Avoiding the Social Media Trap

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 12 20 33 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I did an Instagram giveaway for one of my handmades.

So I just went through the motion of asking people to share my post on Instagram, so as to qualify for an entry in the giveaway. Coupled with the requirement of being a follower of my Instagram feeds. One of the Instagram accounts that I am connected to recently did a giveaway, so I blindly followed suit thinking it will be nice to have more followers.

Right after the giveaway winners were drawn, items mailed out to the winners. Then it dawned on me.

Why will I need more followers?

I have never planned to monetize this blog, so having more followers on my social media channels or readers to this blog don’t make a difference. In fact, from last year, I have ceased taking on product or service reviews and I have been turning down invitations for any launch or event.

So why have I stopped doing reviews or to cover activities that benefit my child or the family?

I am embarking on an effort to simplify my family life. You can say that I am depriving my child of being exposed to ‘new and fun experiences’, but I am leading the way for him to learn that joy and contentment doesn’t just come from external stimulation or experiences, but true contentment and joy comes from Who we are spending time with, and NOT What we are seeking it from.

The other reason is, I do not wish to participate in any form of activity that measures this blog or the ‘performance’ of my social media channels.

As a blogger, I think it’s all too easy to fall into this social media trap, where most look to our blogging metrics to define our self-worth in terms of what we think we have accomplished in the blogging world; though our blogging reach, social media followers, or from awards.

The recent reported spat between 2 popular lifestyle bloggers was a good example. So what does it mean to be a ‘top blogger’? If we look beyond the nice-to-haves; being paid to blog or not having to fork out money for some things. Popularity from the blog, or any form of success that we see from our pursuits, do tend to feed the ego.

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 12 18 25 PM

I think this quote by Henri Nouwen puts it very aptly, how our ego can be our greatest enemy;

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable. In short, we are worthwhile because we have successes. And the more we allow our accomplishments — the results of our actions — to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes. In many people’s lives, there is a nearly diabolic chain in which their anxieties grow according to their successes. This dark power has driven many of the greatest artists into self-destruction. – Henri Nouwen

 

I realized that as we age, we have less and less opportunities to experience the feeling of success from what we do, and social media can often give the instant gratification and re-create the feeling of success. It’s the same kind of feeling that we get from positive evaluation of good results, thank you-s from others, or having a popular blog. This immediate feedback of LIKES, Shares and hits on the blog and social media posts, not only gives a value to what we do online, but eventually who we are.

So what does it mean after saying these things?

I think metrics are good indicators of how we are performing on a certain task, in this case, blogging or interaction on social media. However, these metrics or the popularity of your blog or following can’t be the focus of your self-worth or success.

Our self-worth, is shaped by the mundane things that we do, the daily decisions that we make as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and a friend. Getting approval from others from what we write on a blog or through social media, isn’t going to provide us with a sudden revelation of self-discovery.

Self-worth is formed through the slow prodding journey that we take towards being a person of value.

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 12 52 30 PM

As for what this means for my blogging journey?

I will continue write about what I am able to see beyond what’s right in front of me, finding meaning and faith to this thing called life.

I will still do giveaways on this blog, on Facebook or Instagram. But the focus will be through sharing  ideas, joy and hope with others, or simply just giving away what I have hand-made or things that I like.

So even if it is just 5 or 50 people reading this blog, I am encouraged to keep on writing in this space.

Share it:

Related posts:

Solo-Parenting a 7 year old Boy

I have to admit that when I found out I was having a little boy, it was with a mixed bag of emotions. I would very much like to say that I was moved by the miracle of life and cried happy tears when my child was placed in my arms.

But the very first thing I said to my hb when I saw K was, ”Why does he look like that?”

Well, this shallow mom have repented since.

Lately with the recent adjustments at home, I have been reflecting about my part of being one-half of a parent to K. I used to think that the relationship between same-sexed parents and children; i.e.. mother-daughter or father-son, are extra special. However, I found out that the relationship that forms the child, are the mother-son, father-daughter relationships.

I am not just saying this since I have a son, nor do I want to downplay the importance that Dads have on their son being role models. But this combination it seems, is the ideal parent-child combination for single parents.

