By Victoria Santoro, Guest Blogger August 2, 2015
I’ve noticed recently that most of my friends are posting beautiful pictures of beautiful events nearly every day on Facebook. Meanwhile, my Facebook posting has dipped dramatically as I’ve felt increasingly wary of sharing more and more of myself online. I still check Facebook on the computer just to make sure I haven’t missed another person’s graduation, engagement, pregnancy, marriage, or home-buying adventure. Instead, I’ve been trying to practice experiencing my joy, instead of posting it.
And yet this is harder said than done. I’ve become so accustomed to the culture of instant sharing (insta-gram, anyone?), that it feels as if my experiences haven’t really been experienced, because my entire network of acquaintances hasn’t experienced them too, and borne witness to how much fun I’m having. Why is it that what I’m experiencing in my heart and mind seems invalid without the public’s stamp of approval? Where are the likes, shares and comments that remind me how good I really do have it?
image via mobileappztv.com
To be honest, I’ve found this more difficult than I imagined it would be. Letting experiences exist freely, for the sake of the experience itself, is a much deeper, more profound and more difficult thing to do. It has forced me to examine why I was sharing on Facebook, what I was sharing on Facebook, and why I needed Facebook Friend approbation about my achievements, vacations, relationships, and friends. In many ways, it has forced me to figure out what is important to me. External validation never seemed to make my priority list…until I took external validation out of the equation and forced myself to live without it.
Letting experiences exist freely, for the sake of the experience itself, is a much deeper, more profound and more difficult thing to do.
I’m a fan of social media and I’ve used almost every type of it. I like to generally be aware of big events in people’s lives. But I also can’t email or text every nice person I knew from tennis camp, high school, college, graduate school and life. I’m proud of myself, my family, my friends, and my relationship and sometimes I like to share that with 700 non-friends on a powerful social media website. There is a part of me that wants to share my beautiful life with the world, shout it from the rooftops! But it is powerful indeed to contemplate why we seek the attention of the world on some of our most private moments.
It is powerful indeed to contemplate why we seek the attention of the world on some of our most private moments.
I often have to counsel people on their use of social media. All types of people in all types of circumstances. Usually, all of the advice in the world can be boiled down to this: “think before you post.” It seems so simple and trite, almost. But if we all thought more, about ourselves and the people we are impacting, the world that exists on social media would be different. We would be less addicted to “likes” and approval, less concerned with how our experiences look, and far more concerned with how they feel. We would also think about others more. About how our happiness might deepen someone else’s pain.
I’m here to advocate that you experience your joy first, and let Facebook come later. Those first moments, days, months of joy that are so sweet and good. Those are precious moments. Take them for yourself, let them melt over your skin. Pore over your happy photographs. Think about what you really want forever memorialized on the internet. And then post. Go Facebook crazy! But reclaim some intimacy for yourself, let the experience speak for itself, and let your joy be yours for just a small moment.
How do you decide what to share on social media and what to keep private? Do you think people are over-sharing?Tell us below!
Victoria Santoro is a trial attorney who practices law in Boston. She is also a teacher, speaker, and writer, maintaining her personal blog The Limber Lawyer, and contributing to various legal publications. Victoria is passionate about helping young girls and women not only succeed but also find contentment and purpose. In her free time, she can often be found training or competing for half-marathons and triathlons.
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