Are You What You Tweet? Using Social Media for Self-Reflection and Personal Growth
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
Recently, I was at a counseling conference and attended a session facilitated by a group called "Character Strong." Character Strong is an organization that assists schools in incorporating social and emotional curriculum and provides trainings for staff and students.
"What does this have to do with me?" you ask...
Well, the part of the session that most caught my attention most was a challenge given to us by the presenter; she asked us to:
1. Write down 5 things we wanted to embody most and/or that we valued. 2. After completing the list, she had us visit the social media sites we used most to post information and connect with others—be it Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Linked In—and review our last twenty posts to see if they included the 5 things we had on our values list.
I started to get a bit anxious thinking about my recent likes on Facebook and the tweets I wrote on Twitter. Did the recent gossip about the royals fit with my values? Were memes portraying dogs doing yoga telling the world what I was most about?
Ugh. I began to dive into my social media accounts and made a quick list. Most of the information in my posts included articles on helping teen girls build resilience, how to embrace rest, mental health issues in schools, Rudy the agility-course-racing-bulldog, cute farm animals, mindfulness strategies, therapy dog information, Maya Angelou quotes, and information about yoga. Phew. My interest in brainless celebrity gossip was not among the posts!
In reviewing the list of things I valued—authentic relationships, personal growth, yoga/mindfulness, mental health, and helping others heal—I quickly realized that my shared posts were not that far off.
In a society where we're so quick to click and share information in attempt to make connections with others, I found this exercise to be extremely helpful—It heightened my awareness that what I share with others is a reinforcement of who I truly am. AND it served as a check-in that both my inner and outer "selves" were aligned and in-sync.
I now pass this challenge on to you...
In the words of Character Strong: "Honestly is about aligning your online, offline and ideal selves to make sure you are the same person in all areas of your life." More simply, "Are you what you post?". No judgement about the cute farm animals...
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]
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