While at church camp a couple of weeks ago, I got talking to a lady I hadn’t seen in a long time who said something that I found very interesting. We were having a pleasant conversation about some things that had been going on in our lives and a friend of mine was standing there as well. As we were about to walk away, my friend said “Keep posting all of those cool pictures, because I love seeing them.” Suddenly, the woman’s face turned red and she said “I’m embarrassed to say this, but I may have “unfriended” you guys. I went through a little time of being upset that no one was “liking” or commenting on any of the posts I was making and in my hurt, I just started “unfriending” people.” She said that she realized afterwards that it probably wasn’t the best way to handle the situation and that she was embarrassed about it. We assured her that we weren’t upset with her about it and after talking for a while longer, went on.
I must say that that conversation keeps resounding in my mind. Not because I was upset with her or anything (I looked and I actually had not been “unfriended” by her anyway), but because I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much we sometimes rely on the approval or acknowledgement of others for our own validation. Let me make it clear that I am in NO WAY saying she needs validation from others to be happy. I am saying that we all tend to fall into that at least a little sometimes. I’m saying that social media contributes to that even more-so. So, what can we do about it?
First off, let me just say that we all have different personalities, interests, etc. (not that you needed me to tell you that) and that is a major contributor to the things we “like” or comment on on social media. Things that seriously crack me up may seem completely dumb or not make sense to someone else. Things that I find interesting may seem totally boring to someone else. That’s just a part of being different. My husband and I have a very similar style of humor, but there are still times that I will be laughing to the point of crying about something and he will just stare at me like I’ve lost my mind. In the same way that I don’t let his reaction hurt my feelings, I should be the same way when people don’t “like” or comment on the thing that I find to be so dang hilarious. Different life experiences cause us to find different things funny or they may cause us to find certain things not funny at all. No biggie, I’m still going to laugh my butt off when I think something is funny, whether anyone else does or not! In the same token, there are things that I find to be very interesting. Things that get me excited. Some of these things are the most boring things ever to other people. Int the same way, I find some of others’ interests to be completely snooze worthy. That’s just because we’re different. Chances are that I won’t “like” their posts and that they won’t “like” mine when they are about a topic that is just not exciting or appealing to either of us.
Another reason why people may not “like” or comment on our posts is just out of no reason other than that they just don’t think to. I know that Brian has a tendency to just scroll through facebook on his phone and look at things. He sometimes mentions about different pictures or posts to me, but when I see them later, he hasn’t “liked” them or anything. It’s not that he didn’t actually like them or find them interesting, he just didn’t hit the little button. I know that I sometimes am looking at facebook while I have a minute waiting for something and sometimes just don’t get the chance to respond to it in any sort of way or know I don’t have time to respond to it like I want to and plan to do it later, but never actually get back to it. Not that I didn’t appreciate what the person had posted, the circumstances just didn’t allow for me to convey it. Not only that, but I start to feel like a serious stalker if I start “liking” a ton of pictures on someone’s page. So, sometimes I will only “like” a few, even though there are several I actually appreciate.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that it’s very important not to allow what you perceive to be the reactions to your posts, have too much of an effect on you. Post things because you’re excited about them or find them funny or they interest you or convey a message you think is important. Do it knowing that people are seeing it and that even if no one actually gives any kind of response, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t made some kind of an impact on someone. Use social media for fun and good, not for complaining or bringing people down. If social media stops being fun for you, stop using it. If need be, “unfollow” people whose posts have a tendency to bring you down. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still “friends” with them on facebook, it just means you don’t have to see their posts and be brought down by their negativity. Most of all though, remember that your validation does not come from people. People will let you down sometimes and hurt your feelings, that’s just a sad fact of life. Your validation needs to come from the One who created you and who calls you “Dearly Beloved”.
Let’s all be aware of the things we post and really look at whether they are something positive that could bring someone a laugh (without being hurtful to someone), bring someone a message of hope, or just generally brighten someone’s day. Maybe be mindful of just hitting the “like” button when you see something you like, because that can brighten the day of the person who posted it.
Do yourself a favor and use social media for fun and enjoyment and if it becomes something other than that…get rid of it. Life is too good to allow something like social media to bring you down.