When we post stuff on a social network in the hope of getting likes or shares or followers or views, we’re engaging in a really unhealthy behavioral pattern that causes and exacerbates mental health problems. 

If it means that you’re great or likeable or awesome if you get likes/shares/followers/views, then you must not be great, likeable, or awesome if you don’t get those things. By attaching meaning to whether people like your stuff, you’re inevitably attaching meaning to whether people don’t like your stuff. You’re handing your emotional well-being and mental health over to other people. 

When I struggled with OCD, I was completely addicted to the Internet—it was one of the places I practiced OCD behaviors and got really, really efficient at them. I was constantly checking and coping and controlling. Because I was constantly doing it online, when I was offline, I took those same unhealthy behaviors into the world with me. 

You may not think you have a problem with how you use social networking sites, but look carefully at how you use them and see if you believe the way you use websites is a healthy way to interact with the world. We spend so much time online that however we interact with people online is how we’re going to interact with people in the real world. If you practice lots of unhealthy checking, coping, and controlling online, you’ll do it in the real world, too, and that’s a one-way ticket to mental health problems.

When you post stuff on social networks, a healthy way to approach it is to post for the sake of posting. Figure out what your online values are and post in-line with those. Then it doesn’t matter whether anybody shares or views your post—you did it to post. You were successful the moment you posted it. Don’t attach meaning to things you don’t control. 

- Mark

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