For All To See

TheVogtFamily-72I love spending time with my three-year old grandson, and whenever I do, I know I’m going to hear “Watch me!” or “Watch this!” a lot.  And I’m perfectly okay with that, because that’s what little children do.  They are very focused on getting the attention and the approval of the people around them, and few things make them happier than our praise and affirmations.  Besides, I really do enjoy watching my grandson as he masters a new skill, or simply witnessing the joy he brings to his everyday experiences.

Sometimes I think we would all do well to act more like a child now and then, but the key is to make sure that we’re being childlike only in appropriate ways….finding joy in simple things, being honest with our emotions and living in the moment as children tend to do.  Sadly, the childlike trait most adults seem to be embracing these day is the need for the constant attention and approval of others.  And that’s not a healthy way to live our lives at all.

Yes, I know that social media makes it so very easy to document and share almost every aspect of our days, but just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.  Of course it’s fun to post a few photos of our recent vacation, or to share our favorite pictures from our recent photo sessions, etc., and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But I think the trouble begins when we find ourselves somewhere fun, having a great time, and our first instinct is to whip our our phones and photograph it, so we can post it where others and see it and validate our experience with their responses.  Or when we try to process our emotions by sharing every single aspect of our trauma through daily photos, posts, and even videos.

There’s a fine line between healthy sharing and over-sharing, I think.  And one of the ways to know when we’ve crossed it is when we find ourselves worrying too much about the responses our social media posts generate.  If you had a great time at the neighborhood block party, then it really was a positive experience, even if your photos of it were largely ignored on social media.  And if you’ve thought long and hard about your stance on a particular issue and are comfortable with the conclusions you drawn, your opinion isn’t any less valid just because no one in your comment section agrees with you.  We don’t really need other people to approve our emotions, thoughts, or actions, no matter how much we’re encouraged to believe we do.

90tuq7S5RiKvHbPFH0wSo my advice, to myself and everyone else, is remember that not everything needs to be shared, and how much more we can enjoy ourselves when we’re not trying to document something and experience it at the same time.  Maybe the next time we see a beautiful sunset we should just sit quietly and look at it, drinking in nature’s beauty.  Or the next time we’re feeling emotional, we should just call someone we trust to empathize and help us feel better.  Because often, the most important moments in our lives happen when no one is looking at all….

76 thoughts on “For All To See

  1. So nice to have time with the grandchildren, Ann. I may never get this chance, but am happy with the circumstances I am presented with. As to being present in the moment, I do agree. I used to post on the day or at the moment of, but, this never happens any more. I am too busy experiencing the moment. My blogs are all I do, no Facebook, no Pinterest, no Snap Chat, no Tik Tok, no Instagram. One and done, so to speak. Stay well and stay in the moment. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a rock and roll musician named Jonathan Richman. He’s been in the game for around 50 years. He’s had decent success, though many people don’t know about him. Anyway, I read a recent interview with him. He doesn’t have a cell phone or a computer and sees no need for them. No Facebook or Twitter for him. He is a happy individual who definitely doesn’t overshare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharing is good, as long as it is done sparingly, I think. I am always honest in what I post, but I sure don’t post every detail of my life. For one thing, most of the details are boring. And for another, some simply don’t need to be made public! I worry about future generations who don’t understand the difference between what should be private and what should be public.

      Like

  3. Your grandson is a picture of happiness and confidence. His sheer focus on living in the moment and enjoying it inside out must be deeply infectious. Your analogy of adults regressing into attention hungry children is apt. Indeed, so many of us are engaging into fun and adventure activities with the sole intention of sharing them on the social media rather than enjoying those, and it is nothing short of pathetic considering the hollowness of the online world. At the end of day it’s only a make-believe existence and a fickle one at that. How different is that from a virtual reality where one gets obsessed with digital characters? No wonder we are gravitating towards a dystopian future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I love how he is so honest in all he feels, and so ready to see a miracle in every little thing. I wish we all had that attitude. And yes, when did sharing our lives become the main goal? We should simply live them, and enjoy them, even in those moments when we are alone. Sharing should be done sparingly, or it becomes the whole point of living….and that is no life at all!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand wanting to preserve and share some of our lives, but I think it’s gotten to the point where people feel compelled to try to preserve and share the majority of it! As you say, memories count the most, and other people’s opinions are rarely helpful at all. Life is for living, not recording, I think. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ann- was thinking of you just yesterday and wondering if your volunteering has put you in touch with people who “over share”. Then I saw this post this morning and laughed!
    Yup!
    Answered!
    I recently stood at one of my volunteer jobs with another volunteer and we were having a nice conversation, then suddenly (Like a photo bomb) this other lady showed up started going on and on and on about how much she had been doing at this volunteer location (ok… what does this person want? A pat on the back?). Then the person went totally into what volunteers who never seem to do anything. With no evidence that they haven’t done anything.

    Hummmm… sounds like social media, looks like social media, yup, now I have to retreat!

    Being humble is rare these days.
    Being considerate is also rare (like not conversation bombing).
    Filtering for most people since social media also seems rare.

