Like Me

I am a woman of very few talents, but I have always been good at getting along with other people.  Not because I’m particularly charismatic–I’m not–but because I am good at figuring out what others want from me and then working hard to deliver just that.  When your goal is to have other people like you, you learn rather quickly that conforming to their beliefs and expectations is important, even if that means hiding the parts of yourself that you know won’t meet with approval.

It took me a long time before I figured out that being my real, whole, self was so much more important than pleasing others.  And it has taken me even longer to break the habit of caring so much about whether or not other people like me.  Honestly, I’m in my late middle age and it’s still something I struggle with.

It still hurts when I meet someone new, and after a few minutes of polite conversation they excuse themselves and hurry away in search of someone more interesting to talk to.  It still stings when I hear friends talking about a social gathering I didn’t know about because I wasn’t invited.  And I still feel a bit ashamed, like a child who has been scolded, when I voice an opinion and someone tells me in no uncertain terms that I’m dead wrong.

The downside of social media and blogging is how it can feed into those insecurities, what with those little “like” buttons that let me know immediately how many people approve of a particular post.  WordPress takes it a step further with its stats on how many views and visitors are generated each time I publish something.  It’s easy to believe that the value of a post is determined solely by the number of likes and views.

Last week, I published a post that had 1,225 views, followed closely by a post that had exactly 102 views.  I spent approximately the same amount of time and effort on each one, and felt that I had written both posts the best way I knew how.  It’s tempting for me to study the more popular post to see what made so many people like it, and there was a time in my life when I believe I would have done just that.  Thankfully, in many ways I’ve moved past that mindset and plan to move forward as I’ve always done, which is just writing about what interests me and working on each post until I’m satisfied with the result.

Blogging can be hard for someone who still struggles sometimes to find the courage to let her true voice be heard.  I have to remind myself now and then that all I really have to offer in this blog is my own perspective and my own thoughts.  Sometimes my words will strike a chord with lots of people and sometimes with just a few people, and it’s good either way.  The important thing is that my words are an expression of my true self, rather than something I filtered heavily in order to attract the maximum amount of approval.

In many ways, my blog has helped me finally find my own voice.  And if I am lucky enough that my words help someone else, that’s just icing on the cake.

78 thoughts on “Like Me

  1. The feelings that you expressed here are often expressed by others, and my response can only be that the criteria for expressing yourself is surely to be true to yourself. If you cannot true to yourself, then I would question who you can be true to. Also of course, projecting an image may well fool others, but you can never fool yourself! Of course there will be people who won’t like you for whatever reasons (you can’t please everybody), by my position in those circumstances is to feel sad for them because they are not giving themselves a chance to find out just how nice you are /I am!!! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sometimes no one reads my blog or even likes apparently what I have to say yet in the past year, I have successfully published my fiction, non-fiction, and poetry! So someone is listening and liking my voice. I give up on people with my blogs. I just haven’t found a community that follows me closely every week but I notice some do. Sometimes I am so honest that I wince if I think they are following me. Yet, I am a very independent thinker and often think outside of the box, so just as with friends, I keep a few close to me.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I think that’s a smart way to be. Go with what works for you, and with what feels right. It is so much easier to write a blog that to successfully publish fiction, nonfiction and poetry, which just goes to show that you write very well. Some very good blogs never build an audience, and some mediocre ones do, for reasons I don’t understand. What matters is that you are writing what you want to write!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Well said, Ann. In the early days of my blog, I used to worry about every sentence that I wrote, whether someone would like it or find it offensive. And slowly I just starting writing freely and realized I don’t really care what people think of what I say. It’s good to finally feel this way.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It actually took me a while to get up the nerve to start this blog, not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I was afraid of offending someone (or a whole lot of people.) Like you, I gradually let go of that fear and learned to write from the heart, then let the chips fall where they may.
      BTW, I’m glad you are writing what you like, because your blog is very entertaining!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Such a beautiful post! About the opinion, every one is entitle to express one, and who is the other person think of himself to judge, even if you are wrong. I also agree that the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and who you are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Svet! And I agree that we are all entitled to our own opinions, even when others don’t like them. Remembering how I feel when someone tells me flat out that I’m wrong, I try to say “I disagree” or “I look at things a little differently,” when someone says something that I think is wrong. And that’s only if they ask for my feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This a very interesting thing to share.. We all have our insecurities for sure. One thing I notice though Ann is that you get A LOT of comments on your posts, many more than that most people (than me for sure). This is a testament to your pieces. It means quality of the readers, which is more important than the likes that you may receive (quantity)…anyone can press the button, but you are actually getting folks to read your stuff! This is wonderful and means that what you say is meaningful! xo

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I have been very lucky to get comments that are thoughtful, not negative, because they continue the discussion on the topic of the post. I often learn a lot from the comments, because people bring up points I haven’t thought of. Like you, I’d rather have a smaller amount of real readers than a bigger amount of followers, views and likes. PS: I always read your posts, and I am always glad I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I never look at my stats. I do, though, appreciate and feel acknowledged by likes and comments (mostly comments). I never know which posts will generate the most interest – sometimes those that I feel the least satisfied with get the most response. What baffles me the most are followers who don’t seem to have anything in common with my blog subject matter (and, of course, they almost never leave comments).

    I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No looking at stats is the smartest way, I think. They don’t really mean that much, because if people are reading your blog in their email, then it doesn’t count as a visitor or a view. And I have lots of followers who only follow me so I’ll follow their blog and never actually read what I write. I also have regular readers who don’t follow my blog, but just wait to see the next post on my Facebook page, which is fine with me. I have learned to block out any thought of how a post will be received when I’m writing it, or I just freeze up, so worried I’ll write the wrong thing! The next step is to ignore the stats as you do….

      Like

  7. I average around 30 or so views per post (recently it has gone up slightly). BUT, I am very happy to find that many readers to look at my flower photos. I found that my family members and friends don’t enjoy endless shots of plants in different phases of growth or appreciate my collection of snake, lizard and bug photos. Now if only I could get the viewers to press the “like” button.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know! Sometimes the views and the likes are so different that we can’t help but wonder, “Okay, you read it, but you didn’t like it?” But then we have to remember that the stats don’t reflect actual readers at all. If your followers are reading your posts in their emails, it won’t show in your stats as either a visit or a view. So, best just to focus on the fact that some people are enjoying your posts, and that you are writing them in your authentic voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. People pleasing is a hard habit to break but finding your own voice here is ideal.
    I have found that the more topical my post the less it’s read, meaning one on a difficult subject. I delete posts but keep those and pin them to the top sometimes but people seem to avoid being challenged. Or maybe they just don’t agree with my viewpoint … but if it’s important to me I keep it in archives.
    Must admit I am most impressed with #cupcakecache above … well published is preferable to all the likes in the world! And more comments is better also than likes, people are reading and engaged … I’m still working on that aspect of my blog

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, if I wasn’t a natural born people pleaser, then I sure learned how to be one at an early age. And it’s a hard habit to break. So much more important to write from our own truth, and just let the chips fall where they may. And I have also found that when I tackle a more difficult subject, I don’t get as many views and likes…but that’s okay. I write about what is important to me at the moment, and others might not feel drawn to that topic. Or they may just be on conflict overload, or as you say, simply not agree with what I am saying about it. Keep being you on your blog, and you will be just fine!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally get it Ann. I totally get you. I’ve felt the same way at times, and I strive to be true to me. Isn’t that one of the beauties of aging?…. the wisdom and “confidence” we gain to be ourselves. You are amazing and so many of us relate to you. Keep up the great work, but most importantly, be true to you and be happy with who you are. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Jodi! I hope you know that you and your blog are a huge source of inspiration to me. You post what interests you, you pursue your art and creativity, you are honest about the troubles in your life, but you still encourage everyone to appreciate the “moments in between.” Seriously, you are one of the reasons I have stuck with blogging through my self doubts. Thank you for that!!! (And keep being you, because you are helping a whole lot of other people….)

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Sheryl! In the end, the stats don’t mean much. The point is that we enjoy what we are doing with our blogs, and finding an outlet for our interests and creativity. And that’s priceless, any way you look at it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ann, I too used to worry about the number of likes or hits I get, but at the end I realized that i am actually writing for me. It makes me happy to write and post when I can. I am not trying to make blogging my livelihood, even though I won’t say no, if it comes knocking. So keep doing what you are doing, those of us who read your blog appreciates it. As for me I don’t think I even have 500 followers, but it is just a number.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks! As a regular reader of your blog, I can say that I appreciate your honesty and eloquence when you post, and always get something from reading. Followers are just a number (most of mine aren’t actually reading my blog), but when we do connect with someone who truly “gets” what we are trying to say, that’s priceless! Keep on blogging, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Ann. Despite the numbers or lack thereof, I truly appreciate those who I have connected with. The words of support and encouragement from those few means a lot. So let’s keep blogging and doing what we do to make ourselves happy, that is what’s important.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Blogging lets us find our voice .. and face ourselves as things come up. It’s a growing experience … and I’m learning right along side you. Thanks for sharing here Ann 💕
    P.s. Ratings soar when you have a title that gets picked up in search engines.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is a learning experience, isn’t it? I have grown as a person since I’ve started blogging, and that’s a bonus I didn’t anticipate, but certainly appreciate. Thanks for your blog, which so often has a message I need to hear as I start my day. And you’re right… how many “hits” our blogs get have more to do with search engines or some other factor beyond our control than what we’ve actually written. My most popular post had to do with small towns. When I wrote it, I actually thought “most of my readers won’t relate to this, but it’s important to me, so I’m going to write about it anyway.” Yet it took off on Facebook, and that resulted in the most views I’ve ever had. Who knew?

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Your readers are fortunate to hear your perspective. Remember that you’re successful just by putting yourself out there. You’re being brave each time you hit “publish”. Thanks for writing this. You have a lot of wisdom to share.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Dani! You understand how it really does take a bit of courage each time we hit “publish.”
      Thanks for sharing your perspective with others as well. Can you provide a link to your blog for me? I can’t seem to find it anymore!

      Like

  13. This is a great post, Ann. I’m so glad you are finding a way to put being your true self ahead of pleasing others. I’m a firm believer that the people who are worth having in your life will love and accept you for who you are. As for the blogging, yeah – I understand the dangers of that little “like” button. It can be disheartening to see that your writing may have only resonated with a few people. But I think with blogging, sometimes it’s super time consuming and it’s not that there’s anything “wrong” with what I (or anyone) is writing, it’s more the case that others are just too busy to do much reading. At least I’ll keep telling myself that! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I think that is absolutely true, and one of the reasons I’ve stopped worrying about my stats and likes. But for someone, like me, who has a long history of trying to win the approval of others, those stats and likes are sort of like putting a beer in front of a recovering alcoholic. The temptation to care too much and to work for those views and likes is always there, I just have to tamp it down.
      We write what interests us, and if someone reads it, then that’s just a gift!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly right. I check my stats too. I really shouldn’t be so worried about them but they’re there so the temptation is too great, as you say. I think if we are writing from the heart, about things that we care about, then that will carry through to others.

        Like

  14. Last week, I published a post that had 1,225 views, followed closely by a post that had exactly 102 views.

    Views are the reward for pleasing the WordPress algorithm, not for pleasing the readership. I like to feed the algorithm cookies but (apparently) have not found a flavor it likes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s true! The post that got so many views actually got the same amount of likes and comments that I usually get, so it really had nothing to do with my regular readers at all. In this case, it was actually Facebook that approved, rather than WordPress, but it’s the same thing in the end.
      As for your feeding those algorithm cookies, all I can say is you have most certainly found a flavor that your readers like. Very much.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the comments are nice and so are the relationships we find with other bloggers, but the writing is the important thing. Besides, I’ve finally figured out that if I’m writing from my true voice, then the views and comments I get from that are from people who can relate to the real me. Which is so much more valuable that tons of likes and views from people who only like what I pretend to think or believe!

