On world Selfie Day, Yes, June 21st is officially "selfie day" I lent into how uncomfortable it felt to try to create a “share worthy” selfie and how judgmental I became of each image I took. Too cheesy, too smiley, too unauthentic, too posed, too many things in the background, too old, too little light, too much light, the wrong angle, eyes too open, eyes not open enough and on went the self-critic….
As a business owner my mentors say it’s imperative to have a strong social media profile in order to create more awareness of the supportive mental well-being programs I offer. This compelled me to think, posting a “selfie” on "selfie day", using all the right hashtag’s of course, should surely boost my profile another notch or two in the mammoth space of the social media world. Perhaps there’s a little FOMO here (Fear of Missing Out) and in fact, isn’t that the sense social media creates, that we’re somehow missing out if we’re not part of it. I won’t even begin to go into how fear drives so many unhelpful behaviors.
Coming back to Selfie’s on "selfie day" and FOMO. My venture into giving this selfie thing a go, made me very mindful of self-doubt, the inner self-critic, a sense of not measuring up or not being good “enough”, of how comparing and judging feed low self-esteem, low self-worth, anxiety and depression. Exactly the issues the programs I offer look alleviate.
This has been an interesting little experiment. For someone who feels they have done the hard yards to arrive at a place in life where I enjoy the benefits of a sense of high self-esteem, (it wasn’t always the case I can assure you), it was interesting to take note of how attempting to expose myself (not in a rude way) on social media, saw judgment, comparison, doubt and unease arise.
Imagine our teens, in their constantly switched on worlds always trying to fit it, look good enough, post the perfect selfie, and then rate it on the number of likes they get. Imagine the blows to their self-esteem when they don’t get as many likes as someone they’re comparing themselves to or worst they get a negative or harsh comment from a peer or so-called friend.
One of my own teens came to me the other day mortified that a girl in her social group had commented on a friends rather innocent selfie with the comment, “that’s so dank, why would you bother posting that?” This comment was to a girl who has been clinically diagnosed with depression. My heart sank at the comment with a sense of the damage such comments do. To some this may seem a rather innocuous comment, and in comparison, to some of the things we hear about in cyber bullying, perhaps it is, yet the impact on the young girl on the receiving end was not innocuous and thankfully she reached out for support.
Social media can add value when used in an ethical and beneficial way and that's why I said Yes to embarking on a year long program to learn all things social media for not-for-profits and social enterprises. This journey at times is taking me way outside my comfort zone and today's little adventure into posing for a simple selfie, certainly gave me a lot of food for thought.
6 months in, there’s a few things I am realising:
Spending lots of time on social media to see what others in a similar space to me are doing, feeds comparison, self-doubt, ignites a sense of competition. Noticing this, I pause, step back and become aware of a sense of uneasiness of being in the social media space.
The pause is important. Being challenged to seize every opportunity to post on social media in order to build my brand, I’ve learnt to take note of the inspiration to post when it hits, feel into whether it feels right and authentic, to set aside the post and come back to it later, and if it feels right, then post, if it doesn’t, simply let it go.
When posting – I ask these questions:
What is the intention behind sharing this snippet with the world?
Who does it benefit?
Does it align with the core vision and mission of my business? “Which is to share education and evidence-based programs to support mental well-being across the lifespan” and “To empower people to thrive not just survive.”
Does it meet the criteria of “doing no harm”?
Will it educate, inspire and help others thrive?
If a post meets these criteria, then I’m clear to post. If its trivial, unrelated to my business’ vision and mission and will not add value in a positive way to the lives of others, then for me, it’s simply not worth posting.
When I slip up, I’m human so its highly likely I will, by sharing content that isn’t for the benefit of others, feel free to give me a nudge so that I stay on track and aren’t tempted to lose my way in the social media world.
Oh, and here’s my slip up as I include a selfie I worked hard to make share worthy, the inspiration for this post.