Tag Archives: Addiction

5 Ways To Stop Caring About The Number Of “Likes” Your Posts Get

Your last profile picture on Facebook has received 64 likes so far.  13 people also commented that you were looking pretty darn hot in that selfie.

The sillouette photo of your family playing in the sunset got a huge response on Instagram. 85 hearts and counting. Half of those are from people you don’t even know!

Your latest rant on Twitter isn’t getting much feedback though. You are thinking about taking it down.

Since you last logged into the POF dating site, 53 new members said they want to “meet you” by clicking the green check mark under your photo, as they scrolled through many. You have 4 new messages in your inbox. You wonder how many of them are going to say how beautiful you are.

64, 13, 85, 53, 4.

We are a society obsessed with receiving validation from numbers via the Internet. Validation of our good looks, that our opinions are intelligent, that our philosophies are admirable, that we are living life in an impressive way.  The problem with all of this external validation, is that the positive feelings you get from it are short lived. Soon, you start craving more “likes” so you make another post. Or log into that dating site again.

For many of you out there, I would be willing to bet your internet behaviour is bordering on addiction. You need those “likes” to brighten your day, to feel good about yourself.  You might even feel anxious and low whenever you don’t receive them.

It isn’t healthy!

This is why I have made a New Year resolution to break my addiction to external validation, and work on building my feelings of self worth from the inside.  I have no idea how successful I will be,but here are my ideas on how I will achieve this goal:

5 Ways To Decrease Your Cravings For External Validation By Numbers On Social Media:

1.) Practice Random, Totally Secret Acts Of Kindness:

I had a psychology professor once question the class if we thought it was possible to commit a truly unselfish act. His argument was even when we do kind deeds for others, we get something back, praise and recognition.  But what if you do something good, completely anonymously and secretly? The only person who will ever know about it, is you? I have a feeling it would be a very rewarding, invigorating experience. Yes, an element of selfishness would still be there. But the positive feelings you would gain would run far deeper than 73 likes if you proclaimed your kind deed in your Facebook status. I think random, secret acts of kindness are an excellent way to build internal feelings of self worth. Why not give it a try?

2.) Keep A Private Journal, Photo Albums, or Scrapbooks:

You know you had an amazing time with your kids at the museum last week. You know you baked a darn delicious lasagna for your date, all the while looking spectacular in that new outfit. You know these things. Does anyone else really need to? Try documenting these memorable moments of your life the old fashioned way. In a diary, personal photo album or scrapbook.  Your memories deserve more than being scrolled by 300 people, ” liked” by a certain percentage, and forgotten 3 hours later. Honour your memories, for you. Perhaps share the odd one, but keep the majority for you. They are yours to treasure more than anyone else, after all.

3.) Pursue A Passion Or Learn A New Skill (Secretly):

Learning a new skill is a fantastic way to increase self esteem. Even better is doing it only for yourself, not to impress others. Do it just for you, because it is something you are passionately interested in. Go for that amazing run without telling a soul. Paint that picture and frame it, just for you. Speak that new language to yourself in he shower.  Honour your achievements by holding them dear.  Don’t cheapen it by making it the newsfeed post of the day.

4.) Limit Your Time Spent On Social Media:

The best way to depend less on something is to distance yourself from it.  If you find yourself craving a surge of social media attention, refrain from signing in. Limit your activity to an hour or so per day. Carry on with your life, in your physical being. Be mindful and present. Save screen time for a designated, small portion of your life. That’s really all it needs to be.

5.) Share Your Life With Your Most Beloved People: 

Have you ever had a loved one tell you they wished you told them something personally before you posted it on social media? Try making those close to you feel special by sharing your special photos, the highlights of your day only with them. It is bound to give you a deeper, longer lasting feeling of esteem and worthiness than 17 hearts on Instagram ever could. Not to mention, it will strengthen your relationship with your loved one by increasing intimacy and communication.

So, those are my strategies for decreasing my cravings for external validation by numbers on the Internet. I will let you know how it goes. I think this article is pretty darn good. I am going to try really hard to stay firm in that belief, without checking the number of likes it receives, or that Facebook share button. Please wish me luck with this. Deep Breath. Here I go!

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Thank you for reading!

Be Brave, and Talk

How To Support Someone Suffering An Eating Disorder (from someone who has made it down the long, hard road to recovery.)

