Six? Only six likes? I hit the refresh button. Stare at the result.
Me and five others like the post? It’s even worse than I thought. I’m one of the six. How depressing.
I close the app in frustration, running my hands through my hair.
I don’t get it. Some days it’s dozens. Heck, at times it’s over 100. But six? What is wrong with this post?
What is wrong with me?
It’s an illogical leap but an increasingly easy one to make in a world where the number of likes is a currency of value.
I set my phone down, pick up my curling iron and attend to the task at hand–prepping to see Oprah speak at a nearby stadium. My mind churns through possible reasons for a low response as I work.
I bet Oprah has never had a single post with only six likes.
My inner critic loves moments like these, when a simple fact can be twisted into an assault on my character.
My friend stops the unraveling though, calling from the other room– “Ready?”
“Absolutely,” I call back. “Let’s go see OPRAH!”
As we walk to the stadium, we merge with groups of women, picking up a couple here, a small group there. With each block, our group grows. I feel an odd solidarity with them. We don’t know each other, but together we move towards the inspiration we hope Oprah will provide.
Settling into our seats at the top of the stadium, Diet Coke and snacks in hand, I pull my phone out of my pocket, queue up a couple photos, and post them to social media. Out of habit, I check my notifications.
Seven likes? Honestly. It’s been an hour. Only one more like? People hate this post. Maybe they hate me too.
Then, a deafening cheer interrupts my thoughts. “Hello Calgary!!!” Oprah calls over the din, sparking an even greater frenzy.
About halfway through the show, she invites Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul, to the stage. One part of their discussion catches my attention.
“We live in a world that tells us that external power is what matters,” Oprah says. “People measure their worth and value by how many followers, likes, and little hearts they have. How do we deal with that?”
I sit up in my seat.
“If you’re looking at the number of likes you have in the world, you are giving your value to someone else,” Gary says, “or more precisely, you are asking someone else to tell you how much you are worth. As long as you do that, you’ll be in pain. But when you contribute instead of consume, you experience a new way of being in the world. Likes and dislikes will not be important to you. What will be important to you is following your heart and giving the gifts you were born to give. That creates authentic power.”
He’s right! Suddenly my tormented thinking of an hour before is embarrassing. Likes don’t matter. What matters is what I feel when I write my story and share it with others. What matters is the personal power I’ve uncovered and the positive responses I’ve gotten. What matters is the freedom I have found creating this blog and living authentically without shame.
Six likes? So what! Maybe people are busy. Or maybe it did fall flat. But I was true to myself. I was vulnerable. I was willing to let others in and to connect with them. I was willing to be brave, not perfect.
That’s worth far more than any number of likes.