Sometimes I wish there wasn't a "like" button.
I wish there were no such thing as followers and shares and clicks. I wish I could sit here and tell you the numbers don't matter. I wish I could say I didn't think twice about any of it.
But the truth is, in this day and age, there are re-tweets and comments and algorithms. There are platforms and voices and social media can be so many incredibly good things, it can reach people in amazing ways, but when abused, when done with a selfish heart, it can be so, destructive.
In 2008 I started a little blog called The Creative Mama. I had no idea what I was doing other than that I had something to say and I wanted a place to say it. Suffice to say I only had a Twitter back then (which I now use, never), and no clue what would come in the world of the internet.
That little blog flourished and expanded and I connected with so many amazing people, I could hardly believe the wonderful opportunities that just, fell into my lap.
But guys, that's when it began. Despite the growing community and the travel and the new friends, that yearning for more, that desire to connect with more, to get more comments, and @ replies, it became a dark hole.
A dangerous hole.
I've done a lot of growing up in the last seven years. I've been molded and shaped - I've had layers chipped off, I've been hurt and discouraged and inspired and blown away.
I've watched friends who "started out" with me in blogging and photography blow up and become known world-wide, I've been envious and bitter and confused.
All things in my heart I wish weren't there.
But in all that, I've also been stretched. I've been changed. I needed to have that layer sanded down, my heart needed to be broken. I needed to remember, and truthfully, I needed very much to know and define what my purpose is.
So, now, here I am. Purpose very clearly in front of me, feeling every bit like I can see how the last seven years have simply been preparing me for this, for what I am working towards now, I can find thanks and gratitude in it. Even the hard bits.
I can really "dislike" the "like" button but that doesn't mean I "dislike" the ones who read my words. Hear me when I say that's hardly the case. I simply dislike how our world makes us to think we should place our value on the numbers.
No, no, no. That is hardly the case. Friends, it isn't even about the numbers at all. It's about being our genuine selves, it's about reaching others through our (insert art of choice), it's about connection.
I have stopped looking at each of you as "followers" and started looking at you as friends. I read every single email and message I get and I reply to them all. Because I think that will help my chances of being published or increase my rank? Hardly. No.
It's because I want to. Because I feel connecting with you, to be one of my biggest blessings.
I do wish the numbers would go away, or our desire to put so much pressure on them. I wish we could glance at them and not think twice or three times, or four, but that isn't likely to change any time ever.
So I'd encourage you instead to nail down your own purpose, seek that first, before you look at anything else. Ask yourself if you feel connected, and search your heart for the deeper meaning of it all.
Write that purpose all over. Your chalkboard wall, your sticky notes, the wallpaper on your phone. Your hand for goodness sakes. Read it and repeat. And do it every single time you refresh the numbers.
Do it with me. And I believe we'll all be in a much better place for it.