How Facebook Exposes Our Emotional Fragility

More than ever, Facebook has become a psychological land mine. It has the power to turn a perfectly good day into a quagmire of rage, compulsivity and finally, depression.

 

While it’s a great way to stay in touch, to connect, to organize, it can also be a soul-and-energy-sucking vortex of passive-aggressive tit-for-tat. This election has certainly brought that to light.

 

But that’s no reason to avoid it.

 

The good news is that it exposes our vulnerability.  

 

When you don’t get any ‘likes’, or when someone adamantly disagrees with your opinion, if you’re anything like me, you get sucked right into a negative mindset.  

 

This is very important information.  

 

How can we engage consistently in the necessary risks of building a business or career, when we are so easily baited? Facebook is only one of the many places where we let our mood be dictated by the reactions, or non-reactions of others.  But it is instructive because it’s so immediate and illustrative.  

 

Where else are you preoccupied with how you are, or are not perceived?  How is it serving you? I’ve come to believe that this preoccupation is an indication of either an inferiority or superiority complex.  

 

Ironically, these are two sides of the same coin.  Both are the result of a fragile, unhealthy ego.  

 

What we need to cultivate for success is humility.

 

Yuck. Don’t you hate that word? That’s because it connotes some grovely, supplicant boot-licking disposition.  

 

That changed for me when I heard a great definition of it:

 

Humility doesn’t mean you think less of yourself.  It means you think about yourself less.  

 

I believe that is the key to a healthier, more robust, less fragile ego.

 

When you think about yourself less, you are less emotionally fragile because your focus is on things that matter.  The work you’re doing.  The difference you’re making.  

 

Humility allows us to fail without quitting.  

 

A lack of humility causes us to feel that there is something inadequate about us when the going gets tough, or when we feel criticized, and so we step off the field and start navel-gazing to figure ourselves out, instead of remaining steadfast in our objectives.

 

This is a version of what the Buddhists call ‘self-cherishing’.  It gets in the way of our happiness in every area of life.

 

Especially where courage and tenacity are required.

 

So thank you, Facebook. Thank you for, among other things, revealing my fragility so that I’m freer to use you as a tool for progress.

 

Thanks to all your little slings and arrows, I’m a little more awake now as I continue on my path.

 

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