Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beware of the "I'm sad" Facebook status

Once, when I was perusing Facebook, I saw one of my friends had a status that said something like, "I'm sad. Please "like" me so I'll be happy." And you were supposed to press the thumbs up 'like' button. I remember thinking, "That's kind of an embarrassing, pathetic thing to put on Facebook! I'd never announce, 'I'm sad' and ask people to "like" me! They like me or they don't, but I'm not going to get sympathy 'likes'!"

Of course, I pressed the 'like' button to help cheer up the poor soul and went on with my day.

Later, when I checked the computer, I saw Facebook messages in my inbox from people consoling me, asking me why I was sad. What??? I'M not the one that's sad!

Then I checked Facebook and saw that that damn needy message was on MY wall! Oh No! It was like a contagious 'I'm a loser' status message! I guess pressing the 'like' button puts the same message on your own wall! I immediately deleted it and did my best to restore my confident reputation, letting people know I was very happy! La, la, la!! Not a care in the world and I really don't care if anyone 'likes' me or not...

In general, I recommend to people to never publicly act sad or rejected. It just shows insecurity. If we're confident, there's no reason to feel rejected. We don't need validation from other people to know we're good. And most of the time, the "rejection" is in our own head. Everyone will feel so much better if you can just not take things so personally, and carry on happily, regardless of what disappointments come your way.

But, I have to admit, this has not been a good week for me. Maybe it's a freaky woo-woo thing that in "Rejection" week, I am getting hit with quite a lot of personal rejection. I won't go through all the sorry details, but if I wanted practice in dealing with rejection, I'm getting it. (And I will be more careful about picking negative Love Project themes in the future..)

I have a good friend who (in one of his depressed moods) complained, "No one really cares about me. They act like they do, but when it really comes right down to it, they have other people and priorities. They only superficially like me because they think I like them."

I assured this friend that I really liked him and still would like him, even if I thought he didn't like me. But then I thought about it more. Would I? Would I really like him if I thought he didn't like me? Probably not. I'd be hurt if he didn't like me, but would act like I didn't care, 'cause I never show rejection. And then I'd do my best to stop liking him, because if he didn't like me, well, I wasn't going to like him.

Now, I'm not very tolerant of this "poor me" victim mentality, but when I'm in one of my down moods, I can really relate to what he said. It is easy to feel all alone. Even when I was married, I had those days...wondering if my husband really loved me. (I guess the answer ended up being 'no.') No matter how many "friends" we have, we can wonder how much those friends really care about us. How many are just pressing the "virtual like button" without really thinking about it? Are we special to anyone? Can we tell those friends, "I'm sad. I feel rejected. I know I should be confident, but right now I'm not and I need you to tell me you like me. Really like me. Like me if I get sick. Like me if I'm in a crappy mood. Like me if I'm ugly. Like me if I hurt you. Like me if you find out how embarrassing I can be. Like me no matter what. Love me."

Is it fair to expect someone to feel that way about me if I don't feel that way about them? Do I have people who I love unconditionally? Yes, I have a few... Maybe it's time for me to let them know it. I'm guessing they have those same pangs of loneliness and insecurity at times.

I'm not going to update my status page with any of this, but just so you know... I'm not so sad anymore. I'm blessed with people who I love and who I know love me...and they don't even need to press a button to tell me.


shirlnutkin said...

your post reminded me of the practice of compassion. and there is a blogger who has a great site - leo babauta's zen habits. here is a post he did on compassion.

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

Whether there are hundreds in the room or just me doesn't determine the state of my loneliness. That is up to me. Alone.


I am a great friend:)

Yvette said...

Shirley, thank you! That is a great site! Very good insights about compassion. Compassion is on my list as a future Love Project theme!

Rebecca, wonderful quote. Is that yours? And yes, you are a great friend... one that came to mind as I was writing that last paragraph.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with admitting (and exploring) insecurity from time to time, but I think you are right that these things shouldn't pop up on a Facebook message. Sorry you had a rough week.

Yvette said...

Yes, your blog does an absolutely wonderful job of exploring insecurity.

I agree that admitting to insecurity... being vulnerable... is a big part of how we bond with others. We don't need to always put on a "happy mask" if we aren't happy.

On the other hand, some people can really fall into victim mode instead and play the "I'm sad" card a little too often. We all have disappointments and sadnesses and should expect our friends to understand. But then it's time to suck it up and figure out how we're going to "be happy" without depending on friends to tell us they "like us." We need to like ourselves well enough to know we'll get through whatever hardships we're experiencing.

And my week's really not so bad... Just little stuff really. But thanks for the note of encouragement!

Jennifer said...

I have always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve. Plus, I'm super moody. And in high school, I was always crying out for attention, putting whoever I happened to be dating at the time through crazy tests ... And I am incredibly insecure and when I face rejection, it shows. But even I have a limit. There are certain insecurities that are too painful to really share so I keep them to myself and put on a facade of strength hoping that it can fool everyone (including me). And usually it works. While I'm not sure I would ever put up that particular facebook message - because when I'm really feeling down I need a real shoulder to cry on not internet love - I can understand where it comes from.

Yvette said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for leaving your comment. I guess there are times we all feel that way...