Anyone who’s been following along on my journey will know that I have something of a love/hate relationship with social media. On the one side, participating on social media platforms allows people to connect, communicate and potentially get in touch with some folks they may not have seen or heard from in years. I, myself, recently reconnected with a handful of people from my high school graduating class, which is saying quite a bit although I won’t age myself by saying how long it’s been. But it could be easily argued that this is the intended purpose behind social media: to connect and communicate. To be social, albeit over a digital environment.
Unfortunately for me and many others who seek a peaceful existence, this is rarely the reason behind people’s presence on social media. Most choose to use it as a platform to argue their views and opinions, which often leads to unnecessary conflict, once again albeit on a digital forum. It takes away from the experience of maintaining contact with those we aim to remain friends with and becomes all the more convoluted when some of the involved parties causing this “digital suffering“ happen to be good, close friends.
About three years ago, certain events took place that altered the course of my life. Although I could arguably say that these changes were in my best interest and that I’m happier now than I have been in a LONG time, it doesn’t remove the fact that these changes came at the cost of great, personal suffering. As many of you know, the elimination of suffering is kind my thing. So, it makes life difficult when others who should be understanding and compassionate cause MORE of that suffering instead of trying to eliminate it.
I’m getting slightly off path here, and the point is that a big part of the difficulties I faced years ago were due, in part, to social media. When the world spends its days living in a way that involves sharing what they’ve eaten, where they’re going and where they’ve been, as well as personal details of their everyday lives online, it should come as no surprise to have those who wish to do wrong use that information against you. When I discovered that this was the case, I made the difficult choice to take a step away from social media and permanently closed all my accounts.
This was a difficult step for me since, like most people, my day was filled with frequent checks of my phone and computer, looking at people’s updates, sending messages and getting a laugh at memes and jokes. What made things worse is that I had a handful of people with whom social media was the ONLY form of contact I had. And even though I spent some time posting the ol’ “I’m leaving social media, flip me your phone number,” there are a number of people that never got back to me. A necessary step, thanks to someone else’s negative actions.
In recent months, life has gotten progressively better, despite the current state of the world. So, I tentatively dipped my toes back into social media, which is where I managed to connect with the aforementioned folks from high school. But it’s in FACT the current state of the world that has now begun causing issues for me, through social media. I’m sure I’m not alone in recognizing that the world is currently divided on the key issues involving vaccination, masking, health requirements and the overall state of the world. It’s pretty much THE hot topic and is hotly debated by even the closest of friends and family members.
I’m not having it. By definition, peace cannot be imposed. It’s up to the people to recognize what’s required in order to achieve peace and sustain it. Understanding, compassion and open communication are part of those requirements, to name a few. But these are things that are in short supply in today’s society. And it’s for that reason that I’ve found myself in a compromised position where I am once again considering stepping away from social media. Then I thought to myself, why am I depriving myself of good communication with family and friends for the sake of the few who choose to use this platform to argue their opinions with others? Rather than eliminate social media, why not simply cut out the negative energy?
I’m tired. The daily grind of life is difficult enough without people making it more difficult amongst themselves. The ideal scenario would be for each person to keep to themselves and exercise their choice without broadcasting it to the world. You do you. I’ll take it a step further and won’t even bother saying which side of the line I fall on, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what your choice is, just don’t give me shit if it happens to be different than mine. Vaccinated, not vaccinated, pro-mask, anti-mask, whatever. Do what you gotta do to survive this roller-coaster called life and stop picking on each other. Life’s too short.
For this reason, I’ve made a compromise with myself in order to eliminate some of the negative in my life. Rather than remove social media, I’m removing those who spread negativity, hate and ignorance of the facts. Some people may suddenly be disappearing from my social media. The irony is I started this practice almost two weeks ago and the removed parties have yet to notice. Or at the very least, they’ve yet to reach out and ask why. Maybe they’re too busy arguing “their rights” over “what’s right.” That’s a balance we all have to work on. ☯️