Updated: Sep 15, 2019
It is ironic that this post about social media is on the social media… :) Recently, I happen to watch a music video by Sunmi ("Noir"). The thought to write about this occurred because the video was highly focused on the currently existing super strong tendency for people wanting to be liked and get attention on the social media. I started asking myself: why it is so important to keep our social media appearances? Why are we doing this? Why do we sometimes do and post things that are not really good for us?
I believe that we are all part light and part dark creatures (OK that's a bit of dramatization from my side, but… I like it:) ). It is interesting how attention is addictive. I am talking from a personal point of view - I definitely feel it. I don't know if it is the same for everyone, but I can feel an almost physical change in how I feel about myself when I get attention vs when I don't. Attention makes us*feel important, meaningful, worthy. When you think about it, if we weren't (important, meaningful, worthy) why else other people pay attention to us? So it all feels good, it is good. What is the problem? It is a problem indeed because it is a slippery road. Am I just trying to find problems? Ha ha, maybe. I am quite good at it. Also, I feel that it is good to explore our perspectives about this for the purpose of knowing ourselves better.
Self-awareness is a key if we want to get to know better our unconscious/ subconscious motivations for things that we do, especially if these things ultimately are not good for us. Isn't it that we all wish we could stop doing things that we know are not good for us? And sometimes we say that we really want to stop doing this or that, but we don't stop doing this or that. Also, the opposite is true: sometimes we want to start doing things, but we again… we just don't. There is a myth about the power of will and I do believe that power of will plays a role, but … only a partial. Why? Because our consciousness and our psyche are not that simple. So basically if we don't do something that we say we want to do, it means we have some subconscious motivations that make us feel that overall not doing something that we say we want to do is better than actually doing it. If our words are saying one, but or behaviour saying something different - look at the behaviour.
Because our behaviour will show what we truly believe. If we say seeking for attention is bad but if we are somehow doing it (sometimes in manipulative ways, i.e. creating dramas, as I do…) it means that we think that it is sometimes good. So I started writing about attention. Why? It is a good example of how we split our light side and dark side and make one good and the other bad. So if we are getting attention for good things, generally it is considered a good thing, and a well-deserved thing. Nobody would criticize the person who got attention for something that he/she did if that thing was considered good (i.e. running a marathon, giving to charity, rescuing a puppy). BUT when we get attention for something that we did which is considered BAD (i.e. being rude, getting into a fight, ruining a public event, expressing our not-so-soft emotions in a public place) we are being criticized and condemned. However, we still…get attention. So did you notice? We got attention either way. If the attention was what we needed or still need to feel self-worth, we will find (or at least try ) to find it one way or the other to have it...
So why it is that some people meet this need via "good" and some via "not-so-good" means? If there is a choice to get good attention or bad attention, why would we ever choose to get it via "bad" behaviour? Well, it is to do with our ingrained learning experience. Years ago I was reading a book called "Psycho-cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz and one of the most interesting bits that I came across was about how he explained human learning experience of successfully accomplishing a goal. For example, if we have tried to walk, and we didn't successfully use our muscles as a toddler, once we have successfully managed to step the first step a memory of successfully achieved goal is created and all unsuccessful ways of using our muscles to walk are forgotten. The same is with a thing like attention. If as children we have not received attention from our mommy by being "good" and we only got it when we were "bad" this has become subconsciously recorded in our being as a "correct" (i.e. most likely to get the desired outcome) way to get attention. Why attention is so important? Because too many of us feel that attention=love. So basically we want to be loved. Also, if we feel insignificant getting love/attention means that we exist. That maybe we are alive. That maybe we are worthy. Even though inherently we are worthy, significant and loved anyway, to that group of us who haven't experienced this inherent value just by being, just by existing while we were children, it feels like we need to DO something to be deserving of that. OR/AND we need to receive this confirmation via external (other people) because inside we JUST DON'T FEEL IT.
Does that make us BAD? Nope. We are just sometimes be trying to get what we need in the ways that are ultimately not so healthy for us, and doesn't have a lasting effect. As a generation or part of a population that feels that in order to be significant, worthy, loved we need to do/get things that we don't really want/need or like - we are a bit noir.
Just so not to finish this on a depressing note I wanted to say this: we are significant even if we don't feel like it. We are worthy, even if nobody tells us that. We are loved even if at this moment we cannot see by whom. And if we want to be seen by others - we can. If we want recognition and attention from others - it is all good too. If we want to find a way to get our needs met - we can absolutely do so. The only thing that is required for that is to recognise why we do things that we do, and what is the thing behind all of that that we truly badly want.
P.S. By writing "Us*" I actually talk in plural about myself and also the group of people who resonate with this.