When I started writing, I did it because there were things I wanted to say. I did it because it was fun. I wrote about things that I cared about and to my surprise, there were people who liked it. I got excited and created a blog. I thought it would be my very own online space. It would be the place where I get to express myself and others can decide, if they’re interested in it or not.

Great right? I was inspired and full of ideas, until I started caring about how good my blog is, how many people like it. I began checking my entries’ views regularly. I started thinking about it. If an entry didn’t have at least as many views as the previous ones, I got disappointed. I started thinking why it wasn’t equally liked, if it wasn’t interesting enough, what I could write about, how I can increase my views and so on.

I slowly went from enjoying writing, to constantly thinking about it and from what I read I’m not the only one. I often read entries form others on how challenging it is to stand out as a blogger and how difficult it is, to attract attention. Now I don’t think that frustration is unusual.

The more we emerge ourselves in something we like, the more we share of ourselves, the more we need a confirmation that it is actually ok to do so. We don’t want the world to respond to us in a way that means we’re not good enough, or uninteresting. We want to hear that we’re great, talented and that we should keep going.

It’s a little like dating. If you go on a first date and your date doesn’t call you back you’ll get annoyed but you’ll eventually think “whatever”. If you however, date someone you like and who you think you have a good chemistry with and they disappear after a few dates, then it’s almost impossible not to be hurt. The more we reveal ourselves and the more we give, the more likely it is to feel bad if we don’t receive what we thought we would.

We are willing to be genuine and open up and keep giving, as long as we are recognized for it and accepted. Is acknowledgement however, always a prerequisite to feel safe in our skin and be ourselves? As much as rejection hurts, is it good enough a reason for us to stop doing what we like or even modify the way we do it? We all make compromises on a daily basis because our lives depend on it, but where do we draw the line?

Though it’s probably wise for example, to be punctual at work and make an effort in order to make a living, is it ok to work with something that you hate so that you’re considered to be successful? And though it might be ok to watch a movie that you don’t like, for the sake of your friends or boyfriend, would it be ok take up activities that you have no interest in, or change the way you dress for them?

Now, certain compromises for the things that are important to us is one thing, but I’m afraid that we have lost perspective lately in this relentless pursuit of success. A pursuit very much enabled and encouraged in social media, which have given us new tools to become successful.

We have made almost all aspects of our lives public on the internet, so even the things that are dearest to us, or that are purely meant to make us happy, have become nothing but another way to compare ourselves to others, another way to achieve something in life. And I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that there’s people out there, who have forgotten, what the meaning of things was before everything could be shared online.

Writing makes me feel good and though I like sharing my thoughts, it’s more than sufficient, that I like them. Do I need others to confirm, that what makes me feel good is good enough indeed? I don’t and you don’t either.

So take a few steps back and remember what things originally meant to you, why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Don’t sacrifice that meaning in the shrine of social media. Protect the importance of your thoughts, your poems, your paintings, your relationships, your children’s smile, or anything else precious to you. Share them with others if that makes you happy, but never forget it’s your joy you’re sharing, not your success.

Published by Eleni Riga-Johansen