Wikipedia reports there are 1.57 billion active Facebook users as of June of this year. Facebook, like other forms of popular social media, presents narcissism and altruism at their most mythological levels.
As our own social media brand managers, we ask ourselves what to post and what not to post on a daily basis. The bigger question is how can we maintain wholeness and wellness in this ever-growing, mega-media modality?
A life of wholeness or wellness requires a balance between our narcissistic and altruistic selves. Lasting and equitable fair exchange demand both. One extreme or the other initiate feedback responses, which force these apparent polarities back into balance.
The classic Greek story of Narcissus can teach us many things. In this ancient tale, Nemesis lures Narcissus to a pool of water, where he sees his own reflection. He doesn’t realize it’s only an image and quickly falls in love with it. Eventually he realizes that his love cannot be reciprocated and kills himself.
The secret of this ancient Greek yarn is not in Narcissus’ behavior alone; surprisingly it is also the pool of water itself. Like the water, social media is a reflection and a projection—whatever we put into the water is exactly what is reflected back to us. Of course, if these images do not bring meaning and value to others, then this reflection can fade, leading to withdrawals of interest from others through time.
Is this reflective looking glass and our projection of a one-sided image, enough? For some it appears to be—temporarily—but for many who are seeking true wellness, they will innately seek the whole and embrace more. Ultimately, we want authenticity. But how do we find it, especially when so many people use social media in so many different, polarized ways? The net effect, however, is the same—we are projecting an image, often a one-sided fantasy of who we are and who we want to be in the public sphere.
When posting, ask yourself...
- “Why am I posting this?” and be honest with your answer. Is it to seek praise for the way you looked or behaved?
- “Is this a highlight reel of my success in an area of life that only shows success and not the bloopers that it took me to get here?” If so, why are you cutting out the real stuff/the relatable and universal “life stuff”?
- “Does this post serve my highest values/align with my reality, and does it also serve the needs of others?”
Why would others be continually interested in your posts if they do not fulfill some need in them over time? Connectivity will require a balance of give and take, a true and sustainable fair exchange. These authentic connections certainly make the pool of water that we are gazing into far more interesting.
Dr. John Demartini
A world-renowned inspirational speaker, Dr. John Demartini is a noted educator, business consultant, author and founder of The Demartini Institute. He was featured in the acclaimed book and movie The Secret, and is the author of 40 books published in over 29 different languages. Holding a doctorate of chiropractic, Dr. Demartini is a retired chiropractor, and to this day carries with fondness his early memories of enjoying the use of hands, heart and mind at chiropractic college.