I hate to break it to you, but most people on social media aren't your real friends. They're mostly just random people who've found their way into your life thanks to the power of technology. If you think social media is stealing your joy, you must be more selective with your "friends". Yes, SOCIAL media is meant to broaden your horizons and expand your network, but if it's causing your blood pressure to rise, you'll want to start vetting your prospectives. If a quick review of their page shows that they aren't up your alley, don't send or accept a request. It's TOTALLY ok to not respond to a friend request if you think someone's not going to be a positive addition to your life.
So we're clear on #NoNewFriends unless they aren't dicks, but what about the old ones? Here's where things can get dicey. If someone is causing you stress or unhappiness when they pop up in the newsfeed, you have a few choices. Unfollow, unfriend, or become a zen master. I reserve the unfollow button for people who I don't want to remove from my online life completely, but may spam my feed with contest entries or frequently post things that aren't in my realm of interest (Sorry, hunters, I don't wanna see your dead deer pics). Do not feel guilty about unfollowing someone. First, they will never find out. Facebook does not notify someone that you've unfollowed them. More importantly, it's not selfish or wrong in any way to protect your personal energy. This is YOUR social media feed. You can choose what you want to see just like you choose your TV channels. This will help you stay in JOY when your online.
The more decisive option is the unfriend button. It's important to remember that we are not the morality police. Not everyone is going to see things through the same lense. I think grace is a great attribute to have, but for me personally, deal breakers are hateful opinions, constant complaining, or just flat out drama. If you're contemplating deleting your mother-in-law or your boss's wife, you're going to need to really think about whether you want to press that nuke button, but for random acquaintances, I'm pretty liberal with it nowadays. I used to be more concerned with hurting people's feelings by unfriending than I was with protecting my own energy, until one day I totally lost my cool. Someone whom I had previously considered defriending but didn't want to offend, who never interacted with me on my 99.9% uncontroversial, positive, uplifting posts, felt the need to pop up one day and publicly admonish me when they saw a chance to do so. I let my ego flare and handled the situation pretty poorly, to be honest, but my biggest mistake was not previously removing this person from my life. Had I followed my gut in the first place, I would have avoided the ridiculously unneccesary drama. Sadly, especially online, there are a lot of people ready to argue or point out any little mis-step you make, but if you can weed them out early on based on their interaction with others or the way that they carry themselves, it might make your social media life that much more peaceful.
Above all else, remember, it's JUST social media. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, you're not really harming anyone, and if someone gets their panties in a bunch because of what you're posting or if you didn't "accept" them as a friend, they probably aren't someone you want in your life anyway.
Let's face it, nowadays social media is a scary place. People are so comfortable behind their keyboards that they say things they'd NEVER utter in public and certainly not to someone's face. If you've got anyone on your friend's list who doesn't have EXACTLY the same beliefs as you, you're going to run into things that raise your blood pressure now and then. This is where a little bit of GRACE comes into play. Wayne Dyer, my spriritual guru, talks about people who are constantly looking for occasions to be offended. I believe, in our instant gratification/social media driven society, this describes most of us (yes, even me!). We look at things and decide based on OUR perceptions what is offensive, assume that we know all facts and the other person's intention, and then proceed to argue for our point of view. One of the personal growth principles that has helped me tremendously in my journey is the realization that my way is not always the "right" way of doing things/believing/acting,etc.
Here's an assignment. I guarantee, at least once today, you'll see an opinion on social media that you disagree with. Maybe it's a funtamental belief or maybe it's just an opinion on a TV show. Your assignment for today is to observe that need inside of you to comment, and then SCROLL PAST. Notice how that feels. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may literally feel the anger rising within you. THAT is your ego. That's the part of you that says "I'm right, you're wrong, and I'm here with a powerpoint presentation to tell you why." We humans have this little guy inside of all of us, and he can bring a buttload of stress if we don't keep him in check. We were all raised differently, with different experiences, beliefs, and emotions, and we ALL think our way is right. But if you can start to open yourself up to the idea of allowing another person to live inside of their beliefs without your opinion or interference, I promise you'll start to feel more peace almost instantly. If you simply cannot pass it by without interjecting your opinion, that's a sure sign that you are being led by your ego, and you're going to keep a lot of that stress involved with keeping that ego satisfied. As one of my dear friends says, "Your ego is not your amigo."
Allowing your ego to subside and accepting all people for their different opinions is a profound virtue and will absolutely lead to more peace in your social media existence, but when it comes to the people you associate with, you DO also have the right to decide whether the person's comment or belief is a deal breaker for you. For example, for myself, someone who uses hate speech is not someone I'd continue to associate with and would "de-friend" quite easily. However, if someone is (and I'm gonna get heavy here for a sec) pro-life, where I am pro-choice, that's an issue that I can step back and say This is their belief, and as long as they don't force their opinions on myself or others, it is not a friendship deal-breaker. You can choose which peeps/views are too extreme to keep around and quietly (without bowing to your ego's need to make a big production) remove them from your friend's list, but I urge you to use a little grace and again remember that we all come to our beliefs through our personal experiences in life. Cutting out everyone who has differing beliefs will likely leave you bored and quite lonely.
It's so important nowadays when people are so quick to argue to use some self introspection. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself WHY you're being triggered in such a way, or why you feel compelled to argue. Search your soul for what you TRULY believe in and maybe turn that passion into something positive and tangible, like joining your local government or volunteering for the cause that means so much to you. Ultimately you choose. You can be argumentative or you can choose peace.
I've been going back and forth about my relationship with social media lately. On one hand, being a football wife who moves pretty frequently (5 states in 7 years), it keeps me not only connected to friends that I've left behind, but has helped me find some dope virtual friends. When you move around a lot, it's not always super easy to find local buds that you actually have things in common with, so some of the ladies that keep me sane and laughing on a daily basis are ones that I only see a few times a year or I've never even met in person. I've met them in facebook groups or through my beloved Beachbody sistahood and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.
With the positives there are also some major drawbacks. The first, and most important, is to realize that social media can literally be an addiction. Think about it, how many times have you sat down to watch a movie or been at lunch with your bestie, and you subconciously check your phone. If you're over 30, take some time to remember what life was like before all of this technology. What did you do to entertain yourself? What did you take joy in? If you're not old enough to remember a time like this, ask someone. It really is eye opening when you step back and notice how much of your precious time on this earth is spent with your face in a little screen. It's good to break away a little bit, especially if it's causing you stress.
The drawback that I'm going to be talking about during this series is social media stealing your joy and causing unhappiness in your life. Confession: I'm a bit of a hippie. I totally believe that it is possible to be happy most of the time, and I don't believe anything in this world has the power to cause you stress without your consent. I'm not here just to bitch. I'm here to offer solutions. They may be a little hippie-ish, but if you're cool with that, check out the rest of the series to get started on bringing your happy back!
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.