The Ruining of Self Through "LIKES"

She hit 'post' on her photo and was so excited. This photo, with her toes in the grass and the dandelions like sunshine polka dots, was making her ridiculously happy.

She hit refresh a couple times, waiting for the little hearts to start popping up. Nothing, but it had only been 30 seconds. She scrolled through the pictures of others, clicking the grey heart to indicate that she liked what she saw.

Minutes passed, still no hearts. She went on with her day, feeling the joy of dancing among the bright weeds. When she went back a couple hours later to just a few hearts, she started to deflate. Is my photo stupid? I should never have posted it. Why didn't my friend like it, I like all her pictures? It's not really a good picture anyway...

And so it goes...

We do this and it's ruining us. It's addictive and breeds self-loathing. And the time spent comparing our "hearts" to someone else's number of hearts borders on insanity. There's a number that we all like to get above, and if we don't get there we feel less then (what's your number?)

Selfies/self-portraits should be about looking into our own eyes and loving ourselves. But we share them with the world, and we then let the numbers decide if we are worth it or not. I wish, beyond wishes, that we could choose to turn that feature off. Yep, here's my photo, and nope, I don't want to know if you like it or not, because I already know I'm gorgeous.

And if those hearts or thumbs up or 'likes' really did matter, well they aren't to be trusted. We all have a different agenda when we press that little button on someone else's photo, and the person on the receiving end can't possibly know how to interpret it.

There are hearts from people who truly love what you've posted. 
There are the hearts with strings attached, I'll like your photo and hope you like mine
There are the returning the favor hearts, I'm liking your photo because you liked mine.
There are the people who heart everything, every time, including their own stuff.
There are hearts to show that you are being witnessed, and held, and loved.
There are the business people who heart and hope you will go to their profile and buy their product.
There are the people who heart because they are your mom.
There are people who heart because they were paid to.
And sometimes we get hearts because our kitty is in the picture, and who doesn't love kitty's?

In the last 3 days I've received 12 photos from women who are obliging in a little exercise. The photos are unedited and I return them back with my interpretation of light and spirit. I'm witnessing conversations about how women see themselves and how they own their beauty. To me, and to others, the women are so crazy gorgeous it's ridiculous.

But there is criticism and discomfort. Vulnerability and excuse. There is also love and surprise. There is essence and there is questioning.

I can't help but think about how social media plays a part in this, not just for these 12 women, but for any women who has ever shared a photo of herself. 

So hearts. I'm starting there. Keep sharing your beauty, but please don't count those hearts.