Self-Actualisation vs Social Media Validation

About 2 years ago I was going to meetups and language exchanges. And working. That’s what my social life consisted of. I was meeting a lot of people and adding them on Facebook. Mostly though I’d never hear or see from them again. Passengers. I had cut ties with all of the people I was closest with growing up because self-help recommended it. Or they’d cut ties with me. My social anxiety was through the roof.

Back in high school I used to be “well-connected”. Until Facebook came out. Then it went south. I’m 28 now. I never have seemed to get Facebook very well. Didn’t understand how people could have thousands of friends and get hundreds of likes. When I’ve only ever had a few hundred friends and very rarely get over ten likes. What caused it.

This has always bothered me. Not so much about feeling inferior as about feeling alone. I didn’t understand why the people I felt connected with didn’t acknowledge what I put out there to show them. A loyal few did at least. Ones who seemed to pick me for reasons I don’t know. 100% of the time women didn’t return my messages. Even if it would be the most reasonable thing in the world to do so. Being ignored on social media hurt the most when I was really doing things which were great expressions of the self I wanted to be. Making personal progress. What I am most consoled by is that Elon Musk, a fellow INTJ and probably the greatest living human, would get few likes on Facebook as well.

I’ve held onto three possible explanations why:

  1. I wasn’t working out, wearing cool clothes, taking good photos,
  2. I wasn’t enough of a social “insider”, seeing people in person.
  3. I wasn’t actualised yet; or even on my heart’s path or ikigai.

Over the last 1-8 weeks I’ve manifested all those things and more. Essentially achieved my childhood dreams or am well on the way to. An events planning organisation that ensures I have authority and more to do socially that I could ask for, with the people I most interested in knowing. My persona is now mostly that of a world-travelling, badass, pickup artist entrepreneur who meditates and learns BJJ, Chinese and piano. The Lotus technique has helped with mental health. This 100% what I always wanted to be.

Of course one hopes that their success will be met with greater esteem, love, and attention. On the contrary, though I’ve found that I’m getting less love than ever on social media. It’s chilling at times. Social standards are not good standards for everyone it seems.

What I have learned over these years is this: self-actualisation doesn’t necessarily correlate with more validation on social media. I would choose self actualisation over likes ten times out of ten though. Likes and comments fulfill just one need. Self actualisation fulfills many.

Would I do anything different? Not drastically. Only be less attached.

How to proceed? Quitting Facebook is difficult when one has business interests vested there. Not sharing so much would be good but I often feel the need to express myself there. Let people know I’m there. Is that a character flaw? It doesn’t match the stoic, private ideal. Or any of the other ideal manners of interacting with Facebook.

To question is enough for now though. It creates the requisite neural connections to go forth with wisdom.

If you don’t seem to click well with social media then I hope that I’ve taught you not to be attached to ever clicking with it, like that ESFP or ESFJ you can compare yourself with. The good news is that there’s plenty of other things in life which are meaningful. And there are other avenues to fulfil those psychological needs or transcend them.

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