Just trying to change the world, one blogpost at a time.

18 June 2016

Do it for the Likes.

One of the strongest of drugs.
We seek it from our friends, our colleagues, our families, partners, people we don't even know.
We like to be liked or perhaps rather we dislike being disliked.
Our looks, our capabilities, our tastes - we enjoy or perhaps, in some way, need to be praised.
People can deny it all they want, but deep down, (for some really deep down), we get that warm fuzzy feeling when we're given a compliment, no matter how big or small. 
  I know I personally enjoy being gassed a little, particularly about my writing. I mean if you put time and effort into something, whether its a blogpost or your makeup, your physique or your work, it's nice to be recognised for it. 
The issue, like with many other things, appears when approval is desired too much. When the want becomes greater than the need.

A few years ago, when I first got Instagram I found it to be such a confidence booster.
My formative years had been spent as an ugly duckling, short, round, with a sense of style that aimed (and failed) to hide this. I wasn't one of the 'pretty girls' in school but rather one of the guys and though having my boy friends confiding in me about their relationships was comforting, a little part of me was a tad bit jealous when they mentioned the new 'pengting' they'd been scouting.
Anyway I digress...

So Instagram appeared and by then I'd like to think I'd blossomed slightly, not quite swan but not duckling either, somewhere in the middle. Still short, still round but with a better sense of style (I think?) The day my likes got to 11 and I didn't have the names listed under my picture I was ecstatic, a whole 11 likes just for me, no way! Those little emojis with the heart eyes gave me confidence levels I hadn't had before. So when I started hitting numbers over 100 it was a whole different game. Every time I wanted to post a new picture, my heart would be going crazy - did I pick the right picture (out of the many slightly different ones I'd taken), did I use the right filter, did the PicStitch border I use add or take away from the picture, had I lost my mind? It was ridiculous!

Waiting for notifications to appear on my phone, each like and comment contributing to how good I felt about myself that day. And days when the likes were low, well, the self-doubt would start pouring in. Low likes = bad picture = bad person, right? It was honestly so exhausting and so eventually I had to get rid of it (a few times), at first completely but my urge to pree was too great so I had an account with no pictures and it was bliss.

By taking out the need for approval here, the only approval I began to need was my own. Now that I've got my Instagram back and running again, sure, I still wonder if I chose the right filter and it does give me a little feeling of happiness when someone likes a picture or comments but now it's different. Now, whether or not a picture gets 30 likes or 2 likes doesn't phase me, my Instagram is now rather a collection of images and words I want to share because I like them, regardless of whether or not anyone else does.

Now some cases are not as silly as my example, really and truly if I was able to go back and speak to small Selz, I'd probably whack her round the head and tell her Instagram's not that deep. But similar patterns can be found even in more serious situations. In some cases yes, we need the approval. If you write a book, do a dance performance, act in a film, or even complete a piece of work that's going to be assessed then you're kind of banking on people liking what you do. When money's involved there is a lot more pressure to get the likes. But being able to separate the doing from the being is a skill that'll allow you to manoeuvre through life, a little easier.

They're going to come, the dislikers, naysayers, the ones who can't stand your hairstyle and the ones who think your dreams are stupid. No matter what you do, how nice you are, how much effort you put into your craft; people are just not going to like you. Being able to have a conversation with someone you know doesn't like you without feeling any type of way is a true testament of maturity and the kinda giveaf%#kness I'd like to reach someday! In all honesty though, we're all haters in some way because just as not everyone will like us, we don't like everyone either - it's just the way of the world. Rather than focusing on the likes of other people, sometimes we need to tune into our own likes; how we feel about ourselves is the most important thing, everything else falls off the back of that. Besides, just as the downers will come, so will the uppers(think I've just made up this words.) The ones who encourage, support, praise, and hit 'like' in real life.

Stay Blessed,

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