There was a period when no one ‘liked’ me on Facebook. No one liked my status updates, my photos or any of my posts.
Happy things happen and I want to gloat. Sad things happen, and I want to pout. Affirm me, people! But no one in Facebook-land responded for weeks. Not even my family. Not one single like. Not one single comment.
I admit, I was pretty bummed out. (But a good Christian girl isn’t supposed to be bummed out about such trivialities, right? I am, after all, the curious anti-narcissist. I get all my affirmation from God, not from people.)
My inner dialogue hummed back and forth for a few weeks. I was trying to convince myself that I really didn’t care about social approval.
But I did. So I caved. I investigated.
My brilliant technological prowess led me to discover that somehow my privacy settings were all wrong. Lo and behold, all my posts and updates had been set to ‘private’. Aha. So I’m not a social reject after all. Reset those privacy settings and move on.
But no. Because I need to analyze everything, this mini-trauma on social media begs to be unpacked.
Facebook can be dangerous for stroking egos that don’t really need any more massaging. (Because the attention-sucking diva inside me is really a ravenous monster whose appetite will never really be satiated.)
We all carry around our rejections and insecurities. I think some of us are just better at masking them than others. And some of us have learned to lean into those insecurities, to lean so hard that we fall right through them and land in the arms of our only security — God.
This is the ultimate freedom: to be so self-forgetful that your accomplishments and victories, your pains and rejections all fade into the background because you’re simply not thinking about you. To only think about the subject you’re studying, the person you’re helping, the work you’re doing, the God you’re serving.
To get over yourself.
I know this. I know about celebrity suicides, the emptiness of riches, the false allure of popularity. I know that God’s affirmation is the only one that counts and that He knows I am human, so He will send friendship, hugs, compliments, encouragement when I need them.
But to really live like I know what I know? Alas, not till the other side of eternity will I get to that place. In the meantime I settle for this truth: on this messy place we call earth, beneath our neatly polished veneers (mine: nonchalant makeup, baggy weathered off-shoulder-tee, loose curly hair I spent hours adjusting to look haphazard), pulses the beats of hearts that are fragile and broken, suffering and lost, panting for acceptance.
This is me. This is you. This is all of us.
Sometimes you don’t know how needy you are until you’ve faced rejection. I’ve just had a little reminder, reliving that childhood social angst, the ouch of being ignored. I pray that I will take this little it of pain and turn it into a kind word, a smile, an encouragement for another needy attention-sucking diva-monster out there.
Flickr photo (cc) by liquene