More than a year later after starting this site, I’ve published a Progress page. You know, the one with before & after pictures. I’ll link to it, but I just wanted to discuss my hesitancy and finally my decision to post it.
I think progress pages – pages where people who have gotten back to healthy show you their before & after pictures are part narcissistic, and part philanthropic.
What? (you’re probably saying)
I’m sure the narcissistic part you can get immediately – pictures of oneself looking good and feeling good, surely they don’t need to be published on the internet in order to feel good about myself? They surely don’t.
But the philanthropic part?
Philanthropy of course is:
“…altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement…” [src]
But when I think back to my own story, part of the reason I was successful in making a change was because of healthy living sites like my own – it was a whole new world of people going through similar situations, and I didn’t need to have a coffee with them or see them at work to be a part of their story. Sites where people shared themselves – their struggles, their successes, and their failures. And yes, those before and after photos, which were often the first thing I clicked on once I landed on a site.
As a society, we love these before and after photos, because I think they represent two concepts which are dear to us and provide (and require) continuous energy and willpower: change, and hope.
Many other sites’ progress pages helped me hope once again about my own change. I’m not so narcissistic to think that my pictures and my story will impact any one person’s story so greatly, but if they do, or if they add to the collective of inspiration found online, how much harm have I caused myself by publishing those embarrassing before pictures? Not much.
Here’s to progress!
Are you a progress pic voyeur like me? Do they inspire you? Frustrate you?