Have you ever done something amazing before? Like help a friend out with lunch, organize an outreach to the needy, or simply volunteered for a social project? Well I have. One of them was being invited to speak at a youth program last weekend about self esteem! I loved every minute BUT contrary to what we see on social media, I also realized that it really isn’t every time we do something amazing that we feel excited or fulfilled. Sometimes, we are just tired, overwhelmed or a couple of other unwanted feelings, like the 3 I’m sharing with you today.
Well after doing amazing, one of the commonest unwanted feelings you are likely to get is fear. In this case, I’m not talking about the kind of fear you feel when you hear that there has been an accident and your friend might have be involved or when the time is past 12am and your dad whose phone is switched off is yet to return from work. No. Here, I’m talking about the kind you feel when you suddenly realize that the life you are living might be fake or that you might not succeed at something you’re putting so much into.
This was exactly how I felt some days ago. Now, what exactly was I afraid of?
I was deeply afraid of belittling the woman God has made me in my own eyes, because I was focusing on how well someone else was doing with her own life. I was afraid of losing my authenticity and spending all my life copying somebody else rather than becoming me. I was afraid of eye service – doing all of these wonderful, inspiring things only because I want to please others, gain their validation, applauds, likes or following on social media. Whatever happened to living a life well pleasing to God? What if mine wasn’t? For all of these and some more, I was afraid.
So, if you’ve been feeling this way too about anything, don’t worry. You are not alone. I’ll share what I did about it at the end.
Another common feeling is pride. This feeling can be very subtle. It simply involves doing something good for someone and exalting yourself so high or expecting that the person acknowledges you physically or on social media. This one has happened to me plenty times. I remember praying with someone one time and when she came out to share her testimony, I was really expecting that she would mention that I was the one who prayed with her.
Another one is expecting that because you are now doing all these wonderful things, people should treat you differently. So you walk into a place expecting people to recognize you and offer you the front seat. Gosh! That’s pride! Pride doesn’t necessarily have to mean looking down on someone else. Overly exalting yourself, even in your own mind is pride as well.
So because of my blog (I think), I’ve been receiving a couple of special treatments, compliments and mentions lately, which I appreciate but when I realized I was beginning to feel this way, I was deeply uncomfortable. Like what exactly was I doing sef that I will now be proud? No o. To curb this, I did something similar to what I did when I was afraid and I’ll share them with you at the end.
Another one is feeling wrong about your motives. Remember I told you I was invited to speak at a conference last weekend. While I was there, I will confess, I contemplated if or not to ask my friend to take a video of me, while speaking for social media. When that thought crossed my mind, I began to ask myself why? Why exactly do I want a video taken? Was it to intimidate others, to show the world what I was up to, to get cheered or to just share cos ‘well it’s my social media and I can put anything there for people’. Why? This would not be the first time I’d be asking myself that question. In fact, I once did a separate post about it here. Anyway, being predominantly mel did not help matters at all. Mel folks tend to over-analyse things, which I kept doing until I eventually didn’t tell her again. When after the program, I realized someone else had taken a video, I ended up posting it online simply because I wanted to.
You see, sometimes, on our journey, we’ll be faced with the feeling that our motives for doing certain things might be wrong. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t and maybe we think we can ignore them because they are just ‘feelings’. I mean, feelings are fickle, right? They’ll pass but no, they shouldn’t be ignored.
What then can we do when these feelings start to creep in?
- Recognize what it is.
- Caution yourself. This could just be as simple as me telling myself, ‘Seun stop. That’s pride, stop it.’
- You could try staying off social media. (Why becaausee, it’s not all events you speak at or every help you render to others that you should put on social media.)
- Pray. Remember that quiet time I mentioned here? That was exactly what I did to curb all three feelings. For fear, I laid my head back on my pillow and told God everything I was afraid of, every single thing. For pride, I had a short but sincere conversation where I told God to help me dispose of myself and always remember to acknowledge Him for the things He was doing through me.
It’s that simple, guys. I’m going to be asking some of our social media mentors how they curb these feelings when they get them and will share that with you in another post, but for now, here is all I’ve got.
Remember, as you shine your light and get celebrated for it, should any of these feelings ever come knocking? go back to your quiet place.
That will be all for now. Did this help? Let me know what I’ve missed. What unwanted feelings do you get as you scroll through your friend’s feeds on social media or as you go about doing your work? Share with me.