    I am just glad that there are still bloggers like yourself that still bring these things up and ponder over them.

    Be safe and enjoy that cute grandson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that was like a real-life social media encounter: no manners and no filter! Of course some people behave themselves on social media and are entirely appropriate, but we’ve all seen the explosion of bad manners there, and you’re right, it’s spilling over to real life too. I think being humble and considerate are very important traits, but they don’t seem to be valued much these days. And that’s not a good thing for any of us. Hope all is well with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent reminder as always. We’ve really become a society of people who not exist as seen through the eyes of others…what happened to just doing what makes us smile, without a worry as to how it appears to others?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think our constant connectedness has made us worry a bit too much about what others think, especially since they’re all too ready to tell us exactly where, and how, we’ve gone wrong. And I think it’s also easy to get “addicted” to the praise and affirmations we get when one of our social media posts gets a lot of positive feedback, and then we want to repeat it, again and again. I like what Kathy G said over at her blog about getting grounded, realizing what our own values are and then simply living according to those. That makes good sense to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another thought-provoking post, Ann! Finding the right balance between sharing and oversharing is the challenge for all who live in the age of social media. Constantly snapping photos during beautiful and happy moments in our lives robs us of the true joy we experience. Thank you for sharing your insights, Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peter! And that’s exactly what I meant. It seems that now whenever anything good and fun is happening our first instinct is to photograph it. And when we’re doing that, we’re not really experiencing it fully. It’s nice just to put the phone (and the camera in it) down once in a while and simply be in the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your last line here…”Some of the most important moments in our lives happen when no one is looking at all.” I do believe that some of our greatest revelations come to us that way. When we are fully absorbed in the moment, we act and think differently…our concentration is on what we are doing. Great post!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Linda! And I think you made a good point. When we’re busy photographing things with intent to share, we’re not fully concentrating on what’s going on. And we miss so very much that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I may have mentioned before that, apart from my blog, I have no involvement at all with social media. I am a Twitter subscriber, but I follow fewer than twenty people or sites, and most are weather related. I still don’t understand the compulsion to post every detail of daily life: particularly, meals. If someone wanted to post photos of a birthday dinner, I could understand it, but what’s with the ones who photograph every meal and post it online before they take the first bite? It’s perplexing to me. It sometimes feels as though those who appear to be addicted to social media aren’t sure they really exist if they don’t get that affirmation from others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s exactly what it is. That warm glow we get from the praise and support of others is fine, but we shouldn’t need it every day, for everything we do. And sometimes, the things we say and do are going to generate disapproval, and we need to learn to live with that and stand our ground when we truly believe in what we’re doing. Life isn’t supposed to be one giant popularity contest, I believe!

      Like

  9. More and more I find myself avoiding social media and/or not posting pictures of what I’m up to, mostly because when I see other people’s pictures of their perfect vacation, perfect family, perfect meal, perfect moment, it makes me feel my life is less than perfect. Even if the picture I’m tempted to post is honest and it really is a beautiful place/person/moment, I don’t want to make anyone else feel their life is ‘less than’. It’s become the barometer I use when deciding whether to post or not – will it help or hurt, entertain or insult? It ends up that I mostly post pictures of my dogs. Dogs are always good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m the same way, Cara! I used to post on my Facebook page every couple of weeks, but now I rarely post anything other than the link to my latest blog post. I like your litmus test for posting…I wish more people would think before they post, especially when they’re just copying a meme they haven’t bothered to research to see if they’re true or not.

      Like

  10. I couldn’t agree more, Ann! My recent social media break taught me exactly that: you don’t have to share everything! And it was a relief too, not to take photos of every cake, tree, squirrel… 😉 As awesome social media and the friendships we form through it can be, we also need to realize that there should be a line between your real life and the one you lead in the virtual world, and that they don’t have to overlap constantly.
    As to being more like a child: definitely yes when it’s about trying to express ourselves creatively, less so when we want to find a compromise with other people. 😉
    Enjoy your sunsets and don’t feel pressured to share them with us! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Sarah. Social media does put unnecessary pressure on us to “perform” for the public eye, and we become anxious when our posts aren’t “well-received.” It’s no wonder depression and anxiety are on the rise!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s just it, unnecessary pressure. I’ve heard that they’re thinking about foregoing the like-button or to at least stop counting how many likes a post got to help lift that pressure. I can only imagine how damagable the whole thing must be for teenagers.

        Like

  11. You’ve made some excellent points here, Ann. I tend to be a very private person, and I find myself cringing at some of the things I see posted on social media. What were they thinking??? It’s sad that some people spend so much time demanding they be the center of attention that they fail to live in — and enjoy — the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • During the early days of the Covid vaccine rollout, I joined a Facebook group that did a wonderful job of sharing information about where people could get their vaccine. Most of the posts were appropriate and informative, but some became political (cuz in America, everything has to be political) and others were the usual attention-seeking stuff. One young woman was unhappy with the way the way she was treated at a pharmacy, saying that the staff were hurried and rude. Someone else pointed out that these were stressful times for people who worked in clinics and pharmacies, and that perhaps the staff was just very flustered. The young woman did issue with this, stating that she wanted only sympathetic responses and didn’t want to hear anything else! And I thought, “so you posted something on a public forum and you think you can control the responses you get?” So strange….People not only crave validation of their every thought and emotion, they are beginning to demand it!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. You’re spot on.

