Follow, unfollow, like, comment, delete comment, screenshot, message, text. Regardless of our geographical distance apart, in today’s world we are all connected constantly by these little boxes we hold in our hands. All day long I send and receive messages on my phone, and there’s a percentage of them that go something like this: Did you see this? *screenshot* What is this about? *screenshot* Seriously?! *screenshot* Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they make me roll my eyes, sometimes they squeeze my heart. All of the time they take up space in my brain that should really be devoted to other things. It's easy to get caught up in things that have nothing to do with us. Because we are people, because we are “working”, because we are nosy af.
Separating the real from the rest of it is very tricky for me. So, in the interest of keeping it real, let’s be honest: we all put these things out there. Our highlight reels. These snippets of our lives. The things we want people to see. Sometimes the things we want particular people to see. Sometimes we wonder if something has been put out there by someone else specifically for us. We wonder if and why certain people are watching us. It would be easy enough to just ask, but for some reason, we don’t. It’s easier, apparently, to just tap a few names or type in a few words and get yourself lost in that spiral. We peek at the highlight reels of people we love, and people we used to love, and people we decidedly do not love, and we connect dots that probably aren’t dots at all. For me, that’s when the tailspin starts. Somehow I have given it power. I have let it take on meaning far above and beyond the meaning it deserves. I have to stop constantly and remind myself that it’s not real. There are times when I see something online that pulls my day to a screeching halt. It can make me doubt my abilities, and even worse, it can make me doubt my relationships. And it’s not the people. I know absolutely which people love me and which people don’t. The people are real. But those feelings. Those feelings of doubt, insecurity, isolation… those feelings seem so real, and the fact is they are just not.
I’ve been wasting a lot of time on the unreal. I spent some time with a friend recently who told me, “You cannot make decisions for anyone except yourself.” Boom. Why should I concern myself with who is watching me or who is not watching me? Why do I click on these names and like and follow and friend and connect invisible dots? Why do I put importance on what they think of me, or if they think of me? The truth is, they are right in that little box, obviously thinking of me, because I'm somehow part of their weird voyeuristic spiral, too. And these spirals are not important. They do no good for any of us. We need to focus in on the REAL. For me, that's my boys, my business, my family, my amazing friends. The people who allow me beyond their highlight reel. They are my real. And they are so important.
I have learned just in the past few months that the best way for me to feel whole, to feel like I matter, is to try to let go of that idea of the highlight reel, and to try to recognize it for what it is in others. It’s not easy. I doubt myself all the time. I fall back into the highlight reel mentality all the time. But I can no longer send myself into that spiral. I can’t connect imaginary dots any more. It is up to us how we use these little boxes- after all, we can only make decisions for ourselves. Other people’s imaginary dots do not determine my self-worth. I choose to put myself out there authentically and to be as kind and as loving as I can, and to enjoy those genuine real connections that come back as a result of it. Those connections are real and they have power; the good kind of power. The uniting kind of power. The uplifting kind of power.
Let’s be less nosy and more caring. Let’s use less judgement and more sincerity. If we want to know something, let's just ask. Let’s share and be honest and be real. Let’s send less screen shots and more I love yous. Let's strip away that highlight reel and show the REAL. If we can do that, if we can ease up on ourselves a little bit, I really do believe that we might just be okay.