"I stopped posting photos of myself and started using meditation ones instead. I quickly lost 4500 followers."
A friend of mine told me this. I remember laughing, thinking about how silly the whole world of social media is. And how caught up in it I can get. How caught up we all can get. This particular friend has a big brain, but had been aiming for instafame when she wasn't at her desk. A job that was coveted by many in her industry. The position had been all that she wanted, similar to the likes and followers. It was exciting for her to share where she worked at parties. Waiting for that familiar look in someone's eye. Knowing that they were given her non verbal affirmations of praise.
And then there were her after work photos. Sexy, slightly revealing. Garnering attention for good looks and sex appeal is nothing new. But this was instant gratification in copious amounts. Business woman by day, instastar by night- it seemed she had it all. At least in her eyes. Except she was sort of miserable. Vocally so. Tired from long days at the office. Tired from worrying why her last photo didn't get as many likes as the one from before. Left with a phone filled with too many selfies. Confused by which angles were best. Which outfit. Which pose. Which photo would leave the world thinking she had it all.
So she stopped posting photos of herself. And looked into options for a different job. She started meditating. Longing to be back in a position where she felt excited by life. And as she started to share what was lighting her up, her following fell away. They were expecting skin, not inspiration. The funny thing is that this sort of self importance isn't unusual today. We are taught to market ourselves, to keep on doing the things that get us the most attention. Even when these things are not true to our souls or good for us.
Now I am not knocking selfies or Instagram models. Everyone is entitled to their own version of happiness. And if posting a ton of photos of yourself makes you happy, cool. But for me personally, sometimes it makes me feel weird. Like my main focus is myself. Especially if the photos have been taken for the sheer purpose of social media. I love photography. I love capturing moments or viewing other's work. Looking at beautiful images brings me a ton of joy. However, I don't want the focus of my life to be myself.
The example of my friend's experience shows that we are often celebrated for self importance. Just look at the presidential campaign. And the celebrities who are constantly in the spotlight. A lot of us do things in the world and on the web for the purpose of creating an image. Something we want to be. Something we want others to think we are. And yet, does it fulfill us? I don't really have a point to end with, other than the encouragement to practice awareness. To ask yourself why do what you do, why you post what you post and how it makes you feel. What are your views on our self importance driven culture? Do you have an inner Kardashian? Is there a balance between self love and self obsession? What does that look like for you?
All questions, with no right answers. Creating more questions and thoughts and hopefully conversations. Cheers to self awareness.