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Tiny Wisdom: Knowing Why We Pull Out Our Gadgets

“Self knowledge is the beginning of self improvement.” –Spanish Proverb

As you may remember from my post on Monday, I recently received an invitation to attend a live taping of an Oprah’s Life Class webcast.

I knew it was an interactive self-help experience, involving questions from the audience and people who Skyped in. It sounded right up my alley.

Before the taping, a woman led me and other bloggers to a reserved row and then gave us network information so we could tweet or Facebook from our iPads, iPhones, or laptops.

I only own a laptop, and I didn’t bring it with me. Particularly because I write for a living, the last thing I wanted to do was distract myself from this experience with a glaring screen. In that moment I felt conflicted: It was obvious I was invited to share on the spot, and I was not delivering.

Since the first webcast guest was Eckhart Tolle—who wrote the book on being present—I found this conundrum ironic.

Then I realized this is the challenge of our time. We’re fortunate to have tools that connect us and enable us to spread messages far and wide; and yet we always have to balance our instinct to share with our need to fully focus on what’s in front of us.

I realize there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for this, as there rarely is. I suspect it really comes down to knowing ourselves, and understanding why we’re doing what we’re doing.

According to Doug Firebraugh of SocialMediaBlogster.com, there are seven psychological needs we may be looking to meet when we log onto a social media site: acknowledgment, attention, approval, appreciation, acclaim, assurance, and inclusion.

We’re wired to want to be seen, and it’s tempting to chase that instant fix of validation or connection. That’s not to say these are the only motivations, but they’re potential driving forces. If we can check ourselves to understand why we’re tempted to share, we’ll be better equipped to meet our needs beyond the world of tweets and updates.

Sharing can be a beautiful thing if we’re genuinely inspired to do it. But it’s up to us to know ourselves, so that we connect from a place of wholeness, not from a place of lack.

Photo by Sarah Depper

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is fundraising to get it made now. To get daily wisdom in your inbox, join the Tiny Buddha list here.

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