The tea kettle hums behind me as I set my iPhone against a yoga block and a buddha figurine in the windowsill.
I just found out that an article I wrote has been published, which means it is time for another Facebook Live session.
Tea in hand, I open the Facebook app and hit “live video”. It says recording, and there I am on the front facing camera with my tea—live.
Suddenly, I have a platform to share my written words out loud with the world. I talk through one third of my article and encourage viewers to follow the link in the comments to read the whole thing. Then, I hit end on the live video and take a few sips of my raspberry leaf tea.
As a teacher, public speaking never frightened me, but having it all recorded for the world to replay over and over again can be intimidating at times.
From this place of vulnerability, it is easy to slip into my inner critic: Oh she’s so into herself. Who does she think she is?
I know in my gut that what I am sharing is quality content—I mean my article is about meditating off of the cushion—but there is always a hint of guilt that comes with sharing on social media.
Does this come off as vain?
I mean sharing my words in a personal way has to come from, well, me. But there is still a small amount of guilt that I should be more modest about my accomplishments.
I often wonder if I am staying true to my writing because I am sharing it over the internet. We all know how things can get warped and misinterpreted through social media. So self-promotion, with whatever work we are doing, can be hard to balance online.
A few hours after doing the Facebook Live video, I scroll through my news feed and notice that some of my friends have shared a parody Facebook Live video. It is a man dressed up like a southern woman. He has on a long dark wig with a giant home decor tassel around his neck. He stares at himself while stroking his hair into the camera.
Great. This confirms all of my insecurities about vanity in self-promotion. This is what I’ve become: a sell out with hair far too long and wrists far too expressive.
I brush off the incident until one of my friends comes to me with exciting news. She tells me that she has been asked to promote the Ayuredic Shilajit. She is excited about working with a healing product after researching and supporting its benefits for so many years.
I congratulate her, and we are excited together for a moment. But then the familiar feeling of guilt comes as she expresses her true concerns of “selling out”. She wonders if it seems like she is less authentic because she is promoting something online.
Her feelings are so similar to the guilt I experienced over Facebook Live.
My friend and I both experienced something that a lot of us experience when we dive into self promotion. Does this seem like overkill? Am I the kind of person who can do this?
It dawns on me after examining my own insecurities and hearing my friend’s same insecurities about how social media might warp the message of what we are promoting, that we can’t be selling out. We both strongly believe in what we are sharing, so we can’t be selling out.
When we offer something that could potentially help people in any way we can’t be selling out. Selling out would mean that we are being dishonest, and we both firmly believe in what we are sharing. We agree that we are not sell outs, and laugh it off feeling lighter than we did before while saying goodbye as confident self-promoters.
Finding a steady balance in between all of the messages about what we are supposed to be is confusing. Don’t bask in it. Don’t hide from it. Be modest, but be confident.
We are conditioned to think that modesty is healthy. And there are times where holding back is the most beautiful answer. Listening is a beautiful answer many times. But when we have something strong and beneficial to say, it is unhealthy to swallow our fire.
This is riding the self-promotion wave.
Am I getting on Facebook live to take one five-minute long selfie? Or am I doing it because I wrote something that means a lot to me?
It is always important to check in. If we are staying in the center of our reason instead of falling off the edges with everyone else’s opinions, we can coast through sharing our message on a clear channel.
The key to finding balance in self-promotion comes from holding onto our core values. It takes time, practice and good friends to find out what works best when sharing our ideas on the internet. Sometimes putting ourselves out there will result in getting shut down, but if we honor our truth it is worth the risk.
Stepping out and sharing something that we are proud of might make a big impact on someone else’s life. It might make someone else going through the same things feel a little less alone.
Jacqueline Hathaway Levin, Elephant Academy ApprenticeBrowse Front PageShare Your Idea
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