It is sad to think that millions of people think this way.

    Character really matters far more than looks ever could.

  2. All true (aside from the hyperbole).

    And then we’re told to act like Jesus would. We have to act like Him even though we fall far, far short – we don’t have the strength of character to do it, and even if we had the willpower and whatnot, we don’t know Him well enough to pull it off. We shoot at the Mark we understand, but it’s not who He is. Yet if we don’t try to act like Him, we’ll never become what we are striving to be.

    The danger is when appearance is all we want.

    The other danger is the one I’m realizing I’ve been in most of my life: not caring about the social appearance and therefore lacking the social substance.

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