Like Me

A couple of years ago, I was at a party when one of my friends introduced me to a woman she’d known for years.  At first the woman was quite friendly as we exchanged the kind of pleasantries that people do when they first meet.  But as our conversation continued,  she became cool, and then almost hostile, and I had no idea why.  Later, I went over our conversation several times in my head, but I still wasn’t sure just exactly what I said that turned her off so completely.  I’m not going to lie, the encounter kind of bothered me for several days afterwards.

More recently, I loaned a book by one of my favorite authors to a good friend, thinking she would enjoy it as much as I did.  But she gave it back a few weeks later, saying that she found the book so boring that she didn’t even manage to finish it.  I was surprised by her response, and I admit, a little bit hurt.

It’s so easy to say that we don’t care what other people think about us, but at times it is so very hard to really and truly not care.  Especially when we’re trying our best to be nice, or offering up something that we really value for someone else’s opinion.  A friend who taught art classes at a local college once told me the hardest part of her job was getting her students past the paralyzing fear of putting their best work “out there” for other people to see and judge.  My guess is almost all creative people can relate to that particular fear.

Personally, I have always struggled with my need for the approval of others.  Sadly, social media doesn’t help, with it’s little “like” button that lets us know just exactly how many others approve of whatever we’ve been brave enough to share.  And the only downside to blogging is the stat page, which makes it all too easy to judge how well we wrote a particular post by the number of views it received on any given day.  So I have to be intentional about trusting my own judgement and not falling into the trap of thinking that whatever (and whomever) happens to be the most popular is automatically the best.

We are all individuals with our own tastes, our own opinions and our own unique way of looking at the world.  That means we aren’t always going to get the encouragement and the positive affirmations from other people that we would like, even when we are offering the very best we have to give.   And in order to be truly happy, we have to learn to live with that.

I honestly think that the one of the most important lessons we can learn in this life is to trust ourselves to know what is, and isn’t, best for us.  Because the important thing isn’t how many people “like” us or our work.  The important thing is whether or not we like ourselves.

131 thoughts on “Like Me

  1. So true! I also think that we (ok, l) tend to personalize someone’s reaction as being all about us. For instance, you may have said something that hit upon that woman’s particular vulnerability. The book you loaned may have triggered a negative memory for your friend. Most of the time, we will never know. By the way, stop looking at your stats. I have no idea what my stats are but I know I have a lot of people who read and engage with me, as do you. That’s what counts. I love the way you think and write.

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  2. You’re dead on. Artsy folk, like us, wear our hearts on our sleeves. Gathering approval is the engine of our giving. It’s a bittersweet deal. Being real is the only thing required, in my opinion. In the end, on that death bed, we will not be mourning how many “like” buttons lacked fingerprints. Good stuff, Muddle. 🙂

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  3. Great post again Ann, harks back to the point we just talked about on my post … we are all very different in our preferences!

    The “please disease” is dangerous, we need to know and approve of ourselves as others will often have a very different translation. The blogging world is generally very warm but the stats do not reflect our own preferences … the posts I rate high get very few views and less comments. Possibly because they are confronting … so I have a choice of deleting or reposting at a later date. I tend to delete unless it’s a matter I feel very strongly about.

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    • Thanks, Kate! And I’m the same way, when I write about something I feel passionately about, those posts don’t do quite as well. Because they’re personal, and not everyone sees things my way. But that’s fine….I have to write from the heart and let the chips fall where they may.

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      • It really helps when people write honest posts. Also there’s the thing that people are so struck and deep in thought from a post they have just read that they completely forget to hit the like button. And also with comments…it can be so difficult to reply if something has struck a chord. Sometimes it’s easy to reply but other times days can pass while we get to think it through. It’s not so easy then to track back to a post to comment.
        Just know that your posts stay in our minds like a good book does.
        Also I’m a very bad follower of everyone at the moment xxxx ❤💛💜❤ xx 😚

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        • Honestly, I don’t think you’re a bad follower at all! And everything you say is true. I like to comment on people’s blogs when I can, but sometimes I don’t have the time. More often, I just don’t know exactly how to word the comment and so I end up simply hitting the “like” button and moving on. We really do have to be happy with our own posts and not rely on the responses of others to determine whether or not we think they are good. Because most often, their response (or lack of response) really has nothing to do with us at all!

