Tag Archives: Kindness

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

You’d Feel No Envy

She looks immaculate. Her white teeth literally glint in the sunlight. You aren’t sure which sparkles more, her gorgeous sapphire eyes, or the rippling waves of her hair. She wears $300 shoes, and a $700 dress. She walks gracefully and confidently.

You pass her by awkwardly, in your flip flops and $10 t-shirt. She stares straight ahead, as if you don’t even exist. You feel self conscious, wishing you could look more like her, be more like her. You envy her, in all her beautiful, perfect, confident glory. You feel pathetic and small, compared to her.

But you would feel no envy if you could see the rare skin disorder she hides beneath her designer outfit. You would feel no envy if you realized the reason she stares straight ahead is that she is trying with all her might to hold back tears, because last night she caught her husband cheating on her. You would feel no envy if you knew that she will never have the strength to leave him. Her Facebook photos will tell a story of a gorgeous couple, madly in love. Her reality will be far different.

Your heart sinks. You try not to watch the family enjoy their picnic at the park, as you sit like a lonely loser feeding the birds.  As the children giggle and gleefully chase each other about, you become acutely aware that your window of opportunity to have children of your own is quickly closing. You don’t even have a girlfriend, let alone a potential mother of your future children. You feel more than envy. You feel resentment at how unfair life is. You feel anger toward the family, in all their loving, laughing, hugging, picture perfect glory.

But you would feel no envy if you knew the couple is only together for the sake of the children. You’d feel no envy if you saw the father soak his pillow with tears every night, because the youngest child was just diagnosed with cancer. You’d feel no envy if you saw the mother soak hers because she is in love with a man she will never be able to have. The family photos on Facebook tell a story of a loving family that always has fun together. Their reality is far different.

Next time you sit beside a perfect looking couple in a restaurant, browse an old friend’s photos on social media, or pass a beautiful body on the beach, try to stop yourself from feeling that envy.  Reality is usually far different than appearance.

Give a warm smile, or type a sincere compliment. Because chances are, these people who seem to have it all are checking YOU out, and envying YOU.

(Oh, if only they could live a week in your life! They would feel no envy.)

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

 

Power

Your head rests on the steering wheel as you listen to your favourite morning radio announcers banter back and forth. You wish you could be one of them. Their lives seem so carefree, their job seems so easy.

Your car is one of two in the parking lot. You always make sure you are early. It helps you feel a little less panicked, and you can avoid the scary, self conscious feeling you get when others see you walk in later than them.

You let yourself sit listening to one more song, focus on taking deep breaths. You tell yourself it is going to be okay. The day will fly by, and before you know it you’ll be breathing in the comforting scent of your daughter’s soft hair as you hug her hello.

“TGIF,” you mutter to yourself as you grab your bag and head for the door.

You take comfort in the quiet hallways and make a mental list of what you need to prepare for the work day ahead.

You log into your computer and hear a few coworkers laughing together down the hall. You need to do some photocopying, but decide to wait until they have headed to their end of the building. You just aren’t ready to see anyone yet.

You take a disappointing sip of your coffee, it’s cold. Your biggest comfort of the morning needs to be enjoyed the right way. You head to the staff room to warm it up.

Your heart beats faster as you see a colleague walking toward you. Turning around and ducking into the stock room would look a little odd, so you press on toward him.

You put on your best smile and say a warm hello as you pass each other. He stares straight ahead, nods slightly.
“How are you?” His voice is cool, and he doesn’t wait for your response. He doesn’t slow down at all.

You feel foolish because you had started to answer, your voice trails off in a whisper. He has rounded the corner and has no idea you were talking.

You rush into the staff room. You wait for your coffee to heat and hug yourself tightly. Your coworker thinks you’re an idiot. You wish you could go home, you just don’t seem to belong here. You close your eyes, try to shake off the squirmy urge to curl up into a ball, and scurry back down the hall to your room.

Your guts rumble. You vigorously rub your hands together to try to warm them, to try to calm your anxiety. You try to focus on your work. Then you remember you need to make photocopies. Damn it.

Out into the big, bad hallway you venture, praying you’ll finish the task without another coworker encounter. Just when you think you’re home free, someone pops out right in front of you. You apologize profusely and try to rush away, but she stops you.

“I just have to say, I really love your style. You always look so nice. ” she beams at you and gives you a friendly tap on the arm. You thank her and take deep breaths to avoid blushing.

“How are you doing?” She continues, “it isn’t easy, adjusting to work with a little one, is it?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty tough sometimes. We’re both getting used to it though.” You blink back tears and smile appreciatively.

“Well, let me know if you need anything. Anything at all. Really.”

You thank her again, and as you walk away, feel a tremendous sense of relief. That was such a nice thing for her to say. For some reason it makes you want to cry.

In the restroom, you wipe your tears and gaze at your reflection. You take note of your stylish outfit. You do look pretty good, it’s Friday, and perhaps your friendly coworker and you will one day be friends. Today, you are going to be just fine.

Power.

Your words, lack of words, facial expressions, small gestures have so much power.

You just never know what a person is going through.

What someone shows on the outside often has very little to do with the life they live inside.

We all have the power to touch that life.

We can choose to chip another piece off a crumbling self esteem.
Or we can choose to soothe an unsettled soul, even if only for a precious moment.

Every single one of us really does hold tremendous power.

How will you choose to use yours?

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