Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net / I called you, so where's my call?
I have not used the phenomena of Facebook obsessively like I used to for quite some time. The reason? I feel resentful after some time of sharing snippets of my experiences and apart from one or two very close friends, I didn’t receive the plethora of “likes” or comments that others did. Ultimately this led me to feel I was socially a “failure”. So I constructed walls, wouldn’t share, so I would not be rejected.
However, a part of the hype that is Facebook that I do participate in is trying to reciprocate to those who seem largely ignored by many people. The fact that they are remains an enigma to me. These are wonderful, authentic people who are just “themselves” on this media site. They don’t try to be anyone but themselves – extremely likeable.
I know what it feels like to be invalidated, and overlooked. Therefore, for a while, I would always make sure I responded to these people. They deserved it goodness knows more than a lot of people who had 32 likes for sharing something. I never knew why some people got such a massive response, while others were and are treated like they don’t exist.
However, I have neglected to do this of late.
However, a book I am reading at the moment about “Life Lessons” taught me something valuable about myself. It gave me an insight into my motivations, which I hate to say, were not quite as pure as I initially thought them to be. It has been said there is no such thing as pure altruism. Hence the term “hedonistic altruism” has been coined. This means we give because at some level we want to receive.
I thought about it, and I hate to admit it, but perhaps I was validating these people not only because I do care for them and can empathise with these people but also I feel good when they in turn “like” or comment on my piece of rather insignificant news for the day.
However, sometimes my giving does come from pure gratitude. The other day, my neighbour took my cat to the vet with me. Fortunately there was nothing wrong with her. However, the peace of mind was priceless to me.
I was lying in bed, and felt a need, to reciprocate, to show her the gratitude and appreciate I felt in my heart. I knew my friend liked cheezels so I went down the road and left 2 packets on her doorstep. I didn’t analyse this action in my head. It wasn’t an intellectual thing, it was a natural response of wanting to show her how much her act of care meant for me.
I have learnt it’s important not to be nice for the sake of being nice. I am no Mother Theresa. But I would like to hold onto the part of me that gives because I want to, not because I am hoping at some level for kudos, appreciation and rapturous response. This is a more pure kind of love, and I am grateful for this lesson I have learned.