I was reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I had been struggling with some sadness (which to be clear is the opposite of happiness) and mild depression. Yet I couldn’t pinpoint why; I have a blessed life. So when this book cover popped up in my GoodReads feed, I was intrigued. I called my library and picked it up as soon as it was in.
As I was reading, there were many things that resonated. But one was big. Rubin writes:
“As great minds throughout the ages have pointed out, one of our most pressing concerns should be to discover the laws of our own nature. I had to build my happiness on the foundation of my character; I had to acknowledge what really made me happy, not what I wished made me happy. One of the biggest surprises of the happiness project was just how hard it was to know myself.”
Even though I am nearly (cough cough) 40, this was eye-opening to read. Knowing myself, not what I think should make me happy.
As bloggers, as striving writers in a tough industry, we read every day what we should do. We should do Facebook video, we should post to Instagram with particular hashtags, we should tweet so many times a day at these times, we should have an affiliate program set up in such a way, we should follow what this blogger did to increase her page-hits by three times the amount in two days…
We click on those articles. I clicked on them all the time. Because I wanted my words to be read, I wanted to be successful. I wanted a book deal, too! So come follow followers to my blog all you publishers! Plus, why am I spending hours and so much of myself at the screen if no one is listening?
But enter my own happiness project.
Social media does not make me happy. Keeping up with social media, the changes to the platforms that happen every hour doesn’t fulfill me. I feel saddened by links and photos and news shared. I feel tinges of jealousy when I see a blogger or writer being more successful than I (even if I know that is a ridiculously immature response and I snap out of it quickly, it happens). I have a hard time swallowing mean comments on something I poured tears into. Know thyself. Know myself.
I have actually known this for a while. For Christmas, in order to stay connected to the season, I took a self-imposed Facebook break. It was such a relief. But when January hit and I was back into work-write-motivate mode I was back at the mercy of social media.