Tag Archives: Likes

Self Care In A Pandemic (42): What Are Your Mentors And Role Models Doing?

I don’t know who you look up to in life, or what you aspire your life to be more like. Many people when they are younger have role models that they look up to in terms of their career / occupation, fame, beauty, fortune or lifestyle.

As we gain in maturity, however, and as we realise more of ourselves in this world, and experience more of the harsh realities of life, our ideals and aspirations can change.

A ‘phenomenon’ of the past decade has been the rise of You Tube ‘vloggers’, personalities and influencers. While it is commendable that many young people have been quite entrepreneurial in building up these platforms and working hard to do so in what was once a new media form, I do feel disheartened that so many of them never seem to move past ‘influencing’ in terms of brands, beauty, health and fashion.

I think with maturity (not necessarily age) comes the desire to use our platforms, our voice for a greater good and to speak up on issues regarding social justice, helping others, raising awareness of key issues in society rather than just fun, games, and self focussed content. That’s not to say that these people aren’t putting something positive and hopeful into the world, it’s just not something after a certain age many of us want to aspire to or stop at.

In terms of role models and ‘mentors’ or people who I look up to, it is those who have faced and overcome adversity and who are seeking to help other people with what they have been through and what they have learned. I think this is because this is a journey I am on myself, having overcome many hurdles, and being on the cusp of being able to do more to help others as I continue to recover myself. I also look to people who are more focused on the inner content of their characters rather than only the outward appearance of things, although I do think there is a place for aesthetics and outward beauty, we only need to look to the creation and beauty of nature to see this and to think about how images and pictures and art can boost our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Whoever it is you look to, perhaps this is a good season to think about what they are doing and how they are finding positive ways forwards in the pandemic.

Are there people, whether known personally to you or not, who are doing something to help other people in this pandemic?

Are there those who are advocating for mental health, social justice, fairness, and humanity?

Are there others who are reaching out to the most downtrodden of society and seeking to lift them up and give them the chances that they never had?

Do you have role models who are overcoming or who have overcome adversity and who can provide a pattern for you to follow, or at least some ideas for you to implement in your own life?

While we may sometimes feel at a loss in this pandemic for what to do, how to use our time, or how even to make it through our days ‘in once piece’ if we are really struggling, it can be helpful to look to the lives of others who have found or are finding the strength to persevere and to make the most of what they have got, live out lives of faith and put kindness back into the world as they help others.

Who inspires you today? What lessons can you take from their example to apply to your life this week? x

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Are you Liked?

Social media has changed things. For those of us who are young(ish) adults, we may remember a time before the Internet (yes, younglings….there really was such a time! and no, I’m not old 🙂 ), the transition to when the Internet first came to be, and our first intrepid steps into this new world of knowledge at our fingertips. Yes, sometimes that knowledge would be a bit slow to load up on our computer screens, we had dial up modem connections and we also had a bit more patience. These were the days when our first instincts when presented with a school or university paper to write were still to go to the ‘LIBRARY’ (yes, the kind of library with books made of *actual* paper 😉 ) to do our research, and perhaps venture into the strange and novel ‘World Wide Web’ to supplement our findings.

Put in perspective of the length of human history, it is fair to say that the Internet is actually quite a new creation, and hasn’t actually been around for that long. And yet, nowadays, it seems like babies are weaned on the milk of electronic gadgets and gizmos that are rapidly changing and developing, and many school aged children, even very young children, cannot imagine a world, or their lives, without the Internet, and have never experienced such a world.

So although as adults, those of us who were growing up just as the strange language of this mysterious ‘Web’ began to enter our parlance, or who were already ‘fully fledged adults’ as it were, had passed through those fiery adolescent years of wondering if anyone liked us after all, we are still faced with this nervous desire to know whether we are ‘liked’ every time we connect to the web. Or at least, most of us are.

Social media has changed things. In many parts of the world it is absolutely and irreversibly the norm. We no longer see the Internet primarily as a tool to gain knowledge or to supplement education and learning, but as a multifaceted, ubiquitous, all things to all people, source of input, entertainment, news, gossip, stories, celebrities, fact, ‘fake news’, colours, noise, opinions, ideas, creations, inventions, innovations, trends, popularity contests and the seemingly endless list goes on and on and is daily reinvented.

Perhaps those of us who blog seek a quieter and more reflective online space, that the more fast paced social media tools that we may also use such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and there my knowledge of such things ends 😉 ) would grant us.

But nonetheless, even the more reflective world of blogging shares the common feature of the ‘like’ facility.

How many of us log in to our Word Press accounts and immediately look at that little bell at the top right of the screen to see whether it has a little red or orange marker to indicate that someone has ‘liked’ or appreciated our content? You can be honest with yourself here.

It is a fascinating little ‘button’ that often makes me smile when I click on it, mainly because it makes me feel more connected to you. I realise that on the other side of this computer screen are real people, with fascinating stories, unique lives and thoughts, who have taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate mine. That is really something special, I think. And truly, the Internet can be a wonderful place, with some truly special people in it.

However, sometimes I wonder whether there is something about that ‘like button’ that triggers an instinct in ourselves to evaluate who we are, our value, and the value of what we have to say by how many ‘likes’ we receive. If we pour our heart and soul into writing something meaningful to us, and it is not noticeably acknowledged, does this in turn impact our self-esteem, even on a subconscious level?

Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘likes’ are wonderful. I genuinely like ‘likes’, and feel more connected with other people online because of them. However, if we find that our attention is unduly drawn towards whether something we have shared on our blogs has been liked or not, if we feel our heart sink if it hasn’t, and if we feel a glimmer of old feelings from childhood and teenage years when our likeability by our peers seemed to be a direct evaluation of our perceived worth, then perhaps it is time to take a step back.

I know that sinking feeling. And I know it has deeper roots than anything Internet related. As a child I was badly bullied for a few years, and I was worthless. I didn’t just feel worthless, but my existence was consumed by this rejection, the not measuring up, not being liked or being actively disliked, of being undesirable, outcast, rejected, neglected, unworthy, broken, hurting, isolated, ignored, overlooked, despised and alone. My broken heart and wounded mind is still being repaired and undergoing a process of transformation. No child, or adult for that matter, deserves to feel that way. And the more I think about it, the more I realise I feel passionately about encouraging other people, as well as myself, to know that although it is lovely, and a natural human desire, to be appreciated, our worth as individuals, as members of this community, and the worth of what we have to say and to share cannot be diminished by the lack of a ‘like’.

You *are* a star irrespective of whether anyone has pressed that star to like your post. You are unique, incredible and fascinating, with stories that no one but you can tell, and a world within a world of thoughts, imagination, hopes, dreams, fears and love. You can change things in everyday small quiet ways and even that in its own way is revolutionary. You are important because you are you. This is our humanity. And sometimes, as wonderful as the Internet is, the online world can rob us of that assurance. We are faced with numbers, targets, statistics, comparisons, and we are encouraged, especially by advertisers to never feel quite good enough – the next achievement, or makeover or purchase will add value to our damaged, inadequate selves.

And yet, despite our brokenness, our mistakes, our evaluations of self and others, we are infinite. And we are important. And even if we are not ‘liked’, we are created for a reason, and we are LOVED.