On Friday, I was reading an email from Emerald Street about the Twitter folk that they follow. One of the people they follow and they recommend their readers follow, apparently, tweets “witty and oh-so-true observations”. So I followed the person and then read through the tweets that they had posted previously.
While reading the tweets, I sat there thinking, “Awww, I say these things too! Why don’t I have two thousand odd followers? I make witty-slash-pithy comments too. Why don’t people find my comments funny and oh-so-true?” A little voice replied to my mental whining and said, “Maybe it’s because you whine and don’t really say things matter-of-factly?”
I think I’m fairly normal and I have a fairly normal amount of self-confidence. I like to think I have a realistic idea of how capable I am. I think when I was younger, I used to think I was the bees’ knees. I used to think I could do everything: sing, dance, write, speak properly publicly, perform on stage and be, generally, amazing. I was raised to believe in myself and my abilities. I was raised to know how to carry myself in public. I think I was blessed to have parents who raised me in an environment that encouraged realistic self-confidence. But there are days when I think back to when I was younger and wondered whether I thought I was better than I was?
I mean, if I was truly witty and funny (I was about two or three years old when I had a funny conversation with my grandfather. I said to him “I love you Lolo!”–Lolo is grandfather in Filipino–to which he replied “I love you too!” Apparently, to my grandfather’s delight, I replied “I love you three!” He apparently thought that was very smart!), why don’t more people follow me on Twitter or follow my blog? I made the same observations as that woman Emerald Street recommended their readers follow (albeit in a whiny and maybe annoying tone). How come they didn’t notice me?
After this realisation, I’ve just realised that I do want attention, despite the protestations otherwise! I love the attention I get on Twitter when people reply to or retweet my tweets. My heart does a little dance when people follow me (and you cannot believe the crash when I realise that the person following me is a spam bot!). I love it when people read my blog. I smile when I see how many people follow my blog or like my blog post or even visit my blog.
I am still disappointed that not a lot of people post comments on my blog. I sometimes still wonder why my blog doesn’t get more comments or visits? Mind you, as soon as I start going down this narcissistic road, I tell myself, quite sternly that there are over 7 billion people in the world and there are tens of millions of bloggers out there. I am only one drop in an ocean of bloggers and I write about the most common of blog topics: food, books and family. I like to think I have an amazing writing style because I write like I talk and in my head I sound interesting. But then again, that’s me, and I have a healthy sense of self appreciation (I think we should all have a healthy dose of self-respect and self-confidence, otherwise we’d all be wringing our hands pathetically all the time!). The truth is, I may not really sound amazing or my writing style might really, really suck (oh dear!).
I think sometimes when a person is highly adaptable and seems to thrive in different environments, one forgets that adaptability doesn’t necessarily mean that when one adapts, one is amazing. I sometimes forget that I’ve moved to England and while I speak English better than most people, I don’t necessarily converse in English in quite the same way! I forget that my expressions aren’t necessarily British. I may speak English but not necessarily British English, with the same nuances and the same colloquialisms.
I think I crave the attention because, like everyone else, I want validation. Validation that my thoughts, my ideas and my values matter. We all want that. Validation that we matter. I think that’s why social media has the effect that it does. Humans want validation, however they get it. People want to know that someone, somewhere in the world thinks the same way.
I think we forget that the people who give us the most validation are the people who love us, who care about us. Because they listen to us, give us the time of day and even if they don’t agree with every single word that comes out of our mouths, they still respect us because what we say comes from who we are. And they respect who we are.
I am thankful for the 229 followers that I have because somehow they provide validation (even if they might be bots or spammers anyway!) that I crave. But the end of the day, what I appreciate the most are the people in my life who love me for me, my faults and my frailties. They provide the validation that I need. They make me feel that I matter. A lot.