Why do we care so much if someone “likes” our online posts? I’ve been considering this idea for some time and I find it fascinating. I try not to care, I say I don’t care, but at the end of the day I am just like everyone else. Looking for some sort of validation.
Some people look for agreement; that their ideas are popular, common, acceptable. Some people look for encouragement; they need a boost to keep going when feeling discouraged. Some people want attention; someone to reach out and interact with them… usually a specific person that they feel they can’t approach directly. I find myself simply wanting to be acknowledged as existing; to feel seen for the truth of who I am. Without judgement.
Social Media offers us fantastic opportunities to connect to other people all over the world. It takes our peer group from the people within the reach of our vision and voice to people thousands of Kilometers away. For better or for worse, we put pieces of ourselves out into the world to be interacted with by others and those interactions can absolutely reflect our inner lives back at us.
“I have a popular opinion on this issue. Good for me!”
“People really believe in me!”
“I feel so seen!”
Lots of interaction. There is connection here, I absolutely agree, but what other perceived inner realities can the “likes” be showing us? Perhaps more dark beliefs like,
“I’m a freakshow because nobody likes my opinion.”
“I’m a failure and people aren’t encouraging me because I truly do suck.”
“Nobody cares about me.”
“Nobody knows I exist.”
Are any of these interactions or judgements true? None is more true than the other and it’s amazing to think that we give so much power to something that is outside of us. Something that ultimately means so little. At the end of the day, we are our own best comfort and cheerleader. I remind myself constantly that I don’t know what is going to be seen. Nobody lives on Social Media. Nobody likes everything posted. I don’t know what the people who like or don’t like my posts are thinking. And really, do I care?
When I examine whether or not Social Media is a good way to “feel seen” I see it absolutely isn’t. The people I surround myself with have better things to do than sit around giving my posts “likes”. They are going out and living exciting lives that fill our conversations when we do find ourselves in reach of our vision and voices. We currently find ourselves in a Pandemic. We have been required to stay isolated from each other and while it’s not been helpful, it’s an amazing opportunity to be with ourselves and acknowledge what our social needs truly are.
If we recognize we need encouragement, we can reach out to one of our friends or family and ask for encouragement. If we need to feel a bit less alone in the world we can speak over the phone to someone to feel acknowledged. If we want to talk about matters of opinion or learn something new, we can reach out to others with similar or different views.
I have loved investigating my Social Media usage and how it relates to my social needs. I know why I crave it and it takes some of the shame and negativity out of the shadows for me to examine. I’ve always hated that I felt I needed to have Social Media in my life. It felt wrong and cheap to me because I wasn’t asking for what I needed, and I was going to the wrong place to recieve it. I find that I am drawn to it to feel seen and acknowledged, but I also find that I am drawn to it to see and acknowledge others. I’m not in it for the judgement of “likes” but to witness humanity. Life. In all of its expression. I may or may not like posts just as others may or may not like mine, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t see and take it all in and get value out of it.
At the end of the day, I examine my need to feel seen and see myself. I interact with others in my community. I interact with my inner self. I am a part of this Universe and it is beautiful to witness everything within and without. The mindful usage of Social Media can enhance life, we just can’t give it all power over acknowledgement and worth that comes from within.