I’ve been recently thinking more deeply than usual about the “Liking” phenomenon (as in “Like Us on Facebook“). So you have an idea of where I’m coming from in all this, I’ll say I’m not one to go around “Liking” everybody’s photos or updates on social media. In fact, I’ve been known to say things like, “Yeah, I’m not interested in seeing the sandwich you bought for lunch and decided to take a photo of with your smart phone, and I’m much less interested in ‘Liking’ it on Facebook!” Yes, I know, I’m no fun.


I’m not one to go around “Liking” everybody’s photos or updates, but…


But, I did an experiment recently: I opened myself up to the possibility of just noticing what I truly like when I’m browsing online, regardless of whether or not I decide to click on the “Like” button.  And maybe noticing not only what I like, but noticing more broadly how things “strike” me. How I react to them.


It’s easy to slip into being judgmental when you’re looking around for things to “Like”, I found. After all, I wouldn’t want to “Like” something that’s not “good”, would I? What would it say about me? Well, I know that, for me, it’s not helpful to process experiences in those terms: like/don’t like, good/bad, black/white.


What if it could help us “simply notice”?


tame gremlinSo what about just noticing? And how is it really different than liking or not liking? Well, for me it was quite different. When I stopped feeling I had to evaluate everything, or generate a verdict about whether or not it was worthy of my “Like”, and I simply observed… a calming shift occurred.


I’m reading a book called Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson. It’s about how to get out of your own way. The premise of the book is that we all have parts within us, gremlins, that constantly discourage us from living fully and following our dreams, and keep us from being our best selves. One of the keys to taming your gremlin, Carson says, is to “simply notice”.


Noticing is in line with living mindfully. Not judging things as good or bad. Not judging yourself either for how they strike you. Things just are. Your reactions just are. And you simply notice it all. (The word “simply” truly should be in quotes because, as most of us who have tried to “simply notice” can tell you, it sounds much easier than it really is.)


Looking for things to “Like” is an opportunity to notice how we react


It seems counterintuitive that social media, which never stops and can be so very noisy, could serve as a stepping stone to mindfulness. But maybe “Liking” things on Facebook can help us notice the world around us a little more. Maybe it could make us feel more connected, to really notice what we read and see online. And maybe looking for things to “Like”, for things to react to, gives us the opportunity to notice how we react. And if we do it “simply”, maybe we can tame those gremlins that Rick Carson writes about, and just “be” in the present.


Do you use Facebook or LinkedIn as a mindfulness tool to “simply notice”? If so, I’d love to hear about it.


I’m trying to think of an alternate icon to the ubiquitous Facebook “thumbs up” to represent “noticing”, but haven’t come up with a good one yet. I’ll keep looking for something, an image I can think of to give myself a little inward acknowledgment that I just noticed something, and that I’m being present when I do that. Whether on Facebook or not.