Not a Word Wasted

20180118_151546.jpgOne of the great things about technology and social media is the freedom and opportunity it gives everyone to write, share, and communicate with others. But on the other side is the overwhelming amount of words and information we must then sift through to find the “good stuff.”

The more I interact with social media, the more I feel these words rise up in my heart: Not a word wasted. Meaning, I don’t want anything I put here on my blog or anywhere else to be noise, fluff, or attention grabbing nonsense. I want what I say and the space I take up to be filled with purposeful, meaningful substance.

I feel this pull back and forth in wanting to be an actual “real” writer—between just being myself and doing my thing and feeling that there are things I should be doing and giving my time to in order to succeed. I need to build a social media presence and “brand” myself and share a certain amount of pictures and words in just the right space and way as to draw in followers and likes. I need to sale myself and what I’m doing or I’ll get lost in the myriad of others who are likewise writing and sharing and wanting to be heard.

Only, none of this social media stuff has ever sat very well with me. I like it when I like it but then I want to put my phone down and feel no pressure to post or share anything unless I’m independently moved to do so by the beauty I capture in a photo or the words I jot down after I’ve come to a realization I want to share with others.

It seems to have gotten turned around—we capture a photo for Instagram to build an audience and garner attention when really the photos we share would be better to come from such beauty and enthusiasm that we can’t help but share. The landscape so stunning, our heart so broken or full that we can’t help but overflow into the hearts and lives of others with our words and pictures. Better indeed than the turned-around situation we find ourselves in where we take a picture or scribble some words and practically bang down the door on other people’s hearts and lives in order to have our own hearts and lives seen and heard.

Lately, I’ve been writing and sharing here very consistently. It’s good practice for staying in the habit of writing and I find the more I write, the more I have to write about. It’s as if one thought leads to another and my heart opens up more and more to all the beauty and lessons around me that might be captured and shared.

But I haven’t gotten there yet with say, Instagram or Facebook. It just feels like too much work trying to keep up with it all. After all, my real, everyday life is only so sharable and interesting to others—especially when it must be summed up in an eye-popping photo complete with a succinct and engaging description (I’m looking at you, Instagram).

I don’t mean to sound like a hater. Like I said, I do like social media. I get to share and connect with lots of beautiful people only because such tools exist. It’s a really cool time to be alive and such an amazing thing to be a part of. I just don’t want to get carried away by it. I don’t want to become, as Thoreau said so far before his time, “a tool of my tools.”*

Not a word wasted.

So if you hear from me at all, I hope you hear something worth your time and attention. I hope I present to you only my authentic self and only when I’m ready and inspired to do so. Never because I felt compelled by self-centered motivation or the need to merely compete for attention with all the other voices around me. Sometimes I give a lot, sometimes hardly at all. At the end of the day, I have not deluded myself into believing you notice either way.

And if you do, perhaps you, like me at times, need to look up and away from the lives of others and invest a little more into your own. When I start to feel jealous or less-than in the world of social media, it’s typically not anyone else’s fault—it’s me, looking in all the wrong places for attention and fulfillment. And in those moments I’m reminded to keep my eyes on my own road and story. To be who I am and do what I do regardless of who notices or “follows” along. People and crowds and audiences come and go but I must live with myself forever—so there’s that.

If you have something to say worth hearing, people will probably notice and pay attention anyway. And if not, don’t sacrifice the quality of your life and words merely for the attention you might gain in doing something less than your very best in an inauthentic way.

I’m speaking to myself as much as anyone else and asking every time I go to Instagram or Facebook, “Why?” Why are you here? Why are you saying that or sharing that image? Would you do the same if absolutely no one noticed or cared? Or are you living to be seen and putting on a show for a hoped-for audience? Questions I must grapple with every single time indeed.


*The actual quote is, “Men have become tools of their tools.” Henry David Thoreau

 

5 thoughts on “Not a Word Wasted

  1. Oh my gosh, thank you for writing this. You’ve put into words exactly what I’d been grappling with. I started my blog because I wanted to write, and to have a place where I can discover who I am and just be my authentic self. But as the years went by, I felt pressured to write posts that fit what a “proper” blog post should be. There should always be lists or bullet-points or attention-grabbing titles, all that stuff. I’ve lost part of my authenticity trying to keep up with all that. Thanks for the reminder that it shouldn’t be so. I’m bookmarking this post to remind myself of your beautiful message.

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve struggled with the same thing—trying to write in a way I think people will like instead of just being myself. It takes a lot of vigilance to stay authentic in the world of social media but I definitely think it’s worth it and hope I do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your words. I always come away encouraged and challenged. Recently someone was talking to me about how they look at facebook and immediately become discouraged for their life is not what they see their peers doing. I reminded her that people tend to share only what they want and most often people do not want to post pictures of a sink full of dirty dishes, a couch filled with unfolded laundry and/or a picture of their child painting the walls with their dirty diapers, and yet, that is where most of us are. Facebook gives us the veneer of lives, the perfect, shiny parts that say, this is who I want you to see. Well written post Kari, I love your perspective and wish I could have had this all thirty or forty years ago. ❤ Cathi

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like I write the same things over and over again sometimes but I’m constantly re-learning the same hard lessons right now. Social media can be such a beast but I’m trying to learn and use it in a way that helps my soul rather than tearing it down ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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