How I overcame the fear of sharing in social media

From hiding to publishing dozens of articles that no one reads. And accepting it.

For many years (6? 8? 10?!?) I used to have my Facebook profile hidden with 0 posts nor photos. I remember exactly the moment when I decided to change the ways I kept using social media.

I had spent too much time on Facebook and had felt that my posts and photos with 2–3 likes were embarrassing. Especially the last photo, that someone else tagged me on, I thought I looked super cute, but it got no likes at all. I posted it on my feed and waited. And nothing. A couple of hours later I decided to delete every single one of the items that were visible on my wall. I was done with waiting for other’s approval. Thinking about what to post, why no one likes it etc. was exhausting and gave me nothing in return. It took me half of the day to erase my Facebook past. I had a clean slate that no one could judge, even me, simply because there was nothing to judge anymore.

I was about 21 back then and it felt… liberating. I didn’t have to think about what to post and what to hide, if I looked good enough on that photo or not? If someone tagged me on a photo I automatically blocked it. I didn’t compare myself to others on the merit of photos, travel posts, social reach, etc., I just decided I didn’t want to compete in this race.

In the meantime, I have started an Instagram account. I had a rule of never publishing photos of myself — only sharing photos of places/items, things that were impersonal. I was pretty proud of it. I kept calling it my photo diary, but no one except me would understand what all these photos meant. I thought I was being mysterious ;)

Also, I was also stressing the importance of personal data protection, defending my right to privacy, warning others about data security, and so on.

2 years back I got hired by a company that puts a lot of attention into personal branding. Only then I understood the actual potential behind it and comprehended that it’s not that difficult. Yet, I couldn’t let myself just post something. I had these questions and beliefs banging in my head:

  • What if no one reads it and no one likes it? Does it mean I’m a loser that has no friends?
  • What if it’s stupid and everyone will think I’m an idiot?
  • I’m not smart/pretty/interesting enough to actually share something meaningful.

I didn’t want to face them, but at the same time, I have felt that there is so much stuff going on in my head that I actually want to share with people. I just had this block Personal branding became something more to me. It wasn’t about pushing myself and proving everyone how great I was, it became a vessel to share what I really think and believe in.

And so… I got back to therapy. I work with an amazing therapist that uses Process Work and as cliche, as it is, we figured out that it’s because my parents divorced when I was little and my mom decided that it’s better for me to grow up without a father than having a parent that is in active addiction.

I have never questioned her decision, but also didn’t think of the emotional impact it had on me. During the session, I felt all this love towards my dad, unrequited love in a way, that wasn’t enough for him to change his behavior. It hurt. So much. I cried as hard as ever. This love seemed like a weakness, something I didn’t want to share with anyone. How can you love someone that abandoned you? For so many years? I felt stupid, naive and helpless, but I did actually get to the bottom of this.

[The whole story is obviously more complicated than this (isn’t everything?). Despite not being next to me, my dad did support me financially for almost all my life, so I did kind of feel that he took care of me, but for a little girl money does not replace a parent. To not only share the sad parts, I will also share ‘a happy ending ‘— summer 2019 I actually told him I loved him for the first time, we talked a lot and my relations with him have never been better since ❤]

And so there I was and then I understood — I was ashamed to share on the internet because deep down I felt I was not good enough, I was afraid that showing my vulnerability publicly would get me more hurt and believed that putting myself out there was not worth it.

I had a huge fear of judgment, could imagine people reading what I had to say and then turning their backs away from me, not accepting me for who I really was and at this point, I just needed the “F**k this” attitude.

The time has come to update my Facebook profile picture, publish the first photo of me on Instagram and… write my first Medium article.

It was about working for Microsoft and it got some traction, more then I expected really, but still, the number of likes I got on Facebook was disappointing. I just decided not to care.

I published a couple more articles in English (on Medium) and 2 in Polish (on LinkedIn).

Are they popular? Well, two of them kind of were but to make it more awkward — only the first ones in Polish & English. All the other ones were… merely noticed. It’s the worst dream come true, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m happy I’m sharing. Obviously it would be nice if even 1 person have read it and it somehow influenced her, but that’s not the point for me anymore.

Why do I keep writing then? Even if no one is reading?

I don’t know. I feel that the lessons I have learned and thoughts that are popping in my head are valuable, even if not widely appreciated and I do feel it is my obligation in a way to share them. Maybe they will inspire somebody, maybe someone else will re-think something in their lives, maybe I will feel better for telling a story that lives inside of me? Probably all of it.

This text was meant to inspire at first — “ hey, you can post stuff and don’t care about stats too!”, but you’re a smart person, you know you can post stuff.

What you might not know (because I didn’t) is that not everyone is being real on social media, because showing one’s vulnerability is HARD. For everyone.

Being true and honest isn’t easy, but once you accept yourself (and not the perfect, retouched, “made” version, but the real one), you can also accept things you share online (spoiler alert: they won’t be perfect!) and then whether you get reactions — it’s secondary.

If you read all of it — :) ❤ and good luck with whatever you’re doing!

For the “cover” — photo of me in 2014 In NASA Space Center in Houston that I enjoyed, but until now haven’t shared with anyone except my (now ex) boyfriend, because I didn’t want to be judged by the way I looked or the places I decided to visit.

Aaaaaaand one more, just because Medium is cutting the first one, so you can only see my crotch (! :O)