A Facebook post that got my attention

Have you ever noticed that sometimes life lessons can catch us off guard? One did that to me just this week.

Not long after connecting with a good friend, I logged into social media and couldn’t help but notice her newest post. Quite a few of her other friends, family, and acquaintances had already started an avalanche of likes, loves, and emojis in response to her online update.

How she responded felt all too familiar, and it left a bittersweet taste. Because it hadn’t been long since we had spoken, I knew she was struggling. She was going through a tough patch feeling as tough she didn’t quite measure up. So, she did what too many of us do in a day plagued with instant gratification and with social media at the tip of our fingers. She posted a cute selfie with a fun caption seeking affirmation.

A wake up call…

I recognized it. I’ve been there. And, my guess is you have too.

If I had to guess, it was probably wasn’t the first picture she took. She was sure to use just the right filter to make her eyes sparkle. I’m not judging her for her taking and retaking her “candid” shot. Because face it, we’ve all done it and none of us are as likely to post the ones that make us feel insecure or maybe give us an extra chin.

She posted with hopes of getting feedback, though she didn’t specifically say it. You’re enough or you matter. You’re liked or you’re loved. It worked. And, I saw her cling to the momentary high of acceptance from online. As I started writing this, I realized that while I have one friend in mind, I can think of several friends who might think this post is about them. What a powerful reminder of how many of us struggle with this at any given time.

What you need to know about likes, loves and emojis:

What you allow to speak value into your life is a choice.

If we allow social media to provide our sense of self-worth, we’re giving the opinions of friends, and people who call themselves our friends online but don’t really know us, the ultimate influence over our lives. Your worth, my worth is not determined by the number of likes we get or followers we have. Be self-aware when you fall into the trap of seeking affirmation online. Choose to consciously change what speaks value into you identify. Instead of checking your likes, remember who God says you are… and, for the record he says you were made with purpose and are loved. That is far more valuable than any amount of likes online!

There’s often more to the story.

Not every post holds great personal significance. Some posts really are just a sweet moment, a laugh to brighten our day, or a milestone worthy of sharing. But, many posts that we’ll scroll past in our feeds hide what our friends are struggling with and what’s keeping them up at night. If someone is really your friend or cherished family, don’t let what’s on their wall, board or profile be the only update you receive from them.

Likes, Loves, and Emojis can be empty.

Connection, real connection requires more than clicking an emoji in our favorite social media app. Yes, they’re a quick way to tell a friend, “I see what you posted.” But, rarely do they communicate “I see you.” Or “I understand what you’re going through, really.”  Think about which you want to say and take the time to communicate it. And, if you’re searching for validation online, know that you will have posts that many may like and others that will feel as though they fall flat. Your significance and your value do not change by the number of your likes.

What you practice, your kids learn.

Your children notice what you’re doing. If you’re constantly posting, repeatedly checking, they notice. Consciously lift your head out of your phone. If you don’t want them to seek for their significance online, refuse to seek yours in social media. Model affirmation in person. It will have a profound impact on their future.

It’s your turn:

So how do you make a shift? One choice at a time and through being intentional.  Why not consider challenging yourself for next seven days, or maybe even for the month of August.

A Seven Day Challenge – five things you can do:

1. Click and connect.

Each day, choose one friend (or family member) that you click like, love or another emoji and reach out to them beyond a comment on social media. Email, message, call, or get together. Intentionally choose to connect at a deeper level than a social media emoji.

2. Be real

Find a way this week to post a real update. Instead of posting that one cute selfie that looks like you or your family have it all together, maybe you post a series of three photos that show what it took to get to that one great one. When we’re a little more real and vulnerable, we give others the permission they need to do the same. Why do we feel the need to portray a life that is always together? That’s just not the reality we live all of the time.

3. Disconnect

Yup, in a blog about connecting and one tip is to disconnect. Don’t disconnect from friends, but consider reducing or consciously claiming back a portion of your day or week from social media. Studies have shown that increased social media use actually increases depression. Reducing your online time can improve your overall mood and outlook.

4. Mind your mornings

It’s easy to use your phone as an alarm clock but then without even thinking, start scrolling social media before your feet even touched the floor. How you start your morning sets the tone for the day. If this is something you struggle with, consider using a “regular” alarm clock rather than your phone or choose to avoid social media in your first hour after waking up. Phone apps such as First5 are designed to help you choose how you use your first waking thoughts in the morning. Find one to help you get on track.

5. Pay it forward.

Invite your friends to read this post and to take on the challenge.

If you’ve been encourage, take a moment to comment and let me know, and join the conversation. Are you going to try one of the challenge ideas? If so, which one. Will you try to make a conscious change over the next week? Big change can start with the smallest step.

And, be sure to click on the social media links to share this post with your friends.

Until next time, be blessed!