Social Photo Sharing & Mindfulness


Bring mindfulness into the process!

I wondered about the urge to share: Why is this moment not enough, without the need to share?

  • Do I just want to brag, or is there a good-hearted motivation there too? What am I so afraid of, that I can’t refrain from sharing?

Here’s what I learned.

Banning the phone can help. By not allowing myself to take my phone out every time I had the urge to share something beautiful … I had no outlet for this urge. It caused me to feel a bit helpless at first. Then I started to stay with the urge. What was causing it? What did it feel like, physically in my body? What fears were coming up? What good-hearted intentions could I find?

By not giving myself an outlet, I allowed myself to explore with curiosity.

We want ourselves to look awesome. We’re social animals, so it makes sense that we want to look good in the eyes of others. We want them to think we’re living good lives, that we’re exploring the outdoors or traveling to new places or somehow finding a sense of awe in our lives. Photo sharing is a way of sharing that sense of awe, but also to let others know that we are awesome for finding these awe-inspiring moments.

We want our friends and loved ones to enjoy it too. We made an amazing discovery … and we want other people to be inspired by this awesomeness. We want them to have this awesomeness in their lives. They might get so excited they’ll travel to this place too! And that is a good-hearted desire, this wanting to give what we’ve found to others.

I know I have been inspired by other people sharing their stories, travels, adventures with me. I’ve found good information from what they’ve shared. I’ve even been moved to travel to these places myself. So there’s good-heartedness there, and it is helpful.

This moment is entirely enough. If you come across a gorgeous forest of pine trees, or a beautiful beach, it can feel so amazing that you feel a need to share it. Why? Why do we need to add the act of sharing to the already great moment? What I forced myself to reflect on, as I ran into these breath-taking scenes, was whether the moment was already enough without the sharing. And it was. Repeatedly.

We can enjoy this moment without sharing it with anyone. We can appreciate it for all its beauty without needing anyone else to do so too. We can be alone in our appreciation, without needing someone to join us. It might feel incomplete without sharing it, but it’s not. It’s complete and wonderful just as it is. But still we are now, in a new society of open heart and were sharing everything is the future 🙂

Sharing is a way to deal with the overwhelming feeling of excitement. When we find a majestic view of mountains in the sunset … it can be so lovely, so moving … that we feel the need to deal with this overwhelming feeling somehow. When we share a photo, this is our way of coping with this feeling that overwhelms us. I couldn’t share it with anyone, so sometimes I would yell out loud in joy or cry.

But other times I would just turn inward and notice this overwhelming feeling of joyfulness. I noticed how strong the feeling was, and how strong was my urge to deal with it in some way. How do we deal with powerful feelings? By taking action, usually. What if we just stayed with the feelings, noticed how they feel, faced them with courage, explored them with curiosity? This is harder than most people realize, but doable.

And what happens when we stay with the feelings … is that we realize we can handle them, without needing to take action. We can find the courage to stay. We can just sit and do nothing. It’s a brave way to live, this facing without running.

I’m not advocating you stop sharing. I’m not a technology-phobe. I am simply recommending inserting a dose of mindfulness into the process.