I was thinking about accountability. I was also thinking about growth and how the internet is a highlight reel. I was thinking about how all these things mix together. For younger people it’s harder to process the fact that you’re not seeing everyone life as it actual is by following them online. Adults know that, and we know that well, but we have no drive to make dents in our online perception because we all like looking better than we actually are. We like to display ourselves as if we have no room for growth, because we are, for lack of better terms, fully grown.
I don’t want the internet to know all my darkest secrets. I’m really careful about not posting anything that will come back and bite me later on. I worry about what I like and how it would effect me if someone I knew scrolled through every single Favorited tweet of mine. It’s something to be careful about- after all employers, colleges, and people in powerful positions are known to do that.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be held accountable for my failures, because being accountable for them helps you grow, and no matter what social media portrays we all have a lot of room to grow. So how do we frame our online landscape to push us towards growth and help us become more?
Part of that is following people who inspire us, who teach us things, who motivate us, and who do so with honesty not envy. We need to follow people who are accountable and who are open. That doesn’t mean that they blast their mistakes with reckless abandonment, but it does mean they share their growth that came from past mistakes. It’s a easy way to say “yes I mess up” but also “I’m better off now because I corrected it”.
I don’t really find myself inspiring or motivating, but I thought I’d share some of my recent mistakes with you and what I learned from them. Then at least I can try to take steps toward inspiring and motivating myself.
- I gave up gluttony for lent, then promptly didn’t. I failed at lent before the second day happened. I did so poorly I’m ashamed. But I learned I need to take smaller steps before I take off running. I should have given up late night snacks, which is when I eat the most unhealthy. I should have worked up from there instead of trying to cut all my bad eating habits cold. If I had done that then perhaps I would have been excited about the fact that I ate a brownie on day three and none of my Lyme systems flared. Perhaps I could have celebrated that sign in health without deep shame. Perhaps I could have given myself a little room for failure, because after all, we all need it, and perhaps that would have allowed me to succeed in my quest to sacrifice things for my betterment.
- I got ahead only to fall behind. I have a tendency to come out of the gates running full speed ahead, realize I’m ahead of schedule, stop working on it for a while, only to suddenly be behind again. I’m the hare in the tortoise and the hare story come to life. Honestly I don’t think I can change how fast I work at things, or if I could I wouldn’t want to, but I do need to work on setting myself up for coming back to a project before to much time has lapsed. For me that means putting reminders in my planner.
- I let repeated terror make me cold to terror. There have been two shootings in the news recently and I hardly flinched when I learned about them. Does this make me a terrible person? I wonder, but I think it’s from repeated expose to this type of terrible news. I don’t know if I’ve allowed it to seem normal or I’ve allowed it to seem unreal, but I think both of these statements can be true at once. I think I built up a shell to protect me from reoccurring terror and because of it I was able to dismiss terror without feeling anything. I need to be able to feel horror when I see it without letting it crumble me and finding that balance is hard, but it’s better to struggle with finding that balance than to not care. (I request no politics in the comments- thanks in advance)
- I let my own stress mess up something that was supposed to be fun and exciting. Without going into too much detail (because others are involved in this example) I messed up something exciting by being a bit of a brat because I was stressed. It was stupid, not only because of how I acted, but because it was supposed to be exciting for me as well. I need to pay attention to my stress and hear it before it forces itself out of me in unkind ways. Had I simply addressed the fact that something was stressing me out I wouldn’t have been a brat.