Everyday, most of us spend a large amount of time on our phones. Scanning through apps that are consistently watching everything we do and feeding off of the abundance of media. These apps intentionally pay attention to how long we spend on this person's profile, what things we like, what things we comment on, and even what things make us put the phone down. These things happen because of algorithms. I don’t really understand them and apparently even the folx who create them don’t fully understand them; however, this isn’t that kind of blog post.
In the simplest of descriptions, an algorithm is a set of digital intructions designed to do a specific task. Tasks like collecting data and providing you with pictures and things that you might like. You 'like' one picture of a Corgi and suddenly Corgis...everywhere! I will say, oddly enough, we can learn a lot from the idea of algorithms and their function. Think about it, these apps are:
There is something to say about how certain algorithms purposely provoke and cause people distress and we will use that in our metaphor too. Imagine if you paid attention to yourself like your algorithm does to you on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Just take a moment to take the points listed above and put, “I AM” in front of each one. (Seriously, do it.) (Did you do it?) Sounds a lot like most goals people have for themselves and others. I certainly wish sometimes I paid more attention to myself and health the way I do Instagram at 12:30am. What if you intentionally listened and focused on you like your apps do? How much more would you know yourself, your capabilities, or even simply, know what you want?
Certainly there are also the negative algorithms in our apps and inside ourselves. We must take in the algorithms that are written to get a rise out of you, or spark insecurity. Often these apps can cause us to think less about ourselves, more about comparison, and other things that don’t help us have joy--much less relieve anxiety. Yet, the way to remedy these negative algorithms and systems of belief is simple. Consciously become aware and intake the material you do want to be surrounded with. Unfollow the negativity, distance yourself from the bodies that make you feel inadequate, be gone accounts that make you think you are less than enough! Even though it may not feel like it sometimes, the algorithm is a product of the energy and time you put into it. It’s your data that it is manipulating. To me, this sounds a lot like anxiety and depression. Our minds collect data and make assumptions, choices, and educated guesses on what we need. Sometimes they are spot on! Other times, way off. More times, they use leave us with more anxiety.
I invite you to take a look at what you intentionally work towards within yourself and others during the day. Are you spending time to understand yourself, to then draw in the things, options, opportunities, and more that will hopefully serve you? I know, like life it isn’t an exact science, it’s like an algorithm. What’s your algorithm?
You are enough.