As far as self-confidence goes, so much of social media is about approval, getting likes, comparing our lives to others' - meanwhile, confidence is an inside job: it's about how you feel about yourself regardless of what anyone else does or thinks. It's a knowing that you're human, you're flawed, and you're awesome in your own way.
We experience happiness as a series of pleasing moments. They come and go like clouds, unpredictable, fleeting, and without responsibility to our desires. Through honest self-work, reflection, and meditation, we begin to string more of these moments together, creating a web-like design of happiness that drapes around our lives.
Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.
Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.