The other day I found myself posting an iPhone version of this image on Instagram after having such a fun time getting playful by this graffiti wall as I took it.
One minute later I checked if anyone had liked or commented.
Then a minute later.
Then a minute later.
And yes, a minute (or even a few seconds) later.
Each time I checked I could feel myself stepping further and further away from myself and feeling drained.
Why did I care so much if people liked that photo?
What did I really want out of the sharing of it? A certain number of likes? Or was I craving to get comments?
What kind of comment did I really yearn for? Who did I crave to get comments from? What in the world did I really want in this moment?
That whirlwind of questions left me even more drained.
But really, why was it that in this moment I craved outside support more than my own?
That is the question that I really needed to ask myself.
While I love comments and likes, I have a practice that I use that helps me not have these experiences of self-doubt be the norm and I wanted to share that with you today.
It is pretty simple, but whenever I remember to do it, it feels so different than without it.
And it is this:
Ground yourself in how you feel about your own photo first, before sharing it.
What I mean by this is to connect with what you value about the photo, why you like it and what you see with kindness in yourself in it first. Before ever letting anyone see it.
Connect with yourself first.
Say it out loud.
Write it down.
Tell it to the woman in the photo.
Why? Because then no matter what happens if we choose to share it via social media or not, we know how we feel about it.
So, back to the photo that brought up this self-doubt for me, the kind in which I forgot to ground myself in how I felt first. It was a dancing photo, one that I’ve needed to replenish valuing my own perception of lately.
I take them (and lots of them) because truthfully they are the ones that heal me the most, that are the ongoing source of healing my relationship to my self image. They help me daily and weekly to feel connected to my body. BUT…if I tell you the truth, there is a part of me that worries that they are seen as showing off or that they are received as ‘Not another dancing viv photo’ even though no one has ever said that to me (not even remotely).
Oh the stories we tell ourselves!
That first part I shared with you…that they are the kind of photo that most helps me feel at home in my body, in which I move in a way that feels so free to me and that I’m actually probably going to keep taking that photo for the rest of my life because in it I see a woman who has gone from a place of feeling like a turtle in its shell to dancing freely.
Why am I not valuing that over my totally perceived (and not based in reality) story that people are tired of seeing that kind of photo from me?
Why do we value some made up story of how we think people see us (or that one person has expressed to us that we take as the perception of the whole) and write it into reality in our bones?
Of course, feeling supported ROCKS and community can be deeply healing, but when we don’t ground ourselves in how we see ourselves, in our own value it it is so easy to feel lost when that support is absent, and take it personally. What if, in reality, our support system might be having tough days of their own, or their phone might be broken or they might be engaging in self-care by being offline….yet its so easy to take a lack of support personally, even if it really isn’t about us. By grounding ourself in self-compassion, support becomes a bonus, not the complete definition of our value.
We get to define how we see ourselves and we get to choose where we place that value: in our own hands or in the hands of the number of ‘likes’ and comments we get on social media.
When we put it that way, its easy to choose LOVE but I also know how easy it is to slip into moments of forgetting this new truth.
So these questions arise for me regularly, especially over on Instagram where we can write stories of our value into how many likes or comments we get.
The clearer we get on why and how we are putting each image out there, the more value we are placing in the way we see ourselves, not just focusing our worthiness on how other people are seeing us.
We get to choose ourselves first, with each photo we share.
And guess what, the world often responds to that energy & helps us feel more seen in that way too.