She runs frantically back and forth in the basement. She hopes she is being vigorous enough. The 3 big bowls of cereal she just ate must be burned away. A cramp pierces her side, she presses on angrily.  She despises the bloated feeling in her stomach. She hates herself for being so disgusting, bingeing like that on sugary cereal. She must have taken in at least 1000 calories. She feels the fat filling into her cheeks, visualizes the double chin that must be forming.  She speeds up, swings her arms harder, lifts her knees higher. She glances at the clock. 45 minutes to go. At least. No music plays as she does this desperate exercise. This is not for her enjoyment . This is for her punishment. Her motivation doesn’t come from a desire for health. It comes from fear. Fear of gaining weight. Fear of losing control. And anger. Anger that she lost control by eating all of that cereal.

She won’t be eating anything else for the next 2 days.

The cramps in her side get sharper. She cries out in pain, but doesn’t stop. She must finish this 2 hours of calorie burning. She hates her body for trying to stop her. The cramp twists up toward her rib cage. She speeds up in frustration. Tears stream down her face. She hurts. She is thirsty. She is soaked with sweat. She is exhausted. She is desperate. Desperate to maintain control. She was doing so well, for so long. But she got too hungry. She gave in. And now her disorder has control of her.

5 Ways To Support Someone Suffering / Recovering From An Eating Disorder:

1.) Be There: Help them break the habit of secrecy.

When someone has an eating disorder, they are extremely secretive with their behaviours. Counting calories, any eating they do, bingeing, purging behaviours all happen when they are alone.  They might hoard and hide food, dispose of it in sneaky ways. You can try to help break through the secrecy by offering to be there. Offer to eat meals with them, offer to go with them on calm after dinner walks. It’s really important to offer without forcing the issue. Putting pressure on will drive them further into their secretive behaviour. Ask how they are doing often.  Try opening up to them about something in life you are struggling with, and it might help encourage them to start talking. If you are lucky enough to get them talking, listen without judgement. Eating disorders come with feelings of self loathing and shame. Compliment them on their bravery in opening up, and just listen.

2.) Invite Them Out Often: Help reduce their isolation.

Eating disorders are very isolating. Sufferers often turn down social invites to spend time obsessing, compulsively exercising, recovering from binge eating episodes. Try to reduce this isolation by inviting them out often. Keep on inviting them no matter how many times they reject you. Dont give up on them. Try organizing team sport events with friends, or invite them for a yoga class. The exercise might appeal to them, and is much healthier than the compulsive exercise they do alone.

3.) Choose Topics Of Conversation Wisely: Avoid perpetuating their obsession.

Someone who suffers with an eating disorder is haunted by and obsessed with food, calories, and body image. When they are with you, you can help them be a little less preoccupied by avoiding ALL discussion of these topics. Ignore any comments they make about their body, redirect the conversation. Even telling them you think they are “too skinny” is a bad idea, because it can motivate them. It’s like positive reinforcement.  Refuse to feed into their obsession. This means no talk of dieting, “fattening” foods, body weight and size, even if you are talking about yourself.

4.) Help Them Feel A Sense Of Control

Someone suffering with an eating disorder longs for control over their lives. Eating disorder behaviour is an attempt to gain control over their body, but ironically the eating disorder ends up controlling them. Even though you are concerned and just want them to eat, never try to force food on them, or tempt them with food. This will only increase their desire for control, and make them very unlikely to admit they are suffering. It’s also very important to avoid investigating them, or accusing them of abnormal behaviour. These things will only drive them further into isolation and secrecy. Instead, encourage them to be honest by saying you are there for them whenever they might be ready to talk. Say you are concerned and ask them what you can do to help. This turns some control over to them, and might help them feel more ready to talk. Ultimately, the decision to seek help is entirely up to the sufferer. You will never be able to talk them into it. What you can do is offer to go with them, to be there for them when they decide on their own to open up and seek help.

5.) Have Realistic Expectations: Be aware of how serious the fight for recovery will be.

Realize that recovery from an eating disorder is not a matter of simply deciding one day to eat normally. Getting better is a long, hard, physically and emotionally painful fight. Eating disorders are very powerful addictions and it is almost impossible or overcome them without professional help. You can help your loved ones by making sure you have realistic expectations. Take it one day at a time. It will take them a long time to recover, and there could be many relapses on the way. Praise their brave efforts, let them know you believe in them. Be there, to listen , to hug, to show empathy. Never give up on them, and hopefully they will never give up on themselves.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk