What came up in the last couple of days of not using social media is too much to cover in one post. So I will focus on one thing at a time and today I think what seems quite tangible for me is the difference in my perception of what makes me good enough in the two very different worlds: online and out there.
If we use this picture as an example:
I could have posted this picture, or another one of me in my chosen outfit for the day, on one of my social media accounts. The very gesture of posting it would trigger - or be triggered by! - the need to receive a feedback (read: approval - because I don't really want anyone to tell me that I don't look good). By not posting this picture, I took my chances and left my house without the approval but with a little bit of faith in my taste for clothes and my bruttal exercise and dieting program. When people looked at me, there were no thumbs up or down, no emojis, no compliments. I went out and I wasn't expecting people to pull up in their cars and tell me: "Love your outfit!", or:"Have you been working out, hun?!", as they might have done if they were instead scrolling down their News Feed. It was ok that nobody was making a big deal of my outfit, my make-up, my sunglasses, of me existing in the world.
So I asked myself: Why does it feel so much better to not request this approval? And if it feels so much better then why do I do it on social media? To answer my first question, I dug deep and I found this fine, yet not so subtle, difference between self-confidence and faith in self. And just to be clear, this is only my interpretation based on how I use these two different terms in my (second) language.
I source my self-confidence from my interactions with the outside world - this concept, which I imagine as a scale, a measurement, is based in my rational mind, and is based on information, evidence and my interpretations of my interactions with the world. So it is like a record of a lot of data that comes into my mind through my perception and it is then all calculated, added up, devided and made into the ever-changing average measurement of my current level of self-confidence. It is quite binary when I think about it, as it boils down to "approved" and "not approved" - by others.
Ok, so that already REALLY doesn't sound like something I want to base my self-image on. It is cold, it doesn't take into account my own feelings towards myself, and what I believe makes me good enough. It is dry and cruel.
The faith in myself, on the other hand, is based in a different place - it is a spiritual concept that encompasses my own views of what is beautiful, loveable, worthy and precious; my values, my dreams, my life context, and expectations from myself, from my environment and from my future. This place is a constant and it cannot be changed or challenged by the outside world, because it is independend from it. It is all that I love and believe in, seen clearly, and as the idea of who I want to be.
I gain self-confidence from doing something "right". I have faith in myself before I even do it - right or wrong.
The second question, why do I put myself through the judgement of the world of social media, is a frustrating one, or even more so - frustrated one. Why? Why would I do this to myself? Well, I don't think it is as simple as "I am doing this to myself". I think that we were offered social media as an innocent, playful and fun way to connect with other people from around the world, and it all grew and boomed magnificently but also out of control. There was zero indication, and let alone - education, on the enormous impact that this will have on human soul. It is the world of filtering and comparison - both of which can distort the reality. Filters: not just the photo filters that can actually be called "beauty", where we can slide the scale on a selfie left or right depending on how beautiful we want to be today - oh, no, there's a much larger filter at work here: our own filtering system of what we share with others. This picture is not good enough, this smile is not genuine enough (maybe because I don't feel like smiling?), this whole day is not good enough, my house is not good enough, my life is not good enough, I am not good enough - to show to the world. And the comparison: looking at others' FILTERED lives, we see our real ones as failures, as incomplete, uninteresting and disappointing.
Getting stuck in the filter-compare life is a long, slow road to a sad and lonely place of isolation and despair. The more we compare, the more we need to filter, the more we filter, the more we compare, and it is never enough.
I can honestly and lovingly recommend trying the faith in self. It feeds us, rather than us having to feed it as it's the case with self-confidence.