I had an interesting experience this week where I decided nobody cares what I write, that the content I put out in the world has no value, and therefore I should stop writing and delete my blog altogether. Nevermind that earlier this week a friend told me unsolicited she liked my post on perfectionism. If I'm not getting a thousand likes on facebook, hundreds of retweets, and a million page views, there's no point.
Let's be real here: I've been chasing likes and placing all of my validation in the external world. My life is setup for it because as a journalist, I measure the success of a story by its page views and popularity. The trouble is, this blog is not like other blogs, and my reason for writing week after week is not to garner a million page views, but because I'm working through stuff and want to share my experiences with others. Part therapy, part service, this blog is not a money-making endeavor and when I use the normal yardsticks of other blogs, of course I and my writing will fall short.
|I chase likes the way birds chase prey.|
What's interesting to note is that even when people tell me they enjoy my writing or a particular post, it goes in one ear and out the other, which is what happened today. I appreciate the comments, they're gratifying, but they don't stick. Clearly, even a bottomless pit of adulation wouldn't satisfy me because there's something else going on here. I'm pretty sure that “something else” is me, and how I'm feeling about my writing.
I've noticed when I feel good about anything – an article, an outfit, baking cookies – I don't care if other people like it because I'm self-satisfied. When I'm self-satisfied, compliments stick like Velcro because they affirm something I already think, and criticisms slide off like Teflon because I don't believe them to be true.
What I'm saying here in a long-winded way is if I'm constantly checking facebook to see if people liked a post, or if I'm becoming too concerned with page views on my personal projects, it means something else is going on. It means I'm giving other people the power to tell me what my worth is. It means I'm letting my self-esteem ride on whether or not people can be bothered to show they “like” something. That's a little bit kooky.
I'm not sure what else to say other than that. How can my precious self be measured and quantified? How can I boil my being down to an electronic interaction? When I think about the people in my life, I would say it's absurd to believe their worth is dependent on how many likes they generate on facebook. Now I need to start doing the same for me.
I dream of a world where we know our worth is independent of outside factors and other people. A world where instead of chasing likes we're catching self-love. A world where we realize we are precious, invaluable, and loved beyond measure. A world where we realize our self-worth cannot be quantified.
Another world is not only possible, it's probable.