***

Let’s all take a moment to breathe.

Close your eyes.

(Well, keep one eye open so you can read this.)

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Feel the inner peace.

Listen to the methodical run of a waterfall.

Hear the birds singing a sweet melody in the distance.

Feel a gentle breeze on your face.

All is calm. All is quiet. All is peaceful.

You there?

Wonderful… So. Wonderful.

Now stay the hell off of Facebook or your mind will completely lose its shit again.

***

Can we all agree – no matter which side of the aisle you sit (or if you sit in the middle) – that Facebook may be more toxic for our souls than SATAN at this point?

You know that scene in Mean Girls when Lindsay Lohan daydreams that all the students have turned into wild animals turning on each other?

Yeah… that.

That is Facebook right now.

Friends, family, coworkers… no one is safe.

Trust me, I’m not above the anger. I have seen posts – or I have seen what people “like,” and a quick flash of anger / nausea / irritation / disappointment and/or RAGE has washed over me.

And I’m quite sure others have had the same reaction to things that I have posted or “liked.”

Why is it we get so worked up internally? I know I’m not alone in this, because I’ve talked about it with friends and family.

Is it because we now know things about people we wish we didn’t? Is it because our country is at an all-time high in divisiveness right now?

Facebook can often be the equivalent of wearing your heart (and mind) on your sleeve, right? I mean, except for those calm, rational people. You know the ones. I call them The Dignified Silent. They scroll through their timelines… processing everything stoically. And then they… wait for it… go about their lives without responding to any of it.

I KNOW.

It’s almost unbelievable, right? Like freakishly classy unicorns.

Oh, how I envy you, you silent specimens with all your in-tact dignity.

What does that even feel like?!

Anyway, a few days ago, I may have hit my all time high on annoyance. I was on a happy near-high from participating in something that made me feel so good and enlightened. And then… I went on Facebook.

And I felt crushed.

Disappointed.

Mad.

Sad.

Personally victimized by Regina George.

So, I decided to give myself a moment. Well, actually, a good 24-hours.

To process the pissed-off-ness, if you will.

And can I tell you?  It did wonders.

I flipped a switch that made me sit back and be a little more diplomatic. A little more understanding. I looked for the good, as my sister has always told me to do.  I looked for the helpers – because if the way they are trying to help looks different than yours, they are still trying to help.

I have never subscribed to the You don’t think like me, so you are wrong! mindset. For awhile, I actually tried to, because I kept reading these stupid quotes and memes that said I have every right to not respect others who carry a different point of view that will eventually harm others. But as much as I tried to adopt that mindset, it’s just not me.

I’m a fighter, but I think in order to fight fair, you first need to step on the stone of reflection and listening.

So, here’s the thing: I have somehow flipped the switch on my anger when it comes to Facebook. (At least for now.) I have found some good in what others are trying to say – and when I can’t seem to find any good, I look away.

And if that doesn’t work for you (because I fully understand kumbaya may not be the answer for all right now), I suggest the following:

  1. Unfollow.  I know this seems basic and obvious, but I’m always surprised by the people who don’t do it. You don’t have to delete friends or family, but you can unfollow them, so that you don’t see their posts. This can be temporary and maybe when things die down (IF they ever die down…), you can follow them again.
  2. Hide trigger news sources.  I think some may find it surprising that I actually don’t unfollow many people at all. In fact, I think I have maybe two or three people I’ve unfollowed total. But one thing I’ve done that makes a huge difference is that I’ve hidden “news” sources that set me off (the real fake news).  Every time I would see a “friend” like an article that I knew was either completely false or grossly inaccurate, I didn’t hide the friend – I hid all posts from that news source (with one quick click in the top right corner).  Did you know that if you “hide” those news sources, every time one of your ‘friends’ likes an article from them, you’ll never know?  It’s fantastic how much less people annoy you when you don’t see them liking an article on how Hilary Clinton shook hands with Osama Bin Laden. (For the last @#$*% time, that is a photoshopped picture!)
  3. Just keep scrolling. Just keep scrolling. Take a cue from Dory here, will you?  Just. Keep. Scrolling. You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to, isn’t that how the saying goes? And you don’t have to comment on every post you disagree with. Rest in the knowledge that you object but keep moving. This, in particular, has been the one thing that has kept my mind at peace lately. I strongly recommend it.  (Though I’ll never really be one of The Dignified Silent, sadly.)

Listen, I’m fully aware that many people on Facebook don’t have issues like this, because they just don’t get involved. And I say Cheers! to you!  But this post is for those that have a tough time “walking away” from posts that get them riled up. I get it. I’m you. It’s hard.  Especially when you’re really passionate about what you believe!

For me, scrolling through these timelines was interfering with my inner peace and drive to act, and so I am making a choice to walk away from the conversations that really have nothing to do with my thoughts – and everything to do with someone else’s. I am choosing to use Facebook to stay caught up with friends, post information for friends that are like-minded – and to use the (endless) resources that Facebook does actually offer: resources for events and actions and meetings.

Someone I love and admire very much recently said this to me:

“We’re all on our own journey and come to our beliefs based on our own experiences and where we are on that journey. We love [others] because they are good, kind, and loving people. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on some issues, but I think it’s going to be critical to find common areas of agreement that we can work together on, while we work separately on those issues we don’t agree on.”

This. This is everything!

This is what I hope for myself – and what I hope for everyone moving forward.

Find common ground.

Or don’t.

But don’t let anything or anyone disturb your inner peace – especially if it’s trying so hard to steer you toward outer action.

xo,

Jen