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    • Funny but I’ve never even thought of deleting a post. I simply let it be. Like it or not. It’s where my head or heart was at the time. I love the “please disease” label. Perfect description.

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      • I like that term “please disease” as well, and I’m going to remember it! And like you, I don’t delete posts, whether or not they are popular. If I posted it, it’s because I thought it belonged on my blog, and so it stays. Of course, I don’t post every day, so I don’t have to worry about freeing up space the way Kate does. (At least I hope I don’t….I’m not sure how I find out how much space I have left, so I guess if I ever use it all up, I’ll start deleting then!)

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  4. If someone doesn’t like something I’ve written, during the past year or so, I started looking at the situation differently than ever before. I say to myself, “That person and I are in two different places creatively at the moment.” Looking at it that way helps me. Maybe it will help you as well.

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    • That is a very good way to look at it! Because sometimes, we are just in a different place, at least for a little while. And that’s fine. Even in our closest relationships, we have times when we drift apart for a while. And with creative people, that’s going to happen even more. It’s all good. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Well said and good post!!! Almost all of us can relate to this. We have all met judgmental and mean ppl or just really honest ones. What we do next depends so much on other people’s opinions. And one bad feedback can make us stop what we’re doing and loose the guys to go on

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    • Exactly! We need to listen to our own hearts more and the voices around us less. Just because someone doesn’t agree, or like what we’ve said, doesn’t mean we’re wrong. As long as we are honest and kind, we are just fine. Thanks so much!

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  6. I agree and I think that we all feel the same way from time to time. But we have to just keep doing what we do and not give in to our feelings being hurt. We become more sensitive to words and reactions from other people as we get older. I love my writing and being involved in the world of fellow writers. I enjoy the challenge of finishing a story or novelette. Promoting my work is new for me and wow–what a challenge that is. And social media is a new territory. As they say–it’s all good.

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    • Isn’t that the truth. I enjoy all of it but find that my blog that’s supposed to help me finish my book and find an interested group of readers is what’s taking most of my time. I love reading everyone’s work and developing relationships. However, my book is on the back burner and should be out there by now. Hmmm Catch 22.

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          • I agree, Lisa! The best way to increase our blog’s following is to actively read and comment on other people’s blogs and by making our own blogs easy to navigate and interesting to read. (I know I don’t have the patience to flick through several screens, looking for the latest post.) But ultimately, blogging has to be it’s own reward, and not all about getting more followers and readers. I think when we are writing from the heart, the rest does tend to fall in place. Thanks to both of you for the comments!

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  7. … or perhaps the most valuable lesson Is to realize that other people are also wrapped up in themselves.
    What we do or say is only in the periphery of other self absorbed peeps.

    Understanding yand accepting that is very freeing ❣️

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    • That is an excellent point, Val! What’s that old saying, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others thought of you if you realized how rarely they thought of you at all.” And accepting that is rather freeing!

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  8. An insightful post, Ann. Also a timely one for me because I have just drafted an opinion piece about Likes Views and falsehoods. There are bloggers who click the Like button in the Reader without actually visiting the blogger’s site. And it shows in the stats. Their Like is a hurried, token gesture, perhaps even self-promotion, but I try not to take it as a personal slight.

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    • Interesting comment! I agree that some of it is self-promotion or maybe if they follow a large number of blogs it must be impossible to have time to read them all. The thing that bugs me a little is people who ‘follow’ me without having read/liked my posts…how can you follow what you don’t like or enjoy?

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    • Yes, I have seen that too! Now it may be that they are reading the post in their reader and then hitting the “like” button? I’m not sure how that works, but I know that some posts I can read in my reader and the like button is on the bottom. But personally, I read people’s posts on their own blog page and don’t pay much attention to the reader. Still, I agree that the stats aren’t even close to accurate. I get an email when someone likes or comments on my posts, with a time on it. Which means I can tell when someone has “liked” ten of my posts at exactly 3:41. Gee, you think they actually read them? LOL!

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    • Exactly! Sometimes our readers are just busy, or taking a break from blogging for a little while. I also put a link to my blog on my Facebook page, and there is no controlling how Facebook decides whether or not to include that in someone’s news feed. So, it is often just a matter of luck how much a particular post is read. The important thing is that we like what we write, and are willing to put it out there for others to read if they want to!