I may not fit into a profile of a single parent, since hb and I are still happily married. Nonetheless, the solo-parent status applies to my parenting life right now.

I asked K this question recently, “Do you think you have a brave-heart?”

His response to me was, “No, I have a chicken-heart, as I cry easily when I feel hurt and I am sometimes afraid of insects.” Hb used to say that K was being ‘chicken-hearted’ when he got too sensitive, or don’t show enough courage for challenges that he encounters.

My reply to him was, “Not chicken-hearted. You have a tender heart, that can be brave and courageous as God is with you.”

I believe I still can be the parent who will let him understand what I see and admire most in men. Build his confidence, demonstrate that actions have consequences, help him gain a tender heart, and teach him how to love God with all his heart.

7 year old 1

I am K’s mom, I am not his dad. And I will never expect to be both, as I think I will fail quite miserably.

My focus as K’s mom is to build a heart connection with him, and will never try to be the dad that I can never be.

I guess I am still in a good place when it comes to being a parent. Even if I means that I am the one who has to pick up dead lizards and get rid of any insect that find their way into our room.

Felt Bunny Softie 1

P.S. When K was a baby, I used to be so envious of people who were able to make beautiful quilted blankets for their babies. I still haven’t got around making a blanket for K, since he doesn’t have a need for one anymore.

I have found the next best alternative; softies. This isn’t the first softie that I have made for him, as he still has the wonky-looking cat softies I made for him 3 years ago. But it is the first personalized softie complete with glasses and his first name initial.

Just one of the many reasons why I love to do hand-mades, as this will be the only softie bunny uniquely like this one.

Share it:

Related posts:

Tame your Tongue…even when it isn’t fair.

The boy came back one Monday afternoon, clearly upset, as he was wrongly accused for something he didn’t do.

The story was; his form teacher confiscated his book (that I just bought for him over that weekend) as he was about to transfer it from under his desk into his bag. He tried to reason with his teacher that he was just trying to keep the book in his bag, and never attempted to read it during class time. But her response was, “I am sorry, but I have to confiscate this book.”

He then waited, 1 week after, the book didn’t come back.

2 weeks after the incident, the book didn’t return.

3 weeks after the incident, she likely forgot about it.

Despite K asking if he could get the book back from her, she answered “I will return it to you soon”, but we still didn’t see it 2 days after that. I decided to type out this message about how I felt about the incident;

Photo3

I didn’t send this message, although this was exactly how I felt. Instead, I sent this one to her. Short and simple.

Photo 1

And K got the book back the next day in school.

I told K that he just have to make sure that he keeps his story book in the bag during class time, in order to avoid this from happening again. It was not a fair judgement but he will have to comply to classroom rules.

Call it EQ, or realizing that it is NOT the right person I have to be assertive to, or simply just watching what comes out from my mouth, I just didn’t think that it was worth letting her know how I feel about the matter. Even though the boy wasn’t at fault from the start and this was the first time she thought she ‘caught’ him committing the offense.

Besides, I don’t want her to ‘mark’ K, or decide that this child has a very troublesome mother whom she doesn’t really like very much, and then decides to ignore him in class. I don’t know his form teacher well enough at this point to expect that she will not respond this way, if I were to send the first message.

So yes, my tongue is tamed.

——

Is it just age or wisdom?

Being a mom tames my tongue. Especially when you are corresponding with someone whom your child will be facing almost daily for the next 9 months in the coming year, so it is important to choose your words wisely when it comes to your child’s teachers.

Here are some words that I abide by from the book of Proverbs about watching what we say;

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble – Proverbs 21: 23

 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

 

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him – Proverbs 29:20

and my all-time-favorite?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits – Proverbs 18:21

This constantly reminds me to be conscious of what I say to my child. To use my tongue to ENCOURAGE and Build him up, NOT tear down.

So if you are saying things to your child like “You are stupid”, when you know your child is not very intelligent, or “You are a monster or a terror,” when he/she is a handful. Stop doing it.

Words can either cause DEATH; hopes, understanding, families, friendship, reputations or even death of marriages. Or LIFE; reconciliation, peace, encouragement, hope, love.

What would come out from your mouth today? Words that give LIFE or DEATH?

 

Share it:

Related posts: