Behavior Modification: Self-Induced

Soon after the presidential inauguration, I banned myself from social media primarily Facebook. I was becoming one of “them.”

Facebook Dislike

“Them”

I was addicted to Facebook. Checking, scrolling, posting, rebutting, prowling…. Wasting precious time actually doing something constructive, productive, healthy….

In addition, I was becoming angrier, anxious, intolerant, haughty, and just not a very nice person internally, mentally, and spiritually.

I had become one of “them.”

While I rarely commented on someone’s wall about their political, social, or religious posts. I did debate and rebut on comments made on my similar posts. The badgering and what I thought at times, outright idiocy of some of my friends or family’s posts was causing me to be someone I did not like.

My Facebook philosophy has always been that a person can post whatever they want on their wall. I can choose to acknowledge it or just keep scrolling. I would never berate someone for their opinion or what they would share irrespective of my opinion. I had one family member continuously post on my feed or telephone me to tell me I should delete a comment I posted although it had nothing to do with her. I have had other friends badger me relentlessly on political posts and scream “fake news!”

So, I stopped. I barred myself from Facebook.

Facebook Sabbatical

It was difficult for the first few weeks not to continuously look at my iPhone or iPad to see what was happening on Facebook and the news feeds. But eventually, I weaned myself off almost completely. I say, almost, because I would sometimes peek at Facebook. There were even a few times I wanted to share a news topic, but in the end, I would cancel posting it.

Even though I had over the course of the last several months change my Facebook notifications to not see certain family and friend’s annoying posts, I took a step further an unfriended a few them.

“Unfriending” was a difficult decision.

Why was I unfriending them?

I wanted to be sure of my motive for unfriending. Had I become intolerant of opposing points of view? I hoped not. It is those types of opposing view discussions that can lead to understanding whether in the end, we agree to disagree, we can somehow imagine ourselves wearing another’s shoes for the benefit of trying to see their view.

I determined the reason for the unfriending was the style of the discussion. The constant badgering of my opinion, substantiated or not. Sometimes opinions are based upon gut feelings, spiritual leanings, and simply this is how I choose to live my life. Not out of ignorance, but a compilation of education, life experience, and goals. I’m sorry. I don’t always have a well-substantiated, corroborating article to support my opinion. Because that is what it is – an opinion. But I can discuss it reasonably if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the constant badgering and sometimes name-calling, are not conducive to a productive discussion. It’s okay to agree to disagree – at least in my shoes.

So, I unfriended those that didn’t seem to grasp the ability to have discussions without badgering me on my posts. I did not unfriend them from life just on Facebook. There is a difference. A difference I came to accept. Others were unfriended only because we never communicated with each other at all but simply wanted to connect. I’m into relationships, not connections. Connections are for LinkedIn not my personal life.

To those of whom have unfriended me, I say, “Thank you.”

Off the Grid

Regaining time, sanity, and productivity

Since I wasn’t spending all my time looking, posting, and debating on Facebook, I began to feel less angry and anxious. I looked forward to my new found free time to getting back to doing things I kept telling myself, “I wish I had time to….”

I began writing every morning outside of my normal journal writing. Immediately, I felt my creative-self begin to inhabit my mind, body, and spirit once again.

In addition, I began re-reading classics and reading contemporary works, such as:

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

The Greatest Miracle in the World, Og Mandino

The Complete Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway, and Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Emily Dickenson’s Poems as She Preserved Them (LOVED IT!)

Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mother of Sorrows, by Richard McCann (Exquisite prose. Highly recommend this book!)

Currently reading:

The Rose Field Guide to Prose Poetry, Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice

The Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens

Social Media Behavior Modification

I am easing my way back into social media, particularly, Facebook. But I am reminded of keeping in control of what it is I can control – my behavior. I highly recommend the self-induced behavior modification for anything that keeps you leading a contented day-to-day existence.

Political and Activist Posts

The presidential election, which is a 4-year, not a 2-year process, was the worst in this 56 year-old’s memory. It really brought out the worst in people (and in me), and continues to do so. I am a conservative independent voter. I vote on who I believe is the most qualified and credible candidates irrespective of elective office. I belong to no political or activist parties.

I voted Libertarian in the last presidential election. Some Facebook friends admonished me for putting my head in the sand, or worse, handing the election over to Trump because I live in Michigan. After much investigation into all the party candidates, I couldn’t vote for either the Republican or Democratic nominee. I admit I wasn’t totally committed to the Libertarian candidate and didn’t think he had a prayer to win the election, however, I am committed to seeing a meaningful third party enter into future elections.

I can control only what is in my control. I can’t commit that I won’t in the future post something political on my Facebook wall, but I will be more mindful of what it is I do post. I will delete comments that are harassing, demeaning, or badgering. Posters can think what they want to think of my tolerance. So be it.

Although some may think I am keeping my head in the sand with regard to the country and world events, far from it. I have been directing my thoughts to those who represent me on the local, state, and federal levels. Just as in business, go to the decision maker because no one else has the power to make a change – certainly not my Facebook friends and family. Be assured, I have been emailing, posting, and tweeting on the appropriate feeds to let my elected officials know exactly my opinion and how my vote may sway in the next election cycle.

