Surrounded by more technology than ever before, it is no wonder that people live so much of their lives through social media. These days we don’t even need to know an individual personally to know a little too much about their personal life. Privacy is no longer a priority, and ironically, it is one of the most vital components required for a healthy relationship. Is it any wonder we struggle to find good examples nowadays?
The “like-mind” is one that is dominating our culture. The ability to click on a button and show your appreciation through liking/sharing has become a second-nature, but is this seemingly effortless action capable of causing more harm than good?
To like or not to like
I remember a conversation I had with a friend regarding this. He was telling me about an experience where he shared something on Facebook that he hoped his friends would find encouraging. He told me that after checking back at intervals, he saw that his post was yet to get any ‘likes’. An hour passed by and there was still no activity, so he considered deleting the post completely. It was only once he sat back and considered the reasons why he had shared his post in the first place, that he was able to accept leaving it up whether people clicked the ‘like’ button or not.
I’m sure there are many of us who can relate to this experience. If we usually see people acknowledging the things that we post through liking/sharing, then it can be difficult to accept when this doesn’t happen. There are many of us who would go ahead and delete the post if there was a lack of public affirmation, but why?
As in the case of my friend, he had to sit back and consider why he had decided to share his post. It was almost as though he had to remind himself that he had shared his post to offer some encouragement to others. We measure things according to the actions that we see in the form of liking/sharing, but what about the actions that we do not see? We never know how effective our seemingly small attempts to reach out can be, and this is something that we need to keep in mind in order to maintain a stable mindset and remain consistent in the work that we set out to accomplish.
Seeking public affirmation
The hardest thing is learning how to recognise the opinions of others without allowing them to define you as an individual. If you posted up a picture of yourself and one person liked the picture, how would you feel? If you are someone who is used to receiving a substantial amount of ‘likes’ and then this happened, then you would probably assume that there was a technical error and remove it. But if you are someone who doesn’t necessarily use social media, then you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid if this happened. You may think that someone deleting a post for lack of ‘likes’ is pushing it a bit, but I have to confess that I have been there also.
I know how it feels to receive attention just because of the way you look- nothing more and nothing less. I found myself spending ages in order to perfect the way I looked in a single picture, and often this meant taking picture after picture until I was happy. But I didn’t stop there! Next came editing the picture with filters, and I spent more time ensuring that I chose the right one. It’s only now that I can look back and recognise the lengths that I was going to, just to gain the approval of others. Society has ever changing perceptions of what beauty is, and the mindset is a contagious one. Simply put- the more ‘likes’ we receive, the more accepted we feel. This reflects upon so many other aspects of our lives- in everything that we do, there is a deeper need to feel a sense of acceptance.
Now imagine how dangerous it is to be so caught up with this mindset and then get into a relationship. Because we have conditioned ourselves with the “like-mind” way of thinking, it’s easy to end up having a very critical approach, either towards the person that you are with, or concerning the way that they see you. You can end up wrapping so much of yourself around one individual, that you lose your own individuality. The only way that we can have a healthy, balanced perception of ourselves is through developing a firm relationship with God. The more you walk with God, the more He will teach you about what it means to love without conditions, and to live free of perceptions.
Finding the right balance
We were not made to be idolised. When we accept praise and glory that was never ours to accept in the first place, we end up on a very slippery slope. God expects the opposite because He truly does know what is best for us. We need to practice humility just as Jesus did, if we are to experience fullness of life in the way that God intends.
Share your thoughts on this topic below