If writing for the Internet has taught me anything, it’s that the negative things tend to run more rampant than the positives. The “don’t read the comments” mentality exists for a reason. Why is it that the negatives are so much easier to believe, and definitely easier to remember? Why are we prone to resent the success of others (even if we would never admit it)? Because we’re taught that someone’s success is coming at the expense of our own, and that is a problem.
It’s a problem that leads to bigger problems: People competing when they could be collaborating and helping each other. It’s the reason we crave seeing that follow, or like, or comment count to soar. We develop personal #brands and maintain our aesthetics because what other people think matters. We need the view counts and the comments and the shares so we have something tangible as proof of our success. We can point to it and heave a sigh of relief: “I accomplished something.” Someone, some stranger on the Internet liked something that I wrote, that I poured myself into, that I made. Often, this is enough, and it shouldn’t be. It’s not the start or the end of success.
There’s a quote somewhere (*) that says “The Internet will never love you back,” and it’s something we all need to learn. It won’t. Websites can shut down, and followers can unfollow at the click of a button. Living this way, living for the validation and approval of an anonymous void will only burn us all out in the end. The Internet doesn’t love you. It asks no questions and doesn’t think twice before leaving a nasty comment.
We need to pride ourselves on what we do and how we do it. We have to realize that like in any of life’s other relationships, we have to love ourselves first. Love what we do and create and share with the world, because nine times out of ten, it’s the passion that people come back for, not the number of views we have. The love you have will shine through, you just have to trust yourself, and realize that what you’re doing has value. Especially to you.
*The quote is from THIS SONG by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Image: Blaise Alleyne/Flickr