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  9. I think the trouble may lie in our giving. We not only give the stuff, the advice et cetera but we also – consciously or unconsciously – give others our expectations of their responses to our giving. More often than not, we don’t get what we expect. In this regard, I’ve been poked through more times than I can count, I’m almost like a sieve.

    So, these days, when I want to give someone something, I hold off till my giving is emptied of myself. Sometimes, I never get to this point. And then I realise that what I had to offer wasn’t that great after all, it only seemed that way to me.

    But there are times too, when my giving is solely for the recipient, and I give. but there’s no thank you, there might even be a negative response.

    And yet, I come away with a strange light in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that way of looking at it! And I think you are right, too often what we give is accompanied by our expectations of how others should react. That just sets us up for disappointment. But when we are giving for the right reason…solely for the recipient, as you say, then the response of the other person really doesn’t matter. Thanks for sharing that insight!

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  10. Ann, you are spot on! For me, the endorphin rush generated by the Likes is topped only by the number of thoughtful comments submitted by the readers. When the comments are flowing, I know that not only do the readers ‘like’ my work, they ‘get’ me.

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    • Yes, I think the nicest part of writing is when we realize that our words have caused a real connection with someone else. We can’t control when and if that will happen, and sometimes the satisfaction of knowing that we wrote something well is the only reward we get. But when we do connect, that is icing on the cake for sure!

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  11. Great post. It’s funny, cause a newbie blogger asked me for advice (which makes me chuckle…) and I told her that you can’t worry about offending someone, because whatever you say, someone will find fault with it, and that you need to develop a thick skin. Your blog reminded me of all those things.

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    • I remember well those days of being horribly afraid of offending someone! Now I go with honesty, and just remember that it is never okay to be deliberately mean or offensive. Sometimes people don’t really get what I’m writing about, and sometimes people argue, but that is all fine. I get to write what I want, and people get to take it the way they want as well.
      And honestly, one of the things that first attracted me to your blog was how you wrote so honestly. That’s always the best way to write!

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      • Thank you!! I understand about people not understanding…I feel that way sometimes. And I hate when I’m criticized for my honesty…it’s ok to not agree with me, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to criticize my choices. I don’t always deal well with that.

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  12. I really enjoy your writing style, Ann. I think wanting acceptance is a deeply-seated human need, but it’s not always in our best interest. Being true to yourself is much more important than getting likes. I’m glad you chose this topic because I’ve had those same thoughts lately. I think you handled it perfectly.

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    • Thanks so much, Des! You’re right, sometimes our need to be true to ourselves conflicts with our need to be accepted by others. But if we can’t have it both ways (and often we can’t), then the most important thing is to be true to ourselves, I think.

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    • Thank you! And I agree that one of the best parts of aging is the way we learn to listen more to our own voice, and to care less about how others see us and whether or not they approve of us. Almost makes up for all those sags and wrinkles I see whenever I look in the mirror!

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  13. I really needed to read this today Ann. We put things out there and hope people respond, but when they don’t it’s so disappointing. I don’t read my stats page any more because I get hurt when I see the number of people who read posts compared to the likes. I just put it out there now and enjoy whatever feedback I get.

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    • I think that’s a very good way to do it. Besides, you have to remember that the number of views and visitors doesn’t always reflect the people who actually read your blog. I get emails with the posts of many of the blogs I follow, and I can simply read them there, which doesn’t count as either a view or a visit. (I don’t, because I want the blogger to know I read it, which is why I hit the “like” button. But I could, and many people do.) You are a good writer, and I honestly think that if a post we write speaks to even one person, then it was worth the effort we put into it.

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  14. I love your post for many reasons. I have had my share of similar expereinces. Which put me in a state where I think, what did I do wrong? ( strange we never think it can be someone else’s fault).

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    • Ha! You are right, we so often go to the response, “What did I do wrong?” rather than, “I wonder why that person thinks that?” So often, their response to us has nothing to do with us at all! Thanks for the comment.

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  15. So often I feel like you are speaking from my own heart and brain and souls Ann! I always have struggled with wanting people to like me. Part of my dna I guess. The older I get I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter but I still want people to like me. lol. You are right about the social media and like button. It sure can affect our feelings. We must must learn not to let that change who we are. I’ll keep trying. Lol Who would have ever even thought there would be such a thing when we were children huh? And remember how hard it was growing up and wanting to be liked and accepted? I feel bad for children now. Ugh. How it must affect their psychie. We need to be strong role models for our grands and show them what real acceptance and love it huh? 😘❤️

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    • Oh, I know, Jodi! I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want people to like me, and it’s just the way I am. But as I age, I am getting better at realizing that what I want and what I need aren’t always the same thing.
      And yes, I do worry about the effect of social media on today’s children. Popularity, or lack thereof, has never been more obvious, and I can’t imagine how hurtful cyber-bullying must be. I agree that we need to be extra careful to be strong role models for our grandchildren. And make sure they know they are valued and loved!

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  16. This post really resonated with me. I’ve struggled with two mom’s I don’t really know, obviously don’t like me. I think women can be so hard on other women, especially with kids. My husband asked why I let it bother me. I just said it does. Who wants to be disliked? He countered by saying you have so many friends, why let two women bother you? But it still does and they continue to ignore me.

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    • Oh, I know! Why is it that when ten people like us and one person doesn’t, we think so much more about that one than the other ten? I think you are right to admit it bothers you, because we can never help how we feel. But I also think your husband is right in that you need to put these two moms out of your mind…who knows what their problem is? Maybe they don’t like your religious or political views, or maybe you just don’t live on the right street according to them. Whatever it is, it doesn’t diminish you as a person one little bit! My advice is don’t give them that kind of power over you. Just be civil to them and don’t pay any attention to their response. Hard to do, I know, but I honestly think you’ll feel better!

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      • Ann, I wish there was a Like button that I could press over and over again to tell you how emphatically I agree with your advice, especially the part – don’t give them that kind of power over you. Just be civil to them and don’t pay any attention to their response. I had this one relationship in my life that was giving me so much grief. It was hard to handle given that the person was my work colleague who shares a workspace. After 11 years, recently I did just as you advised JodiMelsness, and stuck to it. I’ve lost some things I enjoyed immensely in that friendship, but I also think I traded in fun and side-splitting laughter for peace of mind. That’s ok. When you want a good night’s sleep, it’s peace you need, not momentary fun and or an ache in your heart that won’t go away.

        Sorry to go off track in my comment :D, but the lesson sure applies even to blogging!

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    • Exactly! The most important thing is that we like ourselves. And when we do, we are so much more open to letting other people be themselves, too. Which means that the friends we do find will be real ones. Who needs people who only want to be our friend if we are being fake?

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    • Oh, my God yes! Those early teen years were horrible, for almost everyone. And I think some of those feelings stick with us for life. But honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want people to like me. Maybe because I was a middle child, or maybe I was just born that way. As I age, it does get easier to realize that I don’t really need absolutely everyone to like me and I need even less people to approve of me.

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  17. Wise words, Ann! I think our intention behind blogging (or other social media) is what matters. Are we doing it because we have something to say—to ourselves and perhaps to others—or are we just trying to amass as many followers and “likes” as we can to feed our egos? If it’s that latter, then we probably never will feel satisfied—we will never reach “enough.” Blogging, for me, is about 1) organizing and expressing thoughts and ideas that are important to me, and 2) connecting with intelligent and thoughtful people who may or may not agree with me, but who welcome civil discourse and whose minds are not closed. I love reading other people’s thoughts and well-reasoned opinions—even if I don’t always agree. Blogging—more than other social media—seems to create positive communities. Of course, I may only think that because the blogs I choose to follow and read are civil, thoughtful and generally compassionate. They’re written by people I’d love to visit with over a cup of coffee….

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    • Exactly! Blogging has helped me form my own thoughts more fully and polish my writing skills. The benefit I didn’t see coming was the connection to thoughtful and caring people all over the world, and I love that. I remember when I was starting out and I read a blog that was full of advice on how to get more followers. It was written by someone who had about 20,000 followers. But one of his posts said nothing but “I still hate my birth mother.” And it had hundreds of likes. I remember thinking, “What in the world is the point of all this?” Right then and there, I decided that my blog would emphasize writing rather than attracting followers!

