Have you ever logged onto Facebook, looked around for a while, put it away, and then felt better about your life/ yourself/ the state of our country or world? Like—has that ever happened to anyone?
Has anyone ever thought, “boy, I’m having a rough day. I know what will fill my love-tank: FACEBOOK!” No, no one has ever done that and that’s never happened, either. Except maybe on accident. Or on your birthday. But even on your birthday, you get a couple hundred “HBD!’s” from people that you haven’t seen in a decade and then there’s the guilt from not having a thoughtful response to each person because who can keep up with that? You’d have to take a day off work.
I was on Twitter for a while but it was just too much. To all-consuming. More people talking at me. More content to create. More apps on my phone. More to manage. I gave it up after a few months.
Just like Facebook—it never made me feel better. Granted—I’m still on Facebook. Even though it’s a horrible time suck and even though it never really makes me feel awesome. Sometimes it does? Like when someone posts a photo of a Pug dressed as a food. Or there’s all those Most Interesting Man In The World memes. And sometimes my friend Sherilyn leaves a comment. Her comments feel like hugs. And they have an actual healing quality to them. I can’t give those up.
The truth is, though, that I’m a part of a couple groups that are crucial to my self-care regimen and if they didn’t exist, I would likely be gone from most social media. But for now, it’s worth it.
Right now, in particular, it’s a vicious climate. Not just any election year… but this is the year that it was Hillary VS Donald and all hell broke loose. A few weeks ago, I realized that, because I know who I’m voting for, I’m not reading anything that anyone posts about the other candidate. Or that much about my candidate, either! Because, I already know who I’m voting for. And this late in the game, basically everyone else does, too. Therefore, I’m going to stop posting things about presidential candidates on Facebook. Because what is the point? That’s a legit question that I have. Even if there’s someone out there who doesn’t know who they’re voting for—my posting the same article that 12,000 other people already shared today isn’t making that much of a difference. That one undecided voter can do their own research. And furthermore—almost everyone on my Friends List feels the same way that I do. So when I share angry, snarky articles that trash Donald Trump* not only am I sending negative energy out into my world and yours, I’m sending it out into an echo chamber just to hear other people who think like me, tell me how right I am about thinking the way that I do. It’s an ego game, to be sure.
*Oh, did I give it away that I’m voting for Hillary? Does that surprise anyone at all? Just for good measure I’ll make an official declaration XOXO, Lib is a proud supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton and because of all the reasons listed above, I don’t need you to tell me why that’s a bad idea. Thanks!
So since I’m an inhabitant of The Internet, I’m doing my best to clean up my side of the street. Making the neighborhood a little bit nicer. Here are a few things that I’m doing. At the end of this post, please let me know what you’re doing to help raise the property value of your bit of the Internet.
- Send out posi-vibes! I know this sounds pretty obvious but it works. When you shine a light in a dark place, it just does good for the whole community! My favorite way to do this is to ask a question that forces other people to go into a happy place, too.
A good way to do this is to ask “what’s your favorite _____” or “when was the last time you laughed until you cried?” or ask for selfies. That’s always super duper fun. And the joy is contagious—I promise.
- Use self-control. Or, if you’re having trouble with that concept, like me, go ahead and download a net-nanny of sorts. I downloaded the Freedom App on my iPhone—you can use it on your desktop, too. What this does is block certain apps or websites for you when you can’t say no, yourself. For example, I just told Freedom that I wanted 20 minutes without any social media. And Freedom shut that ish down promptly. No Instagram, no Facebook, no Pinterest… It was awesome! You can set a time limit or you can say, “No Social Media until 5:30 pm.” And it will do as you wish. My hope is that this will keep me from sitting down and scrolling mindlessly when I really want to get the bathroom clean, instead.
Also, I hope that this will help with sleep (or if you have kids–I’m sure this will come in handy)! I’ve been trying to do away with screen-time before bed in an effort to get more delicious sleep. But the temptation to check my phone when I lay down (or when I can’t sleep) is too strong, most of the time. At 8:00 pm I can tell my phone to turn off Social Media until 7:00 am.
Limiting your access to social media will brighten your world–this has been proven.
- Change the conversation. Today when something trends, it trends HARD and everyone is talking about it. But if it’s bringing you down, it’s okay to introduce another conversation. If everyone is talking about the latest horrible thing that Donald Trump said or did, it’s okay to share one of the myriad Buzzfeed articles about different kinds of bras or a listicle of auto-correct mistakes. I’m not promising that you’ll change the world—but you’ll be trying. And that’s worth a lot.
We’re all doing our darndest. Let’s just try to limit the shouting.