If you put yourself out there on social media, whether it’s in a blog, a video, or even a simple Facebook post, you’re likely to get, well…feedback.

Several months ago out of curiosity, I went to the “A Journey Into Health” YouTube Channel and sorted my video posts by “most popular”. The most popular video is (and continues to be) the Yoga for Mind-body Balance one. I remember being a bit surprised since this is a longer video than I usually publish. But what caught my attention next was the “thumbs up/down” indicator next to the video:


My mind went something like this: “three thumbs up! Awesome!” “Wait, what??! Two thumbs down? Why would anyone give this video a thumbs down? And TWO people!?” I could feel my smile turning upside down (you know, in alignment with the thumbs). Fortunately soon after noticing that sensation in my body, and those thoughts in my mind, I realized that I had a choice. And that in this moment, a simple image carried some potential to affect my mood.

In Erroneous Zones, Dr. Wayne Dyer suggests that we live in an “approval seeking” culture. He also suggests that it’s OK to want to please someone else; what’s not is when we need to please someone else in order to feel good about ourselves. If we have this need, it means that we need external validation as a way of masking a lack of internal trust.

As in my example above, social media has added an interesting dimension to this approval-seeking behavior, and likely increased it. Fortunately, once I noticed myself going in this direction, I asked, “does it really matter to me if two people on the Internet don’t like my video?” I smiled. Of course not. Everyone has different tastes, different styles, different expectations. It made sense that of the almost 3 BILLION people on the Internet, maybe a few of them wouldn’t like something I published! Although I used a logical argument to address my initial reaction, I did truly feel content with that, and captured just enough to write this post down the road. In the yogic lens, I didn’t feel attached to the thumbs up, and I didn’t feel averse to the thumbs down. We all know when we truly feel this contentment, and when we are really averse to something but tell ourselves otherwise. (“I don’t care. Whatever s/he does is perfectly fine with me. Including {insert_thing_here}.” Pffft.”–is not usually real contentment. 🙂 )

The other thing about being content with this up or down social media feedback is that it ceases to have any POWER over me. I said above that this image of thumbs had the “potential to affect my mood.” BUT…only if I allowed it to. When we are truly trusting of ourselves, when we approve of ourselves, we don’t need “other”, outside approval. Therefore, we’re not giving our power away to anyone else. We’re maintaining our own personal power.

approvalThe same can be said for a lot of external feedback we get, and not just on social media. When a bathroom scale gives you a certain number for your weight, do you feel better or worse about yourself? (Better yet, do you not have a scale?!) Does a teacher telling you that you’re doing well in your studies boost your confidence, when you already had a hunch that you knew the material and were applying it well? Does a frown from your boss automatically mean you’ve screwed up?

Regardless of our Internet habits, I believe we all should start noticing how often we seek approval outside of ourselves. I say we take back our power. I say we reconnect, and be the very approval we seek.

Thumbs up or thumbs down = balanced mood
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