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    • Exactly! We have to love what we’ve done before offering it to others. And if they don’t relate to it, then knowing that WE think it is good is reward enough. Trying to please others just leads to grief, I think.

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  18. I must have been really young when I was last bothered by what someone thought of me or even the least bit interested as to why they thought what they thought about me. It has been decades since that has happened and I don’t really expect it to happen again. I expect some people to like me and others not too, and all for reasons of their own which have nothing to do with me. People are strange animals a lot of the times. I try not to get involved in their business of judging me. lol. No good can come of it. -Robert

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  19. As you and many others recognize, others reactions often tell you much more about them than you. And they may simply be tired , etc, etc.
    I’ve noticed that the posts that are my favorites are rarely the most liked. And sometimes a little haiku that took two minutes will get a lot of positive review.

    Show up, pay attention, do your best, and let go of the outcome. (buddhist teaching with many attributions)

    And as I often remind myself and my clients, some things are just personal preference. If I like pistachio and you prefer rocky road ice cream and a third person doesn’t eat ice cream at all, none of us is wrong, just different.

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  20. This is so true! Putting yourself out there is extremely difficult and you really don’t know the result of it. Being yourself is key and belonging to a community with kindness and encouragement is what attracts me to others. Such a great post!

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  21. I used to care too much about how many likes I get for each photo I post online. Silly old me! As a photographer, I still love sharing my photographs with the world, but I do not care whether people like them or not anymore. I found that printing my photographs and hanging them on the wall make me feel so satisfied & fulfilled. I no longer seek others’ approval!
    Great post! :):)

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    • Yes, it is so freeing when we quit worrying about those likes! I love the way you surround yourself with your best work…I once had a friend who had published several books. She kept them prominently displayed on a shelf in the little room where she wrote. She said that whenever she was discouraged, she just looked at that shelf and it cheered her right up again. Thanks for the comment!

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  22. Great post, Ann. I did “like” it, and I truly mean that I did! I know what you mean about the false impressions and the distorted message that social media approval creates. Although I do pay attention to my stats, I do it in a detached way. I’m more interested in what catches someone’s eye than whether someone approves of what I say. I think you have a great blog and talk about many of the things that affect us internally, that we don’t often discuss. Thanks for that!

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    • Thanks so much! And I like the idea of looking at our stats in a more detached way. Because I can still look, but that way I don’t take the number of views and likes as an indication of the quality of the post. And I think you are right, all they really represent (inaccurately, at that) is what caught other people’s attention. The first post I wrote that really did well in stats was “Lessons from a Small Town.” It wasn’t any better than my other posts, but it got a lot of shares on Facebook, which resulted in a lot of views. And the reason was the subject: people from small towns like it, because it spoke to something they could relate to. Simple as that!

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  23. Spot on!
    I have a particular new neighbor who, though his wife and two children are very nice, will not wave, return a wave, or make eye contact, not to mention any verbal contact. I have no idea what the issue is (at least be polite, cuz neighbors), but if I let my worry spool, I can come up with all sorts of stories to explain.
    I think that’s known as creativity run amuck–a hazard for creatives!

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    • Oh, I know! The downside of having a good imagination is that we can imagine bad stuff just as easily as the creative and fun stuff. My guess is that your neighbors might be from an area where people don’t wave to or speak to their neighbors, and don’t even realize they are being rude? Who knows? But as you say, it’s their issue, not yours. I think as long as we are behaving in the way we believe is best, that’s all we can do!

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  24. I have often thought about how the story of Cain and Able could have turned out differently – and in that maybe there is a lesson for Likes and the Stats Page.

    If God really didn’t like his gift of fruits and vegetables, he could have been gracious and pretended he did, it would have been a better lesson for us all.

    On the other hand, if Cain had just said, “Oh well, let’s try again,”, it would have been downright inspirational.

    A blog post is a gift to readers. Sometime it doesn’t go over and the best thing for the readers to do is be gracious. On the other hand, when we bomb, we have to realize that everyone bombs from time to time, and the more we write, the less we do it.

    And often times what we feel is our most brilliant work – isn’t. So let that be a warning, whenever we get that giddy, brilliant feeling about our writing, slip the page into a drawer and let time judge its brilliance.

