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!
Thank you for reading!
Be Brave, and Talk