Hello and happy Sunday Funday. [Blogged while enjoying my last bit of sugar before dropping it for 30 days.]
My ex-boyfriend wasn’t very active on social media. In fact, I don’t think he even had a Facebook for some time while we were dating. As a college student enjoying the youthfulness of Facebook, I was very (too) active. And so was everyone I knew. I’d see so many cute pictures of couples with captions that vigorously expressed their mutual admiration for one another. And I’d be like, “Why don’t you ever post cute things about ME?!” He’d tell me he didn’t feel the need to publicly showcase our personal lives to strangers on the internet. Or that he was too busy sneaking around with other girls, honestly it’s a little fuzzy. But I think what he was actually saying was that he didn’t need other people to like or comment on our relationship for some sense of external validation. That he was content with spending time together and enjoying that time, instead of posing for pictures to show people we were enjoying said time. Or maybe he didn’t want anyone to know he had a girlfriend, honestly it’s a little fuzzy. I’m kidding. But actually writing this now, also realizing I’m maybe not kidding.
If that first explanation was in fact true, then I get it. I didn’t back then because as a young, dramatic only child, I wanted people to see how iN lOvE we were, and I needed that external validation. And you know what? I still do. We all maybe do to some degree? And perhaps it stems from a place of insecurity about putting ourselves out there the way we see ourselves. In my case, I think deep down, I was insecure and unsure about my relationship. But if other people liked our picture or told me how cUtE we were, then maybe I was doing something right. I was leaning on other people’s approval to determine how secure I felt about something in my own life.
Whenever I have doubts about a decision, I look to others for a sense of truth and approval instead of looking inward at how I feel, and unapologetically standing firm in that decision. It could be small things, like the wallpaper in my house or the outfit I wear. Or bigger things, like the decision to quit my job or how I show up as a business owner (oh, I started a business).
Do you remember your life before social media? When you could just do something you loved to do without needing 100 hearts or 27 comments from strangers? Without feeling like if you didn’t capture a moment and share it on the internet, that it somehow didn’t happen? Or that it has less value because less eyes were on it? So fucking weird, you guys.
When we let other people’s opinions and “approval” drive our own measure of success, we fail. Because you can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t want to. Feeling supported by your inner circle is important, but that circle should support you no matter what path your life takes. No one else is on this journey — it’s just you. So trust your instincts, your abilities and your decisions. Your own validation is the only thing that should drive them.