If you are feeling down about your job, thinking of changing careers, or getting the winter blues, this Thanksgiving week I invite you to ignore social media and to focus on compassion and self expression instead.
Scrolling through Twitter or Linkedin, I couldn't fault you for thinking that no one who writes about work and culture ever makes mistakes. I often read posts about bosses, hiring managers, and coworkers being awful, but seldom read about an individual reflecting on their own mistakes at work. (There is of course an exception to this, the oft-told story of struggling hard and eventually succeeding - thereby showing the writer's merit and ultimate "goodness.")
I don’t recommend you share on Linkedin the times you lost your cool, or worked way below your potential because you didn’t like your boss, etc.
It’s OK to keep some things private.
I invite you to do these three things instead:
- Talk to people you trust in person. Social media gives us a very unrealistic view of life and behavior. 100% of Linkedin users have been awesome at times and complete jerks on different occasions. How do I know? Because 100% of us sometimes behave in wonderful ways and sometimes awfully. 100% of human beings make mistakes, at times really bad ones. Being present to the reality of being human will give you compassion for yourself and others, and the courage to move forward.
- Write just for yourself and/or share with those you love just to share. Social media writing is most of the time focused on getting something out of the readers (money, branding, likes, status, visibility, validation, etc.). The more we interact through these platforms, the more our sense of reality gets skewed: authenticity doesn’t mean writing something that is true in order to get what you want - that is more akin to manipulation. Being yourself means doing things just because, including journaling because you feel like writing and don't expect anyone to ever read your words, or sharing with friends because you feel a loving need to express your thoughts. In other words, being yourself means just being with no purpose or reason other than that.
When was the last time you let yourself just be?
- 3. Take some time to reflect on everything you are grateful for and everything you need to clean up in your own behavior. And then forgive yourself for what you got wrong and take the first step to do better or differently next time. Or to start anew.
You are enough right now. You are OK the way you are right now. There is not secret sauce or perfect way of being that other people are privy to and that you are missing. There are just social media games and they never amount to much. What counts is what is in your heart, right now, and the heart has an incredible way of healing. Let it heal.
Ready to ignore social media for a few days? Let me know in the comments what difference it makes once you try it.