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Chewbacca Mom And The Power Of Authenticity

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CHEWBACCA MOM
MPI02/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images
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Chewbacca Mom, Candace Payne at Good Morning America to talk about being the new internet sensation on May 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by MPI02/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

When Candace Payne uploaded a video last week in which she sat in her car, put on a Chewbacca mask and started laughing uncontrollably, she created an online phenomenon.

People have been asking what made her video such a huge hit. Many believe that her unbridled happiness and no-holds-barred laughter were incredibly infectious and filled her viewers with joy.

I agree that watching this video was terrifically uplifting, but I think that the true power of the video, and the reason why so many people . watched it, was the fact that Ms. Payne was able to laugh out loud without an ounce of self-consciousness.

Ms. Payne was willing to look silly online, and I think that this ability to be so authentic and free was the real reason why her video got over 140 million views.

Ms. Payne was willing to look silly online, and I think that this ability to be so authentic and free was the real reason why her video got over 140 million views.

How many people today live in constant fear of being judged? How many of us have experienced online trolls or bullying?

Every minute of every day, somewhere on the internet, someone is being criticized for their weight, their hairstyle, their degree of attractiveness, their point of view. It's a scary world online, and Candace Payne has just made it a little bit less scary.

Ms. Payne risked looking foolish online. She put on a children's Chewbacca mask and then laughed her head off, taking tremendous pleasure in this simple act. The last thing on her mind was how other people might react.

Candace Payne showed us that we, too, could go online and not be so afraid of being judged. She showed us that, just like her, we could let joy and love guide our actions; just like her, we could risk being authentic.

The paradox of this video is that it was all about Ms. Payne's unabashed pleasure in putting on a mask. Wearing a mask is usually meant to make us feel less vulnerable, but when Ms. Payne did it, she let down her guard and showed us her true self.

Candace Payne showed us that we, too, could go online and not be so afraid of being judged.

So many of us wear a mask in our daily lives, hiding our true self out of fear of judgments. So many of us wear a mask online, always presenting ourselves in the best possible light.

Candace Payne was real, admitting without embarrassment that she'd bought this silly mask not for her kids, but for herself. She sat there in her car, wearing the mask without a drop of shame, having a grand old time.

Freedom is the ability to be authentic, to do what we want, to pursue our joy. Freedom is living without shame or the fear of judgment; it's allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, open and joyful, regardless of how others might react.

Ms. Payne's video is a beautiful example of the freedom to be her authentic self.

The gift of this video is the message that it doesn't matter what other people think. It doesn't matter what they say. All we need to do is find our passion, live authentically and laugh out loud. If anyone has a problem with it, well, our laughter will drown them out anyway.


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