I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately; particularly my relationships to social media, to this project, and to this blog.
When I started the 365 Days of Kindness project at the beginning of the year it was a bit of an experiment. I wondered what would happen, how it would affect my life, and whether or not I was up to the challenge of doing something kind, generous, or in service each day.
It turns out that last bit is the easy part.
The biggest challenge I have faced in this project, and one that I would like to address today, is the struggle to reconcile the relationship between 365 Days of Kindness and self promotion. When I started the project I viewed this blog as a means of holding myself accountable. I assumed that my greatest difficulty would be in remembering or motivating myself to perform an act of kindness each day this year, and that writing a blog would be an easy way to keep myself on track.
What I did not foresee was that I would begin to feel as though sharing these posts was more about self promotion than accountability. The entire thing has a "look at me, aren't I great?" vibe, despite that not being my intention at all. I have begun to wish that I had kept this project to myself, or that I had shared it only with one or two people who could hold me accountable. I wish that I had focused on doing the thing without feeling the need to talk (brag?) about it. I wish I had recognized and protected the immense value of kindness for the sake of kindness - no pretense.
This blog isn't the only online space I've been struggling to figure out. Over the past month or so I have slowly been removing myself from social media, instead focusing on nurturing my real-world interactions and smoothing the bumps of social anxiety and awkwardness that I've wrestled with since I was a kid. I've deleted most social apps from my phone, save for the accounts for my workplace and my Instagram (which I am still completely enamored with), and I am learning to open myself to the world around me when I find myself seated on the bus or waiting for friends at a coffee shop. Instead of trying to gain others' attention I am trying to pay attention, and I believe I am better for it.
I don't know what this means in terms of my future with social media or blogging just yet, but I do know that I will no longer be posting my kindnesses on this blog. I'll still be keeping track of them on my own and chatting about the experience with anyone who cares to ask, but I am no longer comfortable with having the focus of the project - to be kind , every day, for a year - clouded by self promotion or bragging. It doesn't feel authentic (buzzword alert!), and my gut is telling me that it is time to change the way I am doing things.
I'm sure plenty of you don't understand my decision, and that's alright. I don't expect everyone to understand my desire to unplug a bit from an increasingly plugged in world. I don't fully understand it myself, to be honest. Where the boundaries lie and what mix of online and in-person interaction will be best for me remains to be seen. Hell, I don't even know if I will share this post on my social media networks or just leave it here on this blog for anyone who happens to look. There is lots to figure out, and only time will tell.
I had written more about social media and my relationships, but I feel like it got off track a bit and didn't really express the point I was trying to make, so I will leave it at this for now.