Over the last few months, Facebook and Instagram have begun an experiment in countries like Canada, Ireland, and Japan to name a few. They are hiding the number of likes displayed at the bottom of posts in an effort to decrease the detrimental effect their platforms can have on mental health. Research continues to show that for all of the good of social media, there can also be a considerable toll it takes on mental health. One of those places centers on “likes” and all that represents.
I don’t know if we will ever see these changes take place in the States, but I like the idea of losing the “likes.” It can be good for our mental and spiritual health. Henri Nouwen wrote that the three big lies about identity we believe are, “I am what I have, I am what I do, and I am what other people say or think of me.”
Whether our social media platforms ever make the changes for us, we can make adjustments where we are less impacted by the sometimes fleeting and fickle affirmations of others and we are more driven by the affirmation of God. What if we seek to be pleasers of God rather than pleasers of people? What if we live first for purposes that God likes rather than living for the likes of others? What if we first serve the ways of Jesus rather than seeking the affirmation of others? What if we find our identity first and foremost based on Christ’s unconditional love, grace, claims and calling on our lives?
The more we know who we are in God, the less we feel we have to prove and less people we try to please. The less we feel we have to prove and please, the more we can lean into the true power and purposes of God.