Sunday Morning Thoughts
I’ve seen many comments on FB about how people only post the polished and highly filtered version of their lives. I can understand the reasoning and appeal behind this.
Social media fills a need we all have, the need for connection and validation. I know firsthand how tempting it is to edit our lives to make them look like something they’re not, all for the benefit of others (in person and online).
I think we as human beings are trying to figure out who and what we are? We’re trying to figure out our place in the world. We’re trying to define our purpose in life, or our reason for being.
We find easy acceptance online, and for awhile that gives us the validation and attention we need. The only problem is, we aren’t showing people who we truly are. We’re giving them what we think they want. It’s often a performance, because we’re performing for their approval. We wear masks, we try to be agreeable, and we try not to rock the boat.
What happens when people online stop giving you the attention you crave? What will you do to get that very human need for connection and validation met?
It’s a question I’m asking you, but I am also asking this of myself. I think we’re all prone to occasional online folly. Taking inventory of our own online presence is important, but more important is examining why we only post the version of our lives that we think is ideal?
In marketing, they call this digital reputation management. It’s the art of curating an ideal online persona, and its usually attached to a profit motive. There is nothing wrong with making honest money.
A disparity occurs when people escalate their online antics to maintain or to draw a bigger crowd. It’s easy to make a fool of yourself, because that’s what the online crowd loves. As developmental child psychologists would say, “any attention is better than no attention at all.”
It’s humbling to think about this as a dynamic motivating my own behavior. If it’s true, than I need to work on being more authentic. If not, than I need to be less judgmental towards those caught up in the vicious cycle of people pleasing and attention seeking.
It’s my desire to develop a deeper level of self-awareness. I want to be who I am no matter where I am.
So what is it that I am trying to say? What I am saying is that I believe that true self acceptance only happened in my life when I learned that God accepted me as I am, not as anyone else thought I should be. The need to perform for the approval of others ended. Maybe that’s to general or oversimplified for some, but it’s the truth.
There is no greater freedom than being who you authentically are in Christ. This connection is unbroken. Social media offers fleeting validation, but it doesn’t compare to be accepted as the beloved of God. Our online personas are highly filtered and are false. They do not reveal the real “us.”
“I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less.”
Be blessed my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.