I had an experience yesterday morning that hurt my feelings. I wasn’t expecting the reaction that I had to the incident, yet it reared its ugly head anyway.
It was a comment on a Facebook post that was meant as a thank you to the folks who regularly contribute to a group, but my name was not included. My reaction was totally school yard. I felt like I was not part of the popular crowd. My ego was hurt and I wanted to take my ball and go home.
That’s the thing about emotions, they hit you when you least expect them to. Yes you can choose how to react to them, that would be where maturity comes in, but having emotions is a very human condition and we don’t always get to choose which one flows through us.
I wrestled with commenting something on the discussion thread. Something pithy, something for a laugh, but instead I decided to protect my bruised ego by saying nothing and chose instead to remove myself from the social platform to give myself time to let the negative emotions work themselves through.
Update: Okay, yes I commented on the post. I was still bothered this morning and I cracked despite doing my best to take the higher ground. See below about addiction.
But I did decide to write something about it here because there is a lesson to be learned. In a world where words can be posted in an instant and accessed by a whole host of personalities and egos, we need to be cognizant of how others may take them in.
The person who wrote the post on the Facebook group would probably be dumbfounded that I would have such a reaction to her praise and my logical, practical mind would agree with her. My emotional reaction was ridiculous, yet there it was. So its no wonder social platforms can be a battle ground of words.
We are becoming addicted to social media. How many likes did your latest post receive? Who commented? Who didn’t? Be honest now, you checked. And is there a magical number of interactions needed for you to feel satisfied that you are a popular part of your “friends” group?
Those “likes” give your brain a little hit of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that then sends a happy little messages between brain cells. The same chemical that is also affected by cocaine and alcohol and we all know what can happen when we abuse those addictive substances. My emotional reaction to such a benign comment on Facebook was like getting a hit of bad dope.
I am sharing my vulnerable ego with you because it had to learn a hard lesson. I had misplaced my self worth into the hands of other folks, some half way around the world from me, and because I did, my ego got bumped and bruised.
But do you want to know what is the best antidote for a lesson such as this? It’s real people, connecting faced to face, in the flesh.
Luckily my work involves serving people in that capacity and in over 40 years in the retail industry, rarely have I experienced any ego bruising encounters. Within hours of arriving at work, my ego was quickly ministered to with many life affirming smiles, a few warm hugs and a couple of meaningful conversations so that when I finished my day, I felt more myself, more centred and definitely schooled in the lesson on the best and safest place to apply my energies.
So let this be a kind warning to you. Learn from my misadventure and balance you energies between real life encounters and online interactions. Ground yourself with human contact. Feel the healing power of a face to face smile, or a glancing touch of another souls compassion and know that the best boost your ego will ever get is from the tangible, positive experiences of life in the flesh.