If a tree falls in a forest, does anybody hear it? If nobody hears it, does it even matter?
Hello SOTGC community,
Tonight, I was alone. It had been a demanding week of working long days only to come home and work late into the nights. I needed a break, so on this particular evening, I came home and flipped on the hot tub in my backyard. A while later, I looked out and noticed the steam rising off of the top of the water. That was my cue. I grabbed my glass of wine, hurried outside, and practically jumped in.
It was a gorgeous Northern California spring evening; a little chilly, but the water was perfect. The stars were bright, and the crescent moon hung overhead as I floated on my back, gazing at the stars through the rising steam, in awe of the perfect stillness of the moment.
Then, it hit me. I should take a picture … or a video … I should definitely CAPTURE this moment!
More than anything, I had this overpowering desire to share this moment with someone. A second ago, I was not aware of loneliness. Now suddenly, in this simple pleasure, I felt it, and it was magnified.
As I listened to the bubbling of the jets and looked up into the night sky, I wondered, why? Why couldn’t I just be satisfied in the moment? Why did I feel compelled to disrupt this moment of serenity in order to manufacture a shared piece of content?
The silliness of this notion was not lost on me, and, as I pondered this, a bigger question was revealed. Does any moment have true value, unless it is shared? In all of our successes, triumphs or victories, do we find joy in them if no one is standing there as a witness to us?
Solitary confinement is one of the cruelest psychological tortures for a human being. We crave relationships, we crave communication, and we long for partnerships and friendships. We have a very real need to be seen and known by other people. We need external validation that what we are experiencing is real and valuable, and that our voices matter and our lives make a difference.
We can have the best day, the most pleasurable moment, but if no one is there to experience it with us, how much does it matter?
I’m not suggesting that we can’t get value from autonomy. I believe autonomy is one of the most valuable skills we can teach our children as they grow into successful adults. What I am alluding to is the emotional side of our wellbeing. People need people.
Social media feeds this desire. Science has proven that the human brain produces a dopamine rush from engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. We relate to each other and form connections through sharing our vulnerabilities and by being truly genuine.
This explains the simple act of the “selfie.” We all know people who seem obsessed with taking them. Sometimes it seems ridiculous. Many of the pictures almost always look the same. A lot of people criticize the desire as being purely narcissistic. That may be, but consider that there is a bigger psychological motivator at play.
A “selfie” is like saying, “This is the most authentic me in this very moment.”
Skeptics will always point to social media and comment that it serves as a tool for self-importance, simply by the fact that each person creates their own profiles to present to the world. Is it any more so than the act of deciding how you will dress yourself for the day ahead? Rather than judge, we should try to understand that each of us is a person reaching out for community, for relationship, for validation of self-worth, risking exposure as an invitation that says, “Here I am. Know me.”
In our “always on” society, we have tools that allow us to bridge the location gap. We can share our experiences through social media, and our friends respond in real time, participating WITH US in the experience. It’s only natural that we would welcome this level of connectivity in our need for human contact. We, as individuals, want to be seen and valued, and though we all have moments where we desire and yearn for solitude, none of us wants to truly feel alone.
Women tend to be the harshest critics of other women, scrutinizing how we look, how we act how we fall short in each other’s eyes. How wonderful if we could all strip away the condemnation and instead meet each other with eyes of compassion, support, love and acceptance.
Let’s be BOLD together and show some love and support for our Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling community!
Snap a selfie right now – just as you are and post it to Twitter with this Tweet:This is the most authentic me in this very moment! #SOTGCSelfie