Dear Lovers On Instagram: Do It For the Love, Not For The Likes!

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There’s a difference between being inspired by other love stories and trying to emulate them.

It’s not unusual for me to recieve direct messages, on social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, from complete strangers. Most of them are overwhelmingly positive. They offer kind words of gratitude and affirmation for many of the pieces that I’ve written over the years about love, marriage and seeking joy. Their words almost always make my day, because relatability and inspiration are the goals I keep in mind each time I write for women. Recently, however, the subject matter of one of the messages really gave me pause. Let me explain.

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The initial message read: “Are you and your husband okay? I haven’t seen you posting happy photos as much lately…just checking on you I guess.” Had it come from someone who actually knew us well—or at all—I wouldn’t have been so surprised or uncomfortable. I do share a lot of our lives on Instagram and Facebook, so I would have better understood a check-in from someone closest to us. But, since I didn’t know this person, the message made me more than a little uncomfortable, so I responded kindly, and quickly, so we could both just move on. “We’re great,” I wrote back, and left it at that. A few seconds later, they replied. “Ok, good. Your story inspires me…I’m single so…you know I’m trying to meet my King and we can do like you guys do.” Now, let me be clear on one thing first: Of course I want her to find her man and make it work, but that's so that they can do what they do—not what we would do. Although in that moment I only had time to thank her, the more that I think about it, the more that I wish I’d said a little more. So, I’m saying it now, and I hope they're listening.

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While I’m happy to tell daily stories about women succeeding at love and finding happiness—my own experiences included—I hope that each person watching and reading along understands one very important thing: No one love story is by any means picture perfect (Instagram photos be damned) and your own experience may look nothing like those you see unfold each day on social media. But, make no mistake, that’s actually a good thing. Your story can be uniquely your own, and still be just as wonderful and powerful.

When you’re defining how you and the person you care deepest for will choose to love each other, what's most important is is what works best for the two of you, not any another couple. Date where you want to date. Eat where you want to eat. Hug the way you want to hug. Pose for photos the way you want to pose. Do it for the love, not for the likes! I’m quite positive that living and loving organically will take you on a a much smoother shortcut to bliss. it's working for my husband and I.

Put simply, when you stay in your own love lane the ride’s much better, promise.

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