      Like

  15. I think our own beingness is our own validation, Ann, and no one else can do or say anything to validate us. We can never get away from what we are, what we authentically are, that is, try though the social self may do. Cultivating awareness so that we see the social self in play, and knowing that essentially, the social self is a dramaturgical performance of necessity, then we can remind ourselves that the authentic self is at that moment acting out a role, because that’s largely how we communicate, how we integrate and allow others to contact and interact with us. But our own silent beingness, what remains behind the words and the social or learned devices of interaction, is what is authentic, and can only ever be so — it can never be escaped, and is always present if we attend to it. One way of tapping into it might entail silently saying something simple to oneself, such as, “I am just this, this ever-present, all-pervading silent awareness”. When we say that, we know it’s there, we sense its presence, and it’s always completely unperturbed by thoughts and memories and behaviour. It’s just our unsullied, private and immutable beingness, which is always totally authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very good point, Hariod, and also a comforting one. I haven’t really thought about it that way before, but I agree. My authentic self is always there, it’s just a matter of whether or not I share it with others, and as you say, a little bit of role playing is part of all social interaction. I do think that social media encourages us to only show the parts of us that will win the approval of others, and I have to be careful not to buy into that. But underneath it all, I am still me… The “unsullied, private and immutable beingness” as you so eloquently put it. Thanks, Hariod, very much for this comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I think it’s important to write from your true voice rather than just aiming to please a demographic – otherwise you might just as well be a politician or an advertising hack. As for stats, I find I don’t pay as much attention as I used to, but then I’m not spending as much time trying to expand readership either. It is what it is. And if you’re feeling a little let down by a mere 100 views, remember that’s still more than a lot of people get. For me, 100 views would be a highly successful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dave! Ordinarily, I’m just fine with 100 views, it just seemed to be such a difference from the (one time) post that had so many more views than I usually get. I’m learning not to pay much attention to the stats either, now that I’ve been blogging for a while. When I first started out, I paid lots of attention because I wanted to know if the blog was being read or not. Now I realize it doesn’t matter, since I’m not trying to make any money from it.
      And I think you are right about how important it is to write from our true voices rather than trying to please a group of people. It’s just something I have to be intentional about, as old habits die hard. But the thought of being like a politician (horrors) is certainly incentive to stay true to myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Totally agree on the being true to one’s self. It’s always been part of my personal philosophy on how I live my life. The problem for me early in life as a young adult I may have been too true, didn’t consider others, spoke my mind and if others didn’t like it too bad. As I matured over the years I’ve learned to temper my “enthusiasm” and have found a good balance.

    I always enjoy your posts Ann – even if it takes me a few days to get to them they are in my must read list. I’ve been neglectful as of late with my own blogs and envy even the low side of your views.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Believe me, those views are what I get now, not when I first started blogging. Back then, my main readers were my mother, my husband, and possibly my daughter.
      It’s funny how the two extremes of youth tend to merge toward the middle as we age, though. When I was young, I didn’t take the time to really understand what I thought about most things, as I was so busy making sure my opinions and actions were “acceptable” and it was only as I aged that I started paying real attention to my inner voice. Others, like you, have said that they were a little too attuned to their inner voice and had to learn to think of others a little more. I think the middle ground, where we speak and act out of our own convictions and yet are considerate of others, is probably the best place to be…and where most of us have ended up! Thanks, as always, for your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh, this rings so true! Wouldn’t life be that much simpler if we could let go of how others’ thoughts affect us? I wonder how many hours of our lives we spend worrying about what others think (probably only to find out they weren’t thinking about us/me in the first place). 😉 Remember that old saying, something about 90% of what we worry about never actually happens? Who else thinks this ought to be added to the first grade curriculum?

    You have an enviable life skill here, Ann: you reach people. You don’t just speak your mind, you touch others. In my book, it doesn’t get much better than that. Keep on keepin’ on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I would venture to say that we have spent way too many hours in our lives worrying about what others think of us, when as you say, they rarely think of us one way or the other. And that should definitely be in first grade curriculum!

