Several years ago, when the loss of so many around me was still fresh and raw, I saw a Facebook post that upset me to no end. It was a local county law enforcement group that kept the general public informed about accidents, road closures and the like. A post showed up that stated, “vehicle vs. pole” and some details about the location. The manner in which my late husband was dispatched from this life was after his vehicle slammed into a pole. My gut reaction was one of instant anger, wondering how anyone could “make fun” of an accident like that. I posted, somewhat angrily, asking about it.
Within minutes, I received a kind and personal reply, via private message, from the owner of the site. He was immediately upset that I had that reaction. He took the time to explain to me that the statement was proper code in the field to describe the incident. He would never think to ever mock someone who experienced that type of accident. Upon discussing why I got so upset, he knew who I was and remembered my late husband’s accident well. I went back to the post and explained and all was well.
While I haven’t completely learned my lesson about this topic, I have changed my habits a bit regarding them, albeit little by little. Learning to not take everything as a personal affront is a learning process for me. That one post made me take a deeper look at things online, although I admit to getting out of sorts when I read posts that mock the disabled or make fun of people for their size or other extrinsic attribute they cannot control at the current moment. However, there are some things that ‘bother’ me that I see online that I am starting to take a bit more control over for my own sanity.
I belong to several online sale groups. They are quite the eclectic grouping of people to say the very least. I can’t say when I’ve laughed more to see a book from the 1970’s, torn cover and loaded with coffee (or gravy or something better left unsaid) stains selling for the incredibly low price of $25. Okay, let me know when you sell that, thanks. However, I used to get myself in a tizzy over someone posting a house listing, or some other commercial nonsense in the group, when the rules state that you may not post this sort of listing. If I am looking to purchase a house through a yard sale site, then I’ll join a yard sale site for selling houses. I used to post something about it, asking the admin to remove it and the original poster would come on an yammer back at me and all manner of unnecessary communication would ensue. Today, I just click the little button and remove all posts from that person. If it was them also selling that wonderful 1970’s book, I will now never know if they got $25 for it. I have learned to live with this lol.
I slowly began to realize that the world didn’t stop turning if I didn’t comment on these posts. I realized that even though I found joy in scrolling through sites while having my coffee, removing the items or posts that bothered me was a MUCH better choice. I have started removing myself from groups that no longer serve me, and readily unfollow groups that invoke negative responses from me. I don’t believe I can “unclick” myself into being happy in some weird, online way, rather I think that if I put things in front of me that make me laugh or give me substance in some way, I’ll be better off. I guess it’s yet another way of decluttering my life of things that no longer serve me.
Whether I’m looking at really tiny animals sitting on super tiny couches or watching videos of unbearably cute animals doing funny things, I no longer feel that I’m lacking substance or wasting time. Rather, I’m slowly surrounding myself with more things that are positive and uplifting and less things that drone on about misery. I have been trying hard to comment less on group posts that contain a negative statement. Little efforts like this are paying off for me as I am seeing things that make me happier and less things that get me in an uproar about things I cannot change.
I have enough things to ruminate about without adding to the worry and stress during my personal downtime. I love looking at things that make me laugh and are enjoyable…don’t we all? Whether it’s music, social media, cutting the cord on cable and not feeding into the current news “climate”, I’m trying every day to allow less stressful things into my vision. It’s not an attempt to blind myself to the realities in the world. I still keep myself informed and I recognize that there are unpleasant things out there to learn about every day, but I do my best to see them for what they are and move on.
So, what do you do to reduce your incoming and outgoing negativity?