I’ve only been on social media for a short while and to my surprise, I love it! I was hesitant to join but recently decided to dive right in, both feet first. Truth be told, it’s only been a couple of months, but with all the “likes” and comments, I have been relishing the way a simple thumbs up or short words of encouragement can lift the spirit. One day, however, I was basking in the excitement of positive social media feedback when I received a post. It was a harmless post of someone enjoying a celebration. But, I wasn’t invited! I realized in that moment the fragility of “likes” and positive comments. One minute I was thinking social media was the best thing next to sliced bread, and the next, I was saddened that I wasn’t invited to something to which I would have normally been invited.
I know I’m going out on a limb here. It’s not fun to admit to have childish, immature thoughts. However, the reason I decided to write this entry is because I know countless experience this same thought process. Many research studies link depression to social media (for example, http://www.uh.edu/news-vents/stories/2015/April/040415FaceookStudy.php) with social comparison as the culprit. Last month, I wrote a post entitled, “Comparison is Violence.” As I explained in that blog entry, the habit of this emotional tug-of-war is suffering. I know better than to compare myself with others. I know that comparison creates my own suffering. How did I fall prey to it, once again?
This is the heart-breaking reality of the human condition—to envy that which you are not and do not have. When we compare ourselves, our lives, accomplishments—even the invitation list to someone you consider a friend—we need to remain grounded in who we are, our identity. There are many truths that can center us.
One truth that particularly centers me is that I was made with, by and for a Purpose. Do I know that it would have been better for me to attend the celebration? When I see certain posts on social media, my immediate, gut-reaction is to feel discouraged or envious. However, when I take a step back and question my thoughts, I realize the need to center myself, to discipline my mind to accept truth—I have Purpose. This truth is grounding on so many levels; it maintains its truth even with something as silly as an invitation list. I wasn’t meant to be there. It wasn’t part of the plan, my path, my purpose for that day.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” There’s no magic pill. There’s no easy way. Day after day, night after night, we need to center our thoughts. At the end of the day, it is simply and profoundly guarding our minds in our true identity. I am reminded of a time when my daughter was a toddler and had scary dreams. My husband loves scary dreams and in order to console our daughter, he told her to send the scary dreams to him. So, with our little girl’s imagination, she said, “Ok, Dada, I’m going to put my scary dreams on a train and send them over to you.”
What thoughts do you need to send away? What are the truths that ground you?
11/4/2015 08:41:17 am
This is vulnerable but applies to everyone equally, we've all felt this way! Thank you for sharing, I love the idea of making a well worn path in my mind of the right thoughts...
11/5/2015 03:40:42 pm
Thank you for your support and for sharing. I'm so grateful for your encouragement to be vulnerable!
11/4/2015 08:46:53 am
Such an important skill to practice daily. Your vulnerability makes me want to be be vulnerable about the same thing. We have all been there, but we are not all willing to admit it. That's the first step, right?
11/5/2015 03:45:27 pm
Knowing that it has encouraged you to be vulnerable makes this post all worth it! Yes, I do believe the first step is awareness. I believe life changing things can happen when we are aware and willing to share! Thank you for your support!
11/4/2015 10:48:53 am
I listened to a wonderful message last week in which the speaker addressed comparison and being 'kind' to ourselves- just as we strive to be kind to others. But why are we so hard on ourselves? If we are stable in our True Identity and Purpose, then why the constant comparing, or desiring to 'be included'? I really resonate with this post because of living life overseas for 15 years... missing family get-togethers, birthday parties, the birth of a nephew, or funeral of a beloved relative- I would see pictures of friends and family 'back home' and feel painfully 'left out'. Now that I'm back in the States, and check in with our friends back in Asia who are on social media- I feel left out all over again! I should be there! If I was still there I would have been in that picture! It's kind of like torture....
11/5/2015 03:50:16 pm
I appreciate your vulnerability and sharing how this post resonates with you. Isn't it amazing how Purpose reaches beyond culture, time, age and socioeconomic? Thank you for sharing your experience, insight and support!
11/4/2015 11:06:35 am
One of my current words to live by quotes is from Ann Voskamp. She says, "You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see." How we see ourselves and how we connect or don't connect with those around us profoundly impacts how we live. Would you say that finding our true identity to ground ourself in is what helps us move comparative thoughts away? And if so, do you have any suggestions on how to ground ourselves in our true identity? Thank you, Asha. Your meaningful words inspire.
11/5/2015 03:55:42 pm
I love that Voskamp quote! For me, as you have asked, grounding and centering myself has been the most helpful in escaping the vicious cycle of comparison. Yes, this is easier said than done. There's no magic pill, no easy way, it's a matter of discipline. Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines has made a profound impact for me. If one has not found their identity or purpose, I would highly recommend coaching!:) Thank you so much for your support!
11/6/2015 11:55:02 am
11/7/2015 03:54:59 pm
I enjoyed reading this. A great reminder that we are reaponsible for our own suffering and our own peace and happiness. Our best lessons are learned experiencing both.
11/15/2015 02:27:59 pm
Thank you Dana for sharing your thoughts. We learn profound lessons during times of suffering and seasons of peace, like you said. It is hard to remind ourselves in times of struggle, but we have the opportunity to allow it to strengthen us. Thanks again for sharing!
11/19/2015 10:51:47 pm
Asha... I just read your blog.. Interesting as we are vulnerable human beings and react from our emotions. It's a human instinct to feel left out even for just a split second. It's what we do with it that counts. At that moment of feeling vulnerable we forget God's Purpose for us. I bring myself back by asking myself was it that important that I be there? Maybe yes, maybe no but we can't be all places at all times.. I miss being with my girls who live just a few miles from me.. I know they spend time together. Sure I feel left out at times but it makes me more aware of my actions and choices. They don't leave me out on purpose. I miss doing things with my daughter in law and kids but they have a new family and it's a new journey for them. You are filled with much love and have become more confident in your life. Stay focused on your new Purpose that God has given you.
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It's hard to believe, but I have been in business for almost 7 years! As my business has grown, I have decided to take a break from blog posts and focus my attention on providing specialty services, some of which include Purpose Clarity Coaching, Life Map Coaching, and Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Types Coaching. I have received certifications in each of these areas (accredited certifications for CEU through the Center for Credentialing and Education). While I miss interfacing with you through this blog, I am excited to offer additional services to my clients. Please enjoy my blog archives.
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