      Like

  19. Being true to yourself and your thoughts/ beliefs is so much more rewarding than being or writing something you’re not. If someone walks away to find a more interesting conversation, it’s their loss. If someone tells you your opinion is wrong than maybe they’re just being close minded.
    All that being said, it’s easier to say we can brush away those hurts than actually not letting it bother us.
    But really, Ann, you know you’re a talented writer. You must know it even when your posts don’t meet your hopes. Over 1200 views? I never even approached that and I’m sure others haven’t either. You should be proud of your work and the interest it generates. It’s very well deserved. You are obviously doing something right. Just keep doing it…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am getting much better about listening to my own inner voice and not taking it personally when I don’t please/connect withe others. But every once in a while, I back slide and then I realize that I have to keep working at it.
      Believe me, that 1200 views was a one-time event for me, based solely on Facebook shares that were WAY above what I usually get. (It was my post on small towns, and I can only guess that maybe it was very popular with others who either have lived or still live in a small town.) But I don’t want to judge my other posts by that number, and in fact, I don’t want to judge them by any number at all. It feels good when I finish a post and think, “yeah, that’s exactly what I wanted to say!” and even better if just one person tells me that it helped them or made them laugh. That’s all that really counts, and that has to be enough.
      Thank you for all your encouragement with my blog. You have no idea how much it has helped!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I believe that as long as we live no matter how old we are getting (myself now 75) there will be that minimum of sensitivity left in us that ALLOWS us to feel hurt, when someone rightly or wrongly steps on our toes. The danger of the social media, Facebook in particular, is that people shy away from expressing their true feelings or voicing their honest opinion out of fear of not getting any likes. The quality of the comments at such media is consequently shamefully low. Happy Easter Sunday, Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couldn’t agree more, Peter! And I like the way you say we are allowed to feel hurt, meaning that it isn’t actually a fault. The fault, as you say, is that we sometimes don’t speak the truth for fear of not winning other’s approval. That’s a good distinction to make, and one I haven’t thought of before. Yet another reason I really appreciate the comments on my blog! I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I disagree that you’re a woman of very few talents, Ann! Like you, I have often struggled with being my true self out of fear that I won’t belong, be accepted or be liked. It’s so frustrating caring about this. I attribute part of my issue to moving a lot as a kid and feeling like I always had to adapt to others’ ways to fit in. There is certainly freedom in not caring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We moved a lot, too, and I agree that kids do learn the importance of “going along to get along” in those situations. But the older I get, the better I am about not putting so much importance on getting others to like me or approve of me. Rejection sometimes still stings initially, but it usually doesn’t take me long to move on. So good to have you back, Kim! Hope all is well with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Keep on doing what you’re doing Ann and be true to yourself. At the end of the day stats and views are just numbers but it’s the interactions that count. I Can always relate to your posts and just know that we’d get along brilliantly if we ever met, because I’ve already got to know the ‘real you’ through your down to earth words.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Who knows why posts go viral? My most popular post–no kidding–is a comma blog: Commas and Introductory Words. I put a lot of work into it, but it has almost 1200 clicks this year. Last year it had almost a thousand.

    While it’s heartening to think that people care about correct punctuation, I’d love if I could get similar numbers from a short story. *shrugs* At least people cared about that one.

    All we can do is put it out there and hope. I think you’re doing pretty good. I like just about everything you have to say. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My guess is that most people are still a bit confused by commas. I was an English major, and I’m still stumped from time to time. But then I remember that I’m only writing a blog post, and a certain amount of mistakes are allowed.
      But I agree that there is no real rhyme or reason for why one post is popular and another isn’t. The only post I have ever had that reached high numbers was the one on the small town, and I know that 90% of those views came from Facebook shares. For some reason, it generated interest on Facebook, I guess from people who have also lived in small towns. All we can do is put our best writing out there, and be happy that somebody is reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! That is exactly why I blog, to put my real and honest voice out there. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “well this subject will go over better than that subject,” but then I just remind myself that no one is paying me to write this, and that the whole point of a blog is to give a voice to my real self. And with each post, it gets easier to express that. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. It is a bit intimidating to put blog posts “out there” for the whole world to see. When I first started blogging, I didn’t get “likes” at all. There are some posts from the beginning of my blog that I absolutely love, and they only got a few views.

    That used to bother me, until one day I decided that whoever is MEANT to see my words, will see them. That changed everything for me and I still continue to write with that in mind. I guess it’s all about being true to ourselves.

    I think you are a wonderful writer. You are honest, sincere, and funny. Most days, I get behind on reading posts, but I really look forward to yours. Hope you have a wonderful day. Jessica

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s