I’ve decided (actually I decided this about 7 days ago) to see how long I can go without going on Facebook or Twitter.
So far, so good. While I do have things that are set to automatically post to both sites (like Instagram or whenever I post to this blog), I’ve managed to not check either in a week.
I’ve decided to do this because I really need less negativity in my life. I joined both in 2009 and I’ve seen both sites gone from fun to a big, fat cesspool of negative energy.
I don’t need negative energy in my life. I’m trying to be a better person. Anger is contagious and I find myself, more often than not, getting swept up in the general anger these days. I don’t like the kind of person I become when I get wrapped up in stress and anger.
Maybe it’s the summer classes I’m taking that have gotten me to rethink things. Ethics (Philosophy 220) and SOC 150 (Social Problems). While I am convinced and will probably remain convinced that both philosophy and sociology should be required courses in high school, I can’t convince the rest of the world to study either subject. It’s not my job to do that. I can only worry about me, the kind of energy I allow into my space, the energy I bring into other spaces, and my own words and thoughts. Those are things I can control.
I’m going to be honest. I find other people’s ignorance, especially willful ignorance, to be stressful. If that makes me appear like a snob in other people’s eyes, then so be it. I’m smart and it’s nothing I should have to be ashamed of. I refuse to compromise on showing my true, damn intelligent self, especially when the rest of the world wants me to dumb down. I won’t do that.
Ignorance is a choice, especially in a world where information is so readily available to anyone who wants to access it. Remaining ignorant because viewpoints that contradict yours scares you is cowardly.
Being on social media isn’t ignorant. What “trends”, though, is a sign of ignorance in a way. How we respond to what’s trending is another symptom of this disease of ignorance. Too many people think that we can take life and all of our complex issues and boil it down to single meme or a strawman argument. We can’t. If I find myself getting sucked into these rabbit holes of stress and ignorance, that makes me part of the problem, too.
Nobody listens anymore. We want to be heard, but we don’t want to listen. The irony here is that if we want to be heard, we do have to be better listeners. We have to learn how to better craft our messages so we can get our point across in the most effective way possible. We have to learn how to choose our words–not to be “politically correct”–but so we are heard and our listeners don’t feel that they have to defend themselves.
Mostly, though, we have to learn what humility is and what grace is. Without those qualities, we’re not very good people. The humble person can suck it up and admit that they made a mistake. Grace helps you say it out loud and allows you to learn from them. Humility and grace are necessary for us to admit to our own moments of hypocrisy.
When people can be both humble and show grace, then that leads to insight and self-awareness. The world would be a better place if we all had a little bit of self-awareness.
I’ve found that it’s more difficult for me to practice these things in my life when I’m being sucked into a vortex of negativity.
Yes, there are bad things in the world. But there is still good in this world. The good is in the little things. I’m going to make more time for those little things.