I find myself recently dabbling a bit more in the world of social media. I have been working in my field for about twenty years and decided it was time. It’s not pretty, by any means–my older kids just smile at me trying to figure it all out. But it’s me trying something new, struggling in some confusion, holding tightly to “not yet,” and doing my best to find the most fitting path and approach as I attempt to use it to connect with more people and be part of learning and sharing important information.
During these toe-dipping experiences, I find myself having hot and cold moments. Some feel warm and fuzzy and others cold with lots of dizzy. In one moment, I come across a post about happiness (as if being happy isn’t enough anymore…the message is, you must be happier). Then, I scroll through another about good enough parenting and accepting “as is” while other posts have me secretly wondering how they do it all–does anyone actually have time to iron their sheets?
How do people pick and choose who they follow, when they follow, how much time they spend and what they take in, let alone what they choose to do next? Social media can be a positive place for sharing and fostering connection – I see that. Like other things, it feels important to continue to be purposeful in use and consumption of it. I definitely feel a responsibility for what I post and how I go about doing it. Relationships, resilience, well-being, people…far too important not to.
Following some recent tours across social media, I was thinking how quickly we could get lost in thinking about and trying to define happiness, analyzing our relationship with happiness. How quickly a too happy-heavy lean could possibly move us away from recognizing, understanding and appreciating other emotions. Happiness is not the enemy of unhappiness. Happiness is not a goal; it’s an experience. I followed-up with a post, “Happy Doesn’t Always Fit.”
I then started thinking about my work as a therapist and consultant, about me as a parent. How many of us know the feeling of wanting to make things better (happier) for a child, for example? As a parent, it can feel hard to see your child hurting. Ugh….grrrrrrrr….sigh. Logically, we understand that all of us need exposure to hurt, disappointment, sadness, etc., so that when the usual frustrations in life happen, we don’t see something (including our inner selves) as terribly wrong. Emotionally, however, it can feel like a big ask for a big person to walk alongside a little person who is struggling. It’s as if we’re being asked to make friends with fear. Ugh…grrrrrrr…sigh. Can’t we just move onto happy already?
This is human work and the realness of relationships, of parenting, teaching and supporting children is important to acknowledge. It’s definitely not easy! We want to protect children. We all want to make the right choices as carers of children. We want children to feel nurtured and be nurturing. We want children, and ourselves, to be happy in life. We also know the most beautiful tapestries contain contrasting colors and textures. And beautiful lives are composed of contrasting darkness and light, emotions ranging from the depths of despair to tears of joy. Life is woven to be emotion-ful. We grow in connection with others. It’s about how we’re seen, understood, responded to, valued, trusted…and cared for by those around us. Happy or not happy. Emotional communication…even when happy doesn’t fit!
I understand the questions and spark to finding paths for more joy, happiness, and (renewed sense of) purpose in life. Meaningful, inspiring and fun. I get it. I sooooooo get it. I also understand believing in what we’re reading and even sharing, but not always putting them into action (I sit here and type this out as I dream of a day of only eating healthy food and exercising).
No more hide and seek. We are confronted with choices in what we read and attend to and there is no one answer, one recipe, for happiness, parenting, teaching, etc. I’m going to slow my steps in this new experience at a time I thought I needed to go fast. Go lightly when staying awhile, vary my gaze and understanding, and capture the stories that take me places I want to go. I can pay attention to the undercurrents, but not get lost in them. Pause. Be emotion-ful. Connect. Because the truth is, attention to each moment, action, and interaction is where greatness lies; it’s hidden in the everyday of work, parenting, etc…the smallest of moments…and it doesn’t always look like happy.
Let’s continue to be inspired to live emotion-ful and with intention (possibly fueled by some caffeine?) – when we do, we can become more aware of the things we want to pay attention to, people who can help us, and we take advantage of encounters, connection and opportunities alongside others.
Thank you for being here! You can also see my social media dabbling on Instagram.