Saturday, November 21, 2015

100,000 Views! Self-Worth vs Cyber-Worth!

Being an author in today's times, it is mandatory to embrace as many of the social networking platforms as I possibly have time for. As much as I resisted this practice in the earlier years of my writing career - blogging, posting, tweeting, texting, pinning, face-booking, sharing, uploading, liking, linking, and so on - have all become part of my daily routine! Along with the accumulation of multiple sources of networking, it is just as important - or even more important - to rack up as many followers, views, circles, friends, visits, boards, likes, posts, subscribers, groups, and so forth - in order to get in the game and stay in the game. And so for the past few months, I have been paying close attention to my Google + page, watching the number of views climb....and climb. Over the past few weeks, my cyber-worth has continued to soar. I've felt a bit of an adrenaline rush as I see it nearing a number I did not think possible for me - 100,000 views! I have to admit, the past few days I've been checking every morning excited to see where the number is! As soon as I do, I pause and allow myself time to enjoy this momentary and mostly artificial form of self-adulation, and then I take a deep breath, inhaling my truth -

 Numbers may determine my cyber-worth, but they will never define my self-worth.

I spend time in reflection of this truth, reminding myself of why I do what I do - to empower individuals through my written or spoken words to embrace healthier ways of being and of living. I intentionally recall the emails, letters, notes, face to face conversations, or others forms of expression where hurting individuals shared their respective journeys of release, relief, and renewal. I revisit the messages I've received of how a comforting passage, a simple exercise, an example of shared suffering, or a call for compassionate accountability moved someone from a place of pain to a position of self-awareness and a posture of recovering. I remind myself of the workshops I've given, listening to participants as they disclosed their  injuries and injustices and how their healing first took hold in feeling heard, connected, and understood. And I remember how I've wept after reading their evaluations, knowing a recovering strategy or insight touched their core and altered their course.

As I honor these deeply personal testimonies, I take time to absorb their accompanying significance. Most often, because of the work I do in the areas of recovering, I am unaware of the degree to which my words or my works make a difference in the lives of others. I cannot and do not rely on the daily dosages of "likes" or "views" or "shares" to signify my work is making an impact. Rereading the vulnerable messages or recalling the trans-formative moments from hurting to healing reminds me of what is real and what fills me with value. Continuing to reflect upon their extraordinary meaning in my life, I contrast their impact on my worth to the randomness of "hits" or "clicks", and I embrace a powerful truth -

My self-worth is authentic and lasting... and it is defined by me.
My cyber-worth is artificial and fleeting... and it is determined by others.

As I start to recenter myself and get ready for my day, I can't help but think about the importance of numbers with our social networking in relationship to our worth and how it may be impacting or affecting others.  I wonder how many individuals are experiencing any of the following: 
  • Feeling slightly bummed if their Facebook post or new profile photo isn't liked, shared, or has received no comments? Or, feeling a little less confident or unimportant if it didn't receive as many as wanted?
  • Feeling angry because someone's meaningless post or tweet or video received enormous attention with tons of views, likes, shares, etc. when your thoughtful or life-altering post was overlooked or barely recognized.
  • Feeling "less than" when you've accomplished something great or met a remarkable goal, and yet your number of friends, followers, or groups is nothing compared to individuals whose behaviors are meaningless and pointless. 
  • Feeling like you don't matter when you check your technology and social sites, and there is no activity which relates to you.  
  • Feeling your worth go up - even  momentarily -  when you do receive messages, likes, comments, etc. And then, wanting more...needing more. 
  • Feeling anxious or worried if you can't check or aren't able to check your technology - to see if anyone has called, texted, tweeted, or posted something to you or at least "tagged" you for something...somewhere.  Wondering who is thinking of you... or when and if someone will.

I know that if I have felt any of these, even if it has been slightly or for a moment, I believe that others must have experienced it too.  We are humans, easily conditioned by the behaviors of social networking and their respective tools of  reinforcement. With technology and the amount of time we are spending in relationship with it, we are especially vulnerable to defining ourselves by the properties which dictate features of worth or value or lack of.

Most likely, in a day or two, or perhaps three, I will reach 100,000 views on Google +.  The day will come and it will go. The numbers may keep climbing, reaching 200,000...500,000.... or 1,000,000? And then what? As I do every morning, I will remind myself of what I do and why I do it. One truth remains constant -

My core of worth is defined by me and  by what fuels and feeds it -
my purpose and passion for helping others.  

For more empowering tools, visit...

Holli Kenley

Reclaim your voice, reinstate your self-respect, 
and make healing choices based on renewed strength and spirit. 

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