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    • Ha! I have to admit that I like your versions of the Cain and Abel story better than the original, which has always bothered me. And yes, you are right. Sometimes what we think of as our best work isn’t nearly as good as we believe. I don’t think we can judge that entirely by the stats, as those are a bit inaccurate in Word Press, and also I have noticed that sometimes the blogging world is more active than others. But I do believe that all writers have had that heady “Nailed that story!” feeling, only to look at that manuscript again a few days later and realize, “not so much….” Maybe the down side of blogging is that we get to decide when we hit the publish button, rather than an editor who might tell us, “This needs a little more work before it’s ready to be sent out.” Thanks, Greg, for the comment. You have a gift for getting people to think a little more deeply about the subject under discussion!

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  25. In every post you write – and especially this one, you beautifully “tell the truth”. It never fails to discourage us when someone seems to say, what we offered isn’t “enough” or able to be appreciated. Well, we must all remember your conclusion to the post. I think, maybe to like (love) ourselves my be the mission. thank you my friend – love Michele

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    • Thanks, Michele! I think you are right, we will get discouraged when our “best” isn’t met with the response we had hoped for. And that is precisely the time to just realize that if we are happy with it, then that’s plenty good enough. Mostly, we need to learn to love ourselves, and that makes it so much easier to love others as well!

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  26. I “like” your posts very much, dear Ann. We all feel the same, we want to be liked and not sure why we are not in strange situations. With age, it seems to dissipate, for life is too short to wait for someone else’s approval. As long as we approve ourselves that is all that matters. Excellent post that touches most of us.

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  27. Right now, I’m working on getting past being a perfectionist. I realized I had tons of projects laying around almost finished or in some state of completion, but I was terrified of it not being perfect so I’d not finish.
    One thing that really helped was running across the book “Stop Self Sabotage.”
    It spoke to me so much I bought it.
    I also found the term “frozen perfectionism” and it is helping me- along with one piece of advice when I was seeing a counselor after my daughter died- “step out of your comfort zone.” My OCD had gotten so bad, I couldn’t ignore it so I mentioned that and the issues I’d had as a kid and got diagnosed with OCD.
    Those have been helping me with knowing the thoughts and trying to break them down. I always wanted to look perfect, now I’m purposely showing all my imperfections. In this blog, I’m showing my not perfect self as a way of self therapy.
    It’s hard to not care what people think.
    Just remember- with stuff like the book, it was the book that bored her- it wasn’t you at all. Stuff like that doesnt bother me, but that kind of attitude is one reason I’ve had a rough draft almost finished but have been afraid of finishing. It’s hard putting yourself out there and dealing with criticism.

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    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment! And I can relate to how hard it is to “finish” a rough draft..once the book is done, then we have the tough job of hearing what others think of it. That can be very tough for sure. I like your point about “frozen perfectionism” too. It sounds like the result of caring so much about how we appear to others that we can’t accept anything in ourselves less than perfection. Learning to accept, and let others see, our imperfections is so important, and yet so hard.

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  28. Thank you for sharing that, its surprising how we get sucked in to social media and looking at what posts get more likes and reads. Its a good reminder to not be afraid of being ourselves as we are all different and to try to be more accepting and understanding of those who are different to us!

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    • Thanks, Alan! And yes, our blogs are very different…..but I really enjoy yours as well.
      Your poems are extremely well-written, and always give me something to think about. There’s an emotional honesty there that anyone can relate to.
      So: keep yours coming too!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I have to admit that once I got to X number of followers and realized an ever-shrinking number of them were actually readers I stopped sweating the stats. Sure, I still like a nice Like count, factoring in a large grain of salt, but as others have said the value is more in the interaction than the raw stats. And if we manage to scratch a creative itch, or simply have running a blog as a prompt to occasionally attempt to be creative, all the better. As for approval from others? Win some, lose some. Life goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Creative people need an outlet, and for many of us, that is the purpose of our blogs. When others can connect to what we write, that’s always great. But it can’t be the sole reason that we write. Add into that how inaccurate our stats can be (I also have tons of followers who never read a single post, what is the point?), and there really is no reason to worry about our stats at all!

      Liked by 1 person

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