Have you ever seen the movie Being John Malkovich? It’s definitely not your typical Hollywood fare, but I adore the film. There’s one particular exchange that I want to tell you about today. Craig (played by John Cusack) has come to the sad realization that his dream girl Maxine (Katherine Keener) loves someone else a lot more than she loves him, which is to say, she doesn’t care for him at all. He looks miserable while she floats on and on about how happy she is.
“You’re not in love, Maxine! This is what being in love looks like!”
“Oh, well you chose the unreciprocated kind. It’s very bad for the skin,” she returns.
I say this with all love, care, and concern, but um…you’re kind of reminding me of Craig lately. And the biggest problem is that you aren’t loving YOURSELF enough.
Starring the Social Media Elite as your dream boy/girl
Here’s the thing. You’re kind of pining after attention from the “big kids” in the same way that Craig pines after Maxine. A single glance (or mention) lightens your entire day. A perceived slight and you are miserable.
Meanwhile, you’ve got all of these people around you commenting on your posts or talking to you on Twitter or trying to engage with you on LinkedIn, and you’re giving them the short shrift because maybe they don’t have 50,000 followers.
In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves, “Woah.”
Let me get a can opener and open up this here can of truth. Ready?
1. Much like Maxine, people will get creeped out by you if you sort of end up stalking them or getting really bummed when they don’t say hi to you. Why? Because it’s creepy.
2. If you are not confident enough in yourself to know that what you are doing is awesome, you will not invite other people, especially people with big reputations, to feel confident in you. It’s that old catch-22, like, “You find love as soon as you stop looking for it.” (I always have hated that one, by the way).
3. If you try to get on someone’s radar by emulating their style and bugging the heck out of them, they will see you as competition, a nuisance, or perhaps both.
4. In the online world, it’s really not just one true love you’re after. Once you get that first person on your list to follow you or mention you, you’ll say, “Oh, OK, now I can go for that person because this person finally talked to me.” You’ll never be satisfied or content with your online presence. Why? Because you don’t love yourself and what you’re doing enough to see the value in it on your own.
You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling…
When you fail to love yourself enough, you don’t have any love (really) to give to others. That’s true in life and it’s definitely true online. If you are waiting for validation from some big name, then you will not be able to promote others with an open hand and heart. Why? Well, what if they end up getting that attention you so desire? What if they leapfrog over you in that person’s eyes? Engagement can only happen in a meaningful way in the online world if you’re sure enough of yourself to put yourself out there in support of someone else.
Part of the inspiration for this post came from Tuesday’s episode of Kitchen Table Talks, which starred Chris Brogan, Joe Sorge, and Mitch Joel. The guys were talking about whether we praise ourselves enough. A few different people said “Oh, I can’t celebrate accomplishments because then I’ll just rest on my laurels and I won’t move forward.”
Quoth the low self-esteem raven, “Nevermore.”
Listen folks, it is okay to *OCCASIONALLY* celebrate your accomplishments. And how do I know you won’t stop evolving? Well, we’re not wired to just stop. When you learned how to roll over as an infant, did your body collapse because you had done enough at that point? I doubt it. When you got that first ever comment on your blog site, did you say, “Welp, that does it. I’m just gonna enjoy this here comment. All done.” I doubt it.
Will people maybe misconstrue your celebration? Perhaps. But if you also celebrate the accomplishments of others, your intentions will be clear enough. And by the way, if you’re chilling in the online world, you need to be able to stomach people misunderstanding or misrepresenting you. Like I said – grow a pair and love yourself.
Oh yeah, business ramifications
By the way, this is really important for those of you who are trying to build a business online. If you think that your business will grow because all of the presenters at BlogWorld liked your last post, you are (most likely) sadly mistaken. The folks you really need to pine over are your customers and your potential customers. They’ll give you money if they like you, too, which is really a pretty good deal.
So, look, I know that it’s hard to feel great in this crazy messed up world. But look at what you’re doing. You’re out there blogging or tweeting or working or parenting – maybe all of the above. You can measure progress. You can celebrate your accomplishments. And you can still celebrate with other people, too. And your love, it won’t be unreciprocated. And even if you don’t get that one superstar to comment on your happy birthday tweet, you’ll be okay, because you know it was awesome of you to do that.
This is post #81 in the Engagement Series. Thanks for stopping by!
Image by Ana Labate. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ana_labate