Keeping it Real

I am a mom of two college students. Granted, this proud mom will share mom boast posts from time to time for family near and far. Of course, I will continue to post the antics of my two fur-kids, Barkley and Penny because they seem to get the most “likes” on my Facebook wall. I also can’t leave out the woes and wonders of being an empty-nester with my beloved, Vinny Sal.

My personal Facebook page is a pathway to maintain relationships with my friends and family. Period. Going forward I will not be the person who camps out on the social media sofa for the night and ends up over-staying my welcome for weeks at a time.

My self-induced social media, behavior modification sabbatical helped me to realize that I do have time to read, write, and more importantly, live a sane life living off the electronic grid.

Type “Amen” and Share

The Blogging Owl Muses

January 20, 2017:  

deep valley
the shifting shadows
survival

January 21, 2017:  

power of women
never underestimate
mother’s wooden spoon

January 22, 2017:  

an old wound
fingering the scab
a blind eye

January 23, 2017:

rise and shine
a tea kettle whistles
sparrow’s song

January 24, 2017:

shutting off
social media
alarm clock

January 25, 2017:

we all stand
at God’s judgment seat
the front row

January 26, 2017:

folding thoughts
this morning’s laundry
into words

January 27, 2017:

off Facebook
tired of scrolling
my last post

Cleansing my spirit

Over this past week, I could no longer stomach the endless parade of unoriginal thought on Facebook. The endless sharing of memes that either are supposed to inspire agreement or share in the hatred that is abounding in this nation all became too much for me.

January 28, 2017:

detoxing
cleansing the spirit
facebook fast

 

 

The Facebook platform has allowed us (I’ve included myself in here as well) to voice our own definition of character.  This is Dictionary.com’s Definition of Character.

And I wonder if we would have the same fierce fortitude to voice, and in some cases, vomit all our thoughts physically in front of the other person(s) rather than behind a faceless electronic device. There have been so many times I have erased a post or a retort to another’s post before hitting the post button. And there have been other times where my left hand physically grabbed my right wrist while saying out loud, “Take your hands off the keyboard!”

My insightful friend, Lyn says, “We can choose to be offended… or not.”

I love that insight if what is being said is directing to me personally.  But what if what is being said is being directed toward the vulnerable?  I’m only musing here.

thumbs-down-dislike

Original thought is dead

But it isn’t what people type out so much, that is, if they were really trying to be thoughtful in explaining their position or points of view, but it’s all those damn memes!

Memes are NOT funny!

I don’t care if you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Star Wars fan, whatever…

Memes are NOT inspiring!

I don’t care if you have the most beautiful daughter or love you son, then SAY IT in your own words! I will not think you are conceited, or whatever…

Memes are NOT original!

And NO, I won’t type “YES,” or “AMEN,” and I certainly won’t share it. Furthermore, I won’t pass on to the next ten people to a prayer to cure cancer – not because I don’t want to cure cancer because 100% of people I know are already praying for a cure anyways.

Okay, memes may be okay to you but not to me. So I spent most of my time on Facebook just scrolling, scrolling, and scrolling.

Seeking first to understand and to be understood

And the non-stop news article posts!

OH! For the love of scotch! (Yes, I am guilty too.)  I posted an article within 2 hours of President Trump being sworn into office about the FHA withdrawing lowering their fees which would have given access to affordable housing to more people. My day time job is in mortgage operations where we had just received the FHA compliance bulletin in our office. Yet! Someone responded by saying it was probably fake news! And another posted that they were only withdrawing the fees that had not yet taken effect. Ah, excuse me? Compliance rules require disclosing new fees if the mortgage closing will occur after the fees become in effect. There are compliance timing rules.

Now, of course, the average consumer may or may not understand this element but rather than posting a comment why not post a question?  “Why does this article upset you?”  Why don’t we seek to understand first rather than vomiting ignorance through our keyboard? (Yes! I am including myself in this group too.)

It’s your Facebook Wall, post whatever you want.

Just keep scrolling. And in the words of my friend, Lyn, I again offer her advice again, “You can choose to be offended, or not” and risk being unfriended or blocked.

I have un-friended friends and family because they were incessant on telling me what I should post or told me I must delete a post where the content of my post had nothing to do with them personally, or even insinuated anything they personally (to my knowledge) may have been involved.  Some were unfriended simply because they were abusive to other Facebook friends who posted on my timeline.

My Facebook future

I am not sure when, or if, I will be posting to my personal Facebook wall again. The political climate is just too hateful, unoriginal thought is too mind numbing, and it is hurting my mind, body, and spirit to just keep scrolling. I’m choosing not to be offended by stopping and getting off the Facebook bus.

I will still be posting to my writing Facebook page, The Insomniac Writer – The Blogging Owl. Writing feeds my soul and God feeds my spirit.

You can continue to find me here on my blog and on my other blog, http://www.theprayerjournals.com, on Twitter @thebloggingowl and @prayerprompts.

Peace out!