Tuesday, 30 June 2015

How I’m Learning to Stop Obsessing Over My Follower Count

by Bunmi Hazzan

I’ve struggled with being myself for a long time. Growing up, anytime I’ve said or done something from a unique place it’s been met with “don’t be silly” or something along those lines; on some level I’ve associated being myself with being unaccepted. We all yearn for acceptance, so I learned to conform, learned to be what was expected of me.

Fast forward to the internet age, I’m constantly second guessing what I put on the internet. Not just stuff like, “Is it offensive?” “Have I used correct grammar and spelling?” I mean, that happens, too, but more, “What would they think of me after this?” “Would they still like me after this?” “Would I still be accepted after this?”

Most would agree that isn’t healthy. I am learning to be myself. I’ve become less restrictive about posting things that I’m interested in, no matter how silly it may seem to others. As I changed, I noticed my follower count going down, and down, and down, and, oh wait it’s gone up, oh no, false alarm - it was a cached page - it’s gone down again.

I know I shouldn’t be obsessing over follow numbers, after all, what does it really mean? But if people follow what they’re interested in, and they’re not following me, then that means, I’m not interesting. I think I’m interesting, but who else would corroborate that? What if I’m just deluding myself? Why can’t people just tell you, they don’t find you interesting, instead of this, sly, stop following cowardly nonsense? But then, if they told me, then I’d know I have to change for them to like me, and I’m back to not being able to be myself anymore.

Learning to be myself is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. So far, it has challenged most, if not all, things I believe about society and the value in other people’s perceptions of me. One of the things I feel helps is spending time alone. For example, when some event or news takes place, I avoid the opinions of others, so I can be sure my thoughts are completely my own.

But that’s an extreme tactic, the problem with only listening to your own thoughts is that it is a good way to become very narrow minded. You can convince yourself of anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) because every thought conforms to your own internal logic and reasoning.

Thus, the next step after formulating my own thoughts is to read/listen to what other people are saying, and consider their view points, especially those opposing to mine. This isn’t to change my mind, it’s to expand it.

I’ve learned that being myself isn’t just about “I.” It is about understanding that all opinions exist for a valid reason, even those I don’t agree with. Before, I looked at things like, it’s either my opinion, or it isn’t. And if it isn’t, then I’m not being myself. The truth is, no one person is ever just one thing, including your own thoughts. They need the input of other in order to mature properly. Finding that balance isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile.

Along the way, you may lose some followers, people may stop liking your page, or unfriend you, they may even post videos online talking about how stupid you are (but that’s only if you’re really lucky). I once read a blog by our dear editor E Amato, it said “Everyone has an audience.” I believe that to be true, and it seems I’m still searching for mine, come across a few so far, but there’s more out there, just gotta find them.

BH the Uncivilised, some call me Bunmi Hazzan, but a time traveller has many names. I've existed for over 10,000 years and lived over 9000 lives. Travelling through time, space and multiple dimensions and writing about my experiences and observations. Or, in other words, I analyse art, and create art. The driving license I hold in this realm claims I have residence in London, England. The truth is I spend most of my time in upper regions of my cerebral cortex. I am, that poet.

No comments: