Once finally on board, it took me over a year to really warm up to it and share anything personal or work-related more than about once a month.
Boy, has that changed!
Recently, I have felt tremendous gratitude for Facebook. In many, many ways it has helped me to know myself better. As I look back over the past few years, I see that it has been like a giant playground for me to experience “coming out” in a more forthright way as simply MYSELF than I had previously realized.
I recognize that many people have a kind of love/hate relationship with social media and, most specifically, with Facebook. I agree that it can definitely bring out the “worst” and the “best” in people.
I also know that my love affair with Facebook probably won’t last forever. It feels like a vehicle for growth for me right now, professionally yes, but most surprisingly, as a tool for personal growth, as well.
So without further ado, I offer below 10 ways that Facebook has helped me to grow. Perhaps you may see some similarities and/or possible openings for your growth, too. I hope so…
1) Probably one of the most impactful ways that Facebook has changed my life is assisting me in owning and using my precious voice. As I grew up, due to core issues with extreme empathy and people-pleasing (among other things), I really flew under the radar as far as participating in different venues with my true voice. I remember not wanting the focus to ever be on me when it came to speaking my truth. I always desired my turn to share to be short and sweet. I noticed that I felt the same way on Facebook at first, always wondering: What did I really have to offer that others wanted to hear? To me, my voice never felt fully worthy of its true power. Boy, has that changed!
2) Through Facebook, I initially became aware of a hidden shadow that really seemed to desire its due as it had been covered up deep within me for quite a while. I call this the “diminishment” or “comparison” shadow where I sometimes felt less than when I noticed others’ success, especially those in a similar field or those experiencing something close to my heart. Facebook has allowed me to befriend this shadow and really get to know her (I call her Diminishment Donna) inside and out. I cannot tell you how much headway I have made in the “comparison game” through Facebook.
3) Number three goes hand in hand with number two in that Facebook has assisted me tremendously in being truly happy for others as I fully began to participate in their successes, setbacks and joys in this medium. The daily practice of acknowledging others with a comment and/or a thumbs up has freed me from the insidious “if I acknowledge your success then I somehow diminish myself” noose more than I ever would have deemed possible in an arena that many feel actually tightens the noose.
4) As I tend to fall more in the introvert lane, the networking around the world for my work as a soul nurturer via Facebook has simply been incredible. Local golf outings, events, power lunches and cocktail parties are, simply put, not my natural way. I am a communicator, a writer, and an empathizer who connects with others emotionally. Facebook has allowed me to connect virtually in this way, and the impact on myself and others regularly astounds me.
5) Number five goes hand in hand with number four in that Facebook has enriched my life with, beyond what I ever thought possible, a cadre of new friends. Some claim that cyber friendships are not the “real” kind. In my experience, I honestly could not disagree more. I share more depth and true soul “sisterhood” (with both women and men) on Facebook, more than I have ever found in my local community alone. I have found a soul tribe of sorts that sees and uplifts me, and I them. I feel truly blessed in this regard.
6) While I used to journal solely for my own personal growth, Facebook afforded me the opportunity to share my interior insights on life experiences so that others may also benefit from my inner work, if desired, and vice versa. In our modern world, there often simply isn’t the sharing, depth and mirroring that was available to us more directly within our own communities in earlier times. Facebook can be like the new village in this regard, and I use it very purposefully and intentionally.
7) Facebook has offered a multi-generational venue of interaction between my daughters, their peers and me. In my day as a teen, I certainly never knew the inner thoughts of my friends’ mothers. I had no idea beyond what I may have observed and intuited from them who they were as human beings past simply the role of mom. I feel that it has been very powerful, moving in both directions, the availability to connect in new ways with different generations. The vantage points that cross, I have come to cherish. My feeling is that we are offering one another much in the form of empowerment and personal truth, more than we can yet fully comprehend.
8) Through Facebook I have had the opportunity to be a part of a large, diverse blogging group on a daily basis where I have learned so much about the sharing of ideas. For someone who is self-employed and works primarily alone, this serves as a touchstone in my work life that has brought good things to me, both inner and outer. Through not only reading their blogs but also through interacting on such topics as how to respond to negative comments and how to stay inspired as a writer, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself on many levels, as well as about others.
9) The many articles and blogs that I come across via Facebook have really expanded my perspective. Every day I encounter something that gives me new ideas to chew on and/or moves me in some way. I have always been open to new perspectives, but Facebook has made it a daily practice that I have come to deeply appreciate.
10) Finally, number ten goes hand in hand with number one. Facebook has been like twenty years worth of personal growth in just a few short years as far as having the courage to live true and share “Annieness” with the world. If someone had told me a few years back that I would be sharing regularly, often daily, from my soul for all of the world to see, I would not have believed them—I would have said, “No way!” Being more fully myself on Facebook has paved the way for me to be more fully myself and downright vulnerable in all other areas of my life. It, again, has been for me like one giant playground to learn once and for all to be comfortable to come as I am, without fear and shame—a blessing beyond blessings for a gal who used to feel most comfortable hiding her spirit.
I was not expecting to write this blog, but it came to me in full this morning while partially awake lying in bed listening to the rain. I hope that my words here may benefit you in some way.
Warmth and LOVE,
And, always, THANK YOU for reading!
A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on her Facebook Pages and engage with her on Twitter @annieburnside