Are You an Internet Stalker?

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So you’re scrolling through messages from someone you’re crushing on and you accidentally “like” a message or photo… days later!

Warmth washes over you. You know what I’m talking about. Embarrassment. Shame. “OMG. They’re going to know I was looking at that conversation again! This is so embarrassing!”

Embarrassment. Shame.

Wait.

Why though?

Have we been socially conditioned to think that it’s somehow not okay to re-read messages that make us feel good? Messages that felt warm and connecting. What about a handwritten letter? Isn’t that okay to re-read? Of course, because the original sender doesn’t know. Because if they knew, then they’d have the upper hand in the dating game. And we all know games require strategy… except that nothing about dating should be strategic. The purpose of dating is to find love. And to find love, there needs to be honesty and vulnerability. What if the original sender of the letter or messages knew you were re-reading and felt flattered to know that you wanted to be reminded of their words? Don’t you think that might make them feel special?

Social media, bullying, and fear based mentality has contributed to this idea that vulnerability and feelings are shameful. We live in a culture where people are shaming each other for having feelings. If you like someone, you shouldn’t let them know.

Recommendations for women, “Just play with your hair in front of him. Laugh at his jokes, and give him compliments to get him to like you.”

Or how about this?

“Guys, play it cool. Don’t let her know that you like her because once she knows you’re into her it’s game over.”

How much sense does that make? We call looking through old Facebook pictures “stalking”. Well, this is going to sound crazy, but back in the day we had photo albums that would occasionally come out and that was called “reminiscing”.

Actual stalking is no doubt a very real and a very scary thing. But it’s time we stop flinging this word around as if we aren’t all guilty of scrolling through old messages or pictures of people we find interesting.

It’s time we stop flinging this word (stalking) around as if we aren’t all guilty of scrolling through old messages or pictures of people we find interesting.

There is nothing more courageous than freely expressing your feelings. The idea of being vulnerable is so scary for most of us, because we’ve all been hurt one time or another. And so we put up walls (pretending that we don’t have feelings) that keep us “safe” from having to experience difficult emotions like rejection. But the key to overcoming shame, is by being vulnerable and authentic. The more willing you are to show up in the world as vulnerable and authentic, the more likely others will feel safe to be authentic themselves. And the truth is, that you will face rejection. Over and over and over again. The only way to avoid it is by not taking risks, by not living! The most important thing to remember is that rejection has no bearing on your value or worthiness of love. So keep on showing up as your true authentic self, and you’ll not only continue to grow more confident and resilient, but you’ll also give others the courage to show up too.

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