Last year I got back into this blogging thing which has invaded our culture alongside “social media” and “smart phones”. I walked in knowing it would take discipline and an investment of my time. What I did not know was how it was going to affect my own self-esteem.
Once the website launched, I tied it into several other forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter. And then I invited people to “like” the page. Unless you are a Luddite, you know that “Like-ing” a page means more than just “hey, here is something pretty and shiny”; it meant that people would see my articles that I posted up alongside all of the other personal news they were getting.
I watched my “likes” climb one by one on a chart that showed each day how many Likes I was getting… it was going up and up, when all of a sudden the chart showed me that someone “UNLiked” my page. What?!
Then someone else. Then another. Each one a small prick and stab at my ever so fragile heart… (and apparently my heart is also melodramatic.)
Effectively, they hit the Like button and then later on hit the unlike button. What made it worse for me was that I could almost pinpoint who the friends were who “unliked” me.
Now, there is nothing malignant in unlike-ing a page. To Unlike means that they simply are no longer watching it; they do not care to see it come across their news stream. You would think this is no big deal; it is not like they were making a statement about me or my blog specifically… why would I take it personal? And yet I could not stop thinking about it.
For days I would come back and see the numbers continue to climb of people who were enjoying what I was sharing… and yet all I could do was stare at the red negative numbers of those who came to see and then “unliked” me and left. I was borderline devastated… and I doubted myself, wondering … is my writing that bad?
It’s a rotten way to lead life, isn’t it?
Your self-worth being tied to who likes you and who unlikes you?
As a Pastor, I have found this happens a lot. In the case of this blog, it took me about a week to finally shake it off and move on with life. Now, I don’t (barely) even care! But I believe we all struggle with being LIKED, to varying degrees … For me, I enjoy making people happy, it brings me joy to work side by side with people and see them succeed, I get pleasure for meeting someone’s needs. It is just the way I am wired. But as I have gotten older, I have also grown to understand my self worth should not, will not, and can not be planted solely on if someone likes me. Or unlikes me. If that is the case then I will burn myself out or worse, become a shell of potentiality where my whole identity is wrapped up in the acceptance of others.
And speaking from my faith, that just cannot be. My value should be based on being a creation by the creator. A child of the Father. My identity comes from a Savior who would die for me and rise again for me, too.
I can’t help but want to be liked. But I as I have grown older, I have found it easier and easier to just shrug it off if I am “unliked”. You can’t be everything to everyone, nor please every person.
But I find it very easy to live for the God who always will “like” me… heck, even love me.