    I think the fine line is when, as you’ve suggested, we are dependent on the social media responses. For example, I’m one who takes all of the photos at the beginning of an event. I post, and then I tuck my phone away so I can have a god time. It also helps that my notifications are not on. What I’m getting at is that I’m not sure most of society has figured out how to have a healthy relationship with social media. There are quite a few different ways to ensure we’re not acting like children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of snapping a few photos at the beginning of the event, and then putting the phone away for the rest of the time. And I agree that we haven’t yet figured out what a healthy relationship with social media is, and that is causing a lot of problems. It’s such a mixed blessing. I love being in touch with old friends I haven’t seen in years, but I hate the pressure to always “put our best foot forward” and feeling that there is something wrong if a post of ours doesn’t generate enough “love.” That is such a shallow way to live, and not a recipe for happiness at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The one thing I would caution people about is, if you share a group event, share it with people who were there, but maybe not with people who weren’t invited (but would wonder why they weren’t invited…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Michele! And I agree. We don’t need to know al the nitty-gritty details of each other’s lives. And when we do need to know them, the best way for them to be shared is in a one-on-one, personal conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh how I love this post!! I wish this mindset was more embraced…. when I see people ignoring their children because they are looking at their phones I truly want to cry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know! I have a friend who taught kindergarten, and she said if there was one piece of advice she could give the parents of her students, it would be to put their phones down and pay attention to their children. Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This is so good, Ann. I know that I tend to get wrapped up in FB more than I should. I write my blog, and like you I put a link on FB. I don’t do any other social media. I wouldn’t have time for it! I can see how what little I do tends to be on my mind more than it should. There are always pros and cons to weigh with everything, and most definitely with social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly the way I do social media, too! I only do Facebook, and mostly as a chance to post a link to my blog, since I have some readers who don’t follow it on Word Press, but just wait to see the newest post on Facebook. And I do enjoy reconnecting with some of my old college and Cheney (you know where that is!) friends on it as well. But I really don’t have the time or inclination to be active on any other form of it. So, we have to take the bad with the good, but I try hard to make Facebook only a positive thing. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m with you on everything you wrote here, Ann. These days, it seems to me that some people can only think if they tap out their thoughts and post them. The worst thing in being forced to be part of social media work groups is that you have to tolerate that stream of consciousness which some simply must air. It could stop if everyone ignores those kinds of posts but some people are too polite for that and they will issue some sort of response and acknowledgement – which just makes it go on and on. You hit the target when you said there’s a lot we could learn from kids but there are also kid-like behaviours we should stay away from.

    But when a lovely little boy says, “Watch me!” – he knows that what he does brings joy to his loved ones and that’s perfectly okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it’s sad to see how some people are obviously chasing the “validation” that social media offers, when it it really just temporary, and dare I say it: false. I think the true measure of being an adult is understanding what we truly believe, and then making our decisions based on that and not on what popular culture dictates. Of course it’s wonderful when a small child asks for our attention and approval…and we should give it generously….but there comes a time when we need to “put away childish things!” Thanks for your comment, Caitlynne! You always get what I’m trying to say!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I agree that there’s a fine line between healthy sharing and over-sharing. Sadly it’s a line that too many people are not aware of. I’m reluctant to ever share my woes so when someone starts down their angsty path, I’m inclined to think less of them. I don’t crave external validation, and wonder why they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean! When I see someone posting over and over again, in an obvious attempt to get others to validate what they are doing, it makes me wonder just what is really going on. I hate being so judgemental, but honestly, that’s my gut-level response. Of course I know that people look at these things differently, and I try to keep that in mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Completely agree, Ann.
    Picking up on the example of sunsets, as a photographer I so often think about trying to get a photo of a beautiful sunset (difficult if, for example, I’m driving home from work) before realising that maybe it was just there to enjoy in that moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do understand wanting to take photographs of a beautiful sunset, especially if photography is your hobby or profession. (I have a collection of sunset photos myself!) But I think there is also a time to just simply look at it, and not worry about taking a photo of it. Especially when the main purpose behind taking the photo is to post it on social media. Some things are just meant to be enjoyed, I think. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  19. “Because often, the most important moments in our lives happen when no one is looking at all….” ❤️ So true. When I find myself saying-oh, I didn’t take any photos-I realize it was because I was enjoying the moment. Thanks for the reminder. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! We can’t really be in the moment and record the moment at the same time. Sometimes, if it’s something really special, I’ll snap a quick pic and the beginning, and then tuck my phone away for the duration. But other times, I just don’t want to be bothered with taking the pics!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree with you when you talk about “being childlike only in appropriate ways….” and how some people “don’t grow up” (my words). I also think that social media is out of control . . . I have to just scroll on by a lot of it otherwise it makes me crazy!

    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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.