In the last month I've had three big engagement spikes in the social media world, or to be more precise, on Instagram.
The first one happened when my picture got featured on Instagram's own page, you can read more about that here, and the second spike happened a few weeks ago when a picture of mine got over a 10,000 likes that resulted in over a 1000 new followers in one day, which are HUGE numbers by my standards. Then just a few days ago my picture got featured again (!?!) by Instagram as part of the weekends hashtag project.
Now that means my pictures got featured twice in a one month, which is absolutely insane and makes my socks wiggle and swirl around and do all kinds of fancy moves from excitement. And, even though the true joy of sharing creative work online lies in the connections and feeling of being part of a community much more than looking at the numbers, it does undoubtedly feel good to get validation that what I'm putting out in the world is resonating with people.
But, as I was dancing in the disco ball light of the online world, there was another peculiar feeling that hit me, namely a weird sense of passiveness. A feeling I wasn't quite prepared for.
Suddenly the engagement on my account skyrocketed without me actively doing anything, which immediately made me question, should I be doing something? It felt weird to passively stand by and see how the likes and new followers kept rolling in even though I wasn't actively doing anything right at that moment, I become almost like an outside witness to the whole thing And then an ambiguous fear started to creep in, maybe this would all be taken away from me if I didn't do something to show that I've truly earned it? Could I just lean back and allow myself to enjoy this moment and let go of my own fate? Just trust that my destiny is in the safe hands of the universe while I kick back for a moment?
Ok, so maybe I'm being slightly over dramatic here, it is after all only Instagram we're talking about. However, I think these feelings might be common when it comes to reacting to a small breakthrough of some sort. When that moment something you've wanted to happen for a really long time finally does come true, you start being afraid of losing it if you allow yourself to enjoy it too much. How can celebrating our victories be so difficult while talking about our struggles seems to come so naturally?
For me personally this might partly be due to the fact that I'm much more used to the feeling of trying really hard without really knowing if what I'm doing is going to resonate with anyone else or if it's any good. So the feeling of success is just kinda, strange.
While I'll continue to practice celebrating my successes without becoming numb and terrified, I'll remind myself that feeling like I'm failing is actually not a bad thing at all. On the contrary, whenever I feel like I'm failing or not achieving what I want I start to work that much harder. Whenever I'm feeling dissatisfied with my work I kick in another gear and start pouring all my effort and energy into it which I probably wouldn't do if I would feel confident and safe.