Mummy shark and I were recently observing the way social media has become crowded. Most of us have taken to various platforms to sell our wares, share our thoughts (more like our entire lives) and seek opportunities. The lockdowns, social distancing and stay at home protocols have pushed humanity to these social media platforms as it seems to be the only available bridge to connect with others and keep our hassles going. Here covid protocols seem not to apply. With the sharp increase of users, maybe it’s time we considered applying social media distancing. There is a lot of misuse (abuse even) of our newfound online freedoms. Stay away (at home) measures and even some lockdowns may be necessary.
Despite the kelele online, there has been a lot of useful information to improve our lives, keep us updated with what’s happening globally, and help advance our various interests. Linkedin has overtaken Facebook and Twitter for me since covid struck. I find myself seeking more engagement there because I’m likely to find more work opportunities compared to the other platforms. It has specifically aided my growth as a coach as I interact with professionals in that field. Instagram (and a little of Twitter) has helped in showing my photography. I also get inspiration from other established photographers. Folks have mad talent. Facebook and Twitter are where I post my weekly articles. I also post my photos in some closed groups.
Social media has become a source of peer pressure too. We stand advised to consume it carefully and with a grain (few more grains mostly) of salt. Things are not always as they appear. Sometimes situation kwa ground ni different. I have come across inspiring stories of people who have achieved great success against all odds. Good demonstrations of what the human spirit can achieve when we commit to a task. I have also seen folks celebrating significant appointments in their careers. Such posts are followed by many comments of praise and even more likes.
For those who feel stuck on their journey, such stories can be discouraging. One tends to feel forgotten. We would wonder kwani what am I not doing that others are doing? We feel deserving of such success too especially if we are putting in the work. It’s human nature to feel envious of others especially when in a rut ourselves. The envy can marinate and become resentment and that’s what we have to guard against.
Nelson Mandela said that “resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. Resentment is defined as a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as wrong, insult or injury. Corona has tested our limits especially mental limits. Many of us are in a fragile state mentally and so easily prone to succumb to envy and resentment when things are not going our way.
I recently caught up with my halftime dad ( as I fondly refer to him) Mike. He shared how his struggle with covid has been over the last few months. A huge part that got him through that dark period was his strong mind plus the medical attention of course. He calls it conscious discipline. A poem has even come out of that difficult experience. In one part he says, “ I’ve had to push myself beyond reasonable limits, forcing myself to go far beyond what my softer self would wish, outright conscious of the need for iron discipline.”
Iron conscious discipline is the vaccine against the resentment pandemic. It comes with a heightened sense of self-awareness where we can recognize when we are sliding down that slippery resentment slope. We are likely to catch ourselves early before we drink that poison. One thing I’m learning is to do what waiters do, serve. Also while in the hallway of life waiting for our door to open we can choose to celebrate others. Clap until it’s our turn. The theory of serving as we wait to post our breakthrough is a good distraction from focusing on others. Because to focus on others means we have stopped moving to look (more like stare) at them. So folks just do you and remember your miracle is in the moving.
Not spending too much time surfing the net and scrolling social media is also helpful as it encourages us to focus more on ourselves than on others. A good balance might be to glance at what’s out there then gaze at what we need to do. It is difficult but not impossible if we are to keep the pressure at bay. And that’s where conscious discipline comes in. That visit with Mike was like the gym for my mind. Mental workout. Let’s celebrate others’ success both online and in real life as we wait for our turn. Allow me to start start here by clapping for you all who pass by here every Friday. Asanteni. You keep me writing.