Getting ‘liked’ on Facebook is addictive. Unlike ‘real’ life you get an actual tally of the number of people who approve of you in that moment. This was all new to me until a former colleague and I started a business venture running retreats to a beautiful tropical island (see www.sunshinepsychology.com.au/retreats-2 ). Said colleague is a Facebook veteran and I am a babe in the woods. Nevertheless, it was easy to get hooked on the adrenaline of our fast rising ‘like’ tally after she made a page for our retreats (www.facebook.com/mindfulnessretreatpractitioners ). See! We MUST be good. Lingering doubts be banished!
This temporary fixation on our ‘likes’ was bizarre since we are two professional women planning to teach people to cherish themselves in a place with a mind blowing landscape. Sounds great, why the need for reassurance? Sadly we all have that nasty inner critic continually throwing up criticisms and sing-songing potential disasters. Facebook seemed to permit us to breathe a sigh of relief since others applauded our lovely retreats.
Of course, coming down from the artificial high of apparent ‘like-ableness’, I had to laugh at being so naively sucked in (yet again!) to another of life’s supposed ways to feel good enough. It made me contemplate how easy it is to constantly revert to a reliance on external validation to tell us how cool we are.
‘Am I looking attractive in my new dress today? Well, he said so, therefore I must be…wait a minute she didn’t comment at all, perhaps it is a bit skimpy, maybe Sue will tell me…’ We can drive ourselves crazy second-guessing our worth through others, only to find that people have such varied tastes that we will of course never please them all.
Coming back to what me myself and I think of the dress/work/meal/etc is the most important consideration. I wonder whether displaying each of our actions online encourages us to check whether they are like-able, and how we might feel if people are too preoccupied to comment or just outright don’t ‘like’. What if we all become really bland in an effort to please more people more of the time?
Celebrities’ suicide, eating disorders and drug problems prove that all of the ‘liking’ in the world can be no substitute for a little love and acceptance from the people who know us best, whose opinions actually matter to us, including ourselves. My belief is that the greatest love that we can show for someone is by really being at peace with the totality of them: their humour, wit, smelly feet, intelligence, bad dancing. That acceptance promotes the feeling of being good enough. Not perfect, just loveable. Doing it for ourselves is even better!