Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Need for Acknowledgement

I posted a family photo on Facebook a few days ago and was quickly reminded why I have tried to avoid that addictive little site.

Moments after the picture was posted, I received a few "likes". Comments, more likes and several more comments followed shortly thereafter.

Like an addict who just needs one more "fix", I was drawn back into the site to see if I had heard from any more of my friends.

I use the term "friends" rather loosely in the context of Facebook. Yes, I do have a few of my very good friends, close family members and people who truly matter to me within my group of friends on Facebook.

I also have mere acquaintances and a few people I don't even know (thanks to my inept scrolling abilities on a new phone one time, I accidentally hit "Friend request" while reading some of my friend's posts and they politely accepted me).

There is a lot I like about Facebook.

I have found a few friends from school who I used to be close to. I have a friend who has (on the rare occasion) posted a cryptic status update and I knew I had to call to check in with her. It is nice to keep up with family and friends via pictures and follow the happenings of their lives by what they post.

It is the addiction factor that turns me away from this site.

I removed the app from my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to scroll just for something to do. I unfollowed everyone on my page so my Facebook feed isn't filled with updates. I have to manually go in and check in on my friends.

I enjoy finding inspirational quotes and sites within a Facebook feed. I love when an animal video brings a smile to my face. I enjoy when a positive following becomes a show of support and an online cheering section spontaneously ignites.

I like that I can message and follow my son when he heads off for his solo winter vacations across the world.

I am eternally grateful for the Facebook auction sites which helped me sell of excess daycare and household belongings around here. Facebook, you have more than paid for yourself in my eyes.

I like more than I dislike about Facebook and that is the reason my account remains active. I am chiming off a list of that which I don't enjoy in my mind right now but I refuse to give the negative its due and spend my energy there.

But personally? For me and me alone? What I do not like is Facebook's addictive quality. The need for acknowledgement is not something I want to encourage within myself.

I have spent a lifetime learning how to reach out to people. The times of great quiet serve a purpose. It is sometimes good to sit and stew with one's inner demons. In the old days, I would be rescued from myself by a making a phone call, writing a letter or a visiting with someone.

I miss those days. I know it is so much easier now to reach out and "phone a friend" so many ways. Sending off a text, an email or a cryptic Facebook status draws people into your world. Sometimes it is too easy. I've pressed the panic button one too many times. Premature texting is not a good thing.

I miss the face-to-face connections but I'm grateful for the ease of reaching out and touching base with someone. I just don't want to start score keeping. I don't want to base my own personal happiness on how many friends or likes or comments I get on Facebook. It is like a quick fix. It feels good in the moment but the emptiness is more hollow in the aftermath, thus you go searching for more.

I stopped "writing out loud" for these reasons. My writing became less about writing from the heart and more about writing for acceptance. I need to find that acceptance within myself, from a place where it can't be counted or seen by the masses.

The question I am now asking myself is "If this is the way I feel, why am I writing here?"

I am writing here because it makes me accountable. It makes me show up (almost) every morning. It forces me to just write, even when I think I have nothing to say. Writing out loud helps me focus on the positives and keeps me from whining and complaining.

My inner thoughts have been rather whiny lately. I'm trying to change that. It's not as easy as it once was. I don't know if it is because I'm in new territory or if it's because I'm lonely or if I'm just plain tired. I don't know much these days. All I know for sure is that I am not going to keep score through Facebook. There must be a better way!

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