Like so many people, I’m always worried/thinking about what others think about me. I used to pretend I didn’t do this, so not only did I worry/think about it, but then I worried/thought about what people would think if they KNEW I worried/thought about what they thought about me – especially in terms of my social media activity. Urgh. So you can imagine the convoluted thoughts I’d have when interacting with people on whatever social media platform du jour. (If you want the detailed run-down, let’s grab coffee for five hours and I’ll tell you alllll about it.)
Suffice it to say I hated my struggle, and still battle way more than I should with the whole ‘ugh she’s gonna think I’m showing off if I post this’ or ‘OMG what if no one likes my photo and everyone thinks I’m a loser’ or ‘did I like and comment enough to make sure my friends know I care about them and didn’t miss their posts and won’t hate me and think I’m a bitch?’ or ‘wow this chick’s pics are AWESOME and I’ll never be as good as her so why on earth am I even posting?’, etc. etc.
Before you write me off as complete fluff and tell me you have WAY more important things to do with your time than worry about people on social media so you can’t possibly relate (congrats on that, btw!), hear me out. I’m sharing because I have a tendency to want to stretch the truth to pretend I’m all grown up and mature and above all this nonsense, but that’s just not true. It’s a STRUGGLE, one I’m working on, but one that creeps back most days and threatens to keep me from being the real, true me. And I’m sharing this on the off-chance that you might struggle with maybe just one of those worries…and then maybe my thoughts might help you realize you’re not alone in it, and then we can talk about it and maybe move away from it.
Now that you know I’m super insecure when it comes to social media interaction (which for me is 99% Instagram and 1% Snapchat), let me share a few of the ways those insecurities have manifested themselves. Years ago, when I used my IG account mostly for personal pics, I was all about liking and commenting on strangers’ pics in the hopes that they’d like and comment (and maybe even follow!!) back. Then, as I was experimenting with a few of my own ‘anonymous’ accounts – my first foray into more styled and purposely appealing content, and trying out hashtags and increased-visibility strategies – I was able to use those extra accounts to add likes to my personal account posts, BONUS! At one point I even used an app that made sure my likes and follows on strangers’ accounts equaled likes and follows back on my account. Unfortunately most of those strangers would immediately unfollow me, so after the excitement of a few new followers, I’d then watch my follower count fall back down again, so dumb. (UGH, I hated myself for that and was so embarrassed of it – and now I’m literally posting this out there for anyone in the world to read. WHY. But it’s true.)
The funny thing is, once I dropped all those stupid extra efforts to ‘appear’ more popular or well-liked on IG, I started feeling freer to post the things I really loved and wanted to put out there, and my followers and likes naturally started to go up on their own – AND I didn’t even really care as much about it! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still always nice to see higher numbers (dopamine fix, anyone?), but it’s completely different now if I post something that’s less-well-received, because it just doesn’t matter so much to me anymore.
So if you got through ALL THE WORDS and you’re still with me, here’s the payoff:
You may be a friend of mine in real life, or maybe we’re just connected electronically. And you might see what I post on Instagram or here on my site and draw conclusions about me that aren’t true – and that’s okay! This post is just a tiny effort to say some truths I don’t usually say anywhere else, to shine a light on a small (daily) struggle of mine, and to help my mind stay focused on who I really am, and why I do what I do.
I’m me, for better or for worse, and I can’t be anyone else. And if I can make peace with who I am, accept it and love it and celebrate all the things that make me different from ‘everyone else’, then I’m on the road to living out what I believe I was made for, why I exist. As I’ve walked this journey from ‘not-really-Susie’ towards ‘the-real-Susie-Brown’, I’ve gotten more excited about who I am, and I get excited at the thought of you walking towards who you really are, too.