Despite my internal kicking and screaming, I realize that posting pictures is here to stay, and social media marketing is a practical fact of life. Through the process of my reluctant acceptance, however, I’ve learned a little bit more about myself and discovered a new perspective about why we do what we do, and how we can consciously make a choice to maintain balance between the engaging in the world of devices and interacting in the world we actually live in.
After all the daily asana practice, breathing, stretching, etc., yoga ultimately boils down to the study of the Self. So conveniently, social media has given me the opportunity to see more deeply into my own insecurities and perceived shortcomings. I’ve noticed my own behavior and reactions after posting pretty much anything, and honestly, it’s a bit weird.
Regret and remorse consistently arise almost instantaneously, combined with a sweaty mix of anxiety, apprehension and self-doubt. How many people looked at it? Who “liked” it and who “loved” it. But moreover, who didn’t? And why not? Is the picture lame? I thought it was kinda cool/funny/smart/cute? The self-concocted questioning and explanations can go on and on … I mean really, it can get downright ridiculous.
What I’ve grown to understand, however, is that most of us as humans have a conditioned insatiable need to please and be validated by others. We were raised that way. We were brought up being rewarded for our successes and if we were lucky, comforted in our failures. Makes sense, really. Encouragement and compassion should result in growth. Posting, blogging and sharing on social media does allow for that, but by the same token, it also can make us vulnerable to judgement, criticism or worse. Ironically, it exacerbates our need for approval, real, perceived or otherwise.
After a recent discussion with a fellow teacher about yoga’s profound impact on calming the Fight or Flight response, I realized I had been flight-ing from social media. I also realized that, I’m generally a flight-er. My version of flight-ing, however is not exactly running away. Instead, it has been doing my best to not be noticed. Growing up, the unspoken message was: Always do your best, remain quiet, reserved, controlled and blend in the best you can.
This kind of unobservable perfectionism allowed me to avoid fanfare, go unnoticed and stay disconnected. Yoga, however, has taught me to be more open. To express my feelings more openly, to find my connection with others and muster the courage to live with an open heart. Granted, there have been times when I’ve been hurt by this choice. But after living the shorter half of my life one way, and the better part of my life this way, I still believe it’s the way to go. The rewards have been immeasurable.
So, while technology now has an undeniably huge place in all our lives, human connection is irreplaceable. Now the task is to unearth and discern the line in the sand. Where can we find a comfortable balance between love and boundaries, extroversion with introversion, fighting and flighting, social media/texting with real-life socializing? Guess it’s like catching that moment of perfect balance in your yoga practice, amid the constant teetering between strength and effort, flexibility and determination, focus and ease.
Where we find balance, whether it’s on our mats, in our lives, in our emotions, reactions or relationships, we will always be subtly shifting, adjusting and evolving, day to day, moment to moment, breath by breath.
Now, I’ll just try not to sweat it…