Social media. The phrase has evolved to be commonplace in conversations over the past decade. Even if you don’t know what TikTok or Facebook or X might be, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard these two words, social media, used in some capacity.
It’s one of the few phrases that is viewed with equal parts elation, excitement, disdain, and disappointment. There are those who chase likes and follows and shares, basing their sense of worth on how many times someone clicks or taps a button. I’ll fully admit that I’ve fallen into that camp and still do from time to time. It’s partially human nature, when we are validated, even if from behind a computer or phone screen, that it acts as a sort of intoxicating and addictive drug that we matter to someone else. I intentionally use the words addictive drug because the slippery slope this outlook creates can be beyond dangerous.
I’m not going to lie. When I see a new notification with someone liking or commenting on one of my posts, it feels good. I suppose we’d be lying to ourselves if we suggested otherwise. And it is important to have our thoughts and ideas validated by those who we share them with. But it should never be the sole (or even a big) piece of our self-worth foundation. That needs to come from within.
I know, this is the same fluffy self-help message that you’ve heard a million times before. Find happiness and self-worth from within. Look inward not outward. You are in control of your destiny. Yada, yada, yada. But something happened recently, and ironically it was on social media, that helped me appreciate the sentiments previously shared in a powerful and eye-opening way.
As most of you know, based upon the name of my author newsletter Caffeine for the Soul, the idea of our souls containing the essence of who we are is an important element of my brand. I happened to stumble across the Facebook page for an author, poet, and Reiki practitioner in my browsing one day. The words shared through one of her offerings really hit home:
True growth is seeing myself walk away from the same things I used to chase after.
I read that passage several times, nodding my head more with each iteration. And then it dawned on me. There’s an opposite but equally important thought that accompanies this one: Perhaps growth is different for some, chasing after things we used to run away from. It hit me like a lightning bolt from the sky. It ignited that spark in my soul that I so often speak about in my own posts.
But this thought came about because of someone else, and on social media, no less. It caused me to stop and think. I tend to see things in black and white, this or that, good or bad, one extreme or the other. I’ve swung between both ends of the spectrum on my thoughts about social media. Not only are there varied shades of gray (using the black and white analogy), but there are also splashes of color that brighten the canvas on which we’re composing our own masterpiece. This experience was one of them.
Let’s return to those two words, social and media. Social implies companionship and the need for connection. Media is the means by which we communicate. Together they offer a way to connect through communication. It’s not the only way, nor should it be, but when we look at with the right set of eyes, it becomes clearer that sometimes looking outward gives us the best opportunity to direct our thoughts inward.
Chase after that thing you’ve been running away from. Or walk away from that thing you’ve been chasing. The most important thing is to pause, reflect, and consider your next step. It’s an important one. Go forth and grow. Bloom into the person you were always meant to be.
Would you like to connect with Dave and learn more about his daily thoughts and life as an author? Join his community, receive a free copy of his Pigeon Grove prequel novella, Fly Away Home, and be the first to share a sip of caffeine for the soul each month!