On Mental Health, Politics

2019: The Year I Depend On The Facebook Unfollow.

My husband quit Facebook because he says it does more harm than good in his life. I chose a different option, I unfollowed everyone’s whose posts might be doing “harm” in my life, so that now I don’t see the things that bounce around in my head and keep me up at night. I curated my Facebook life. While I’m trying to stay very in tune with making sure I’m exposing myself to thoughts and ideas outside my bubble, I have found there are much better ways to do that than with Facebook. I also am trying to surround myself with more positive energy than negative energy. And…I don’t know if you know this but….if you’re not careful…YOUR FACEBOOK FEED CAN BE FULL OF NEGATIVE ENERGY.

Some of this started during the 2016 election season. I survived the 2008 and 2012 elections fine on Facebook without unfollowing anyone, but 2016 did me in. But it’s not just politics, and DEFINITELY not just conservative politics, because I’ve also unfollowed aggressively liberal friends. Not because I disagree with them (because – let’s be honest – I’m one of the most liberal people I know) but because I don’t like their methods of getting their points and opinions across.

But I’ve also unfollowed people who post a lot of articles that make me feel anxiety from a non-political standpoint. And yes – I know I’m supposed to sit in the discomfort of contrary opinions to try to learn and grow from them. But I also know that some people just have different lives and different values and different priorities and if I’m losing sleep over feeling the need to defend my life and my values and my priorities, then what’s the point?

Because as I’ve cut down my social media time, I really want to make sure that the few hours a week I spend on Facebook are NOT spent feeling bad about parenting or health or politics. I’m not unfollowing EVERYONE who lives their differently from me – obviously – but people who post more things that make me feel bad than that make me feel good? UNFOLLOW.

For example – there are a lot of people I know who criticize things about our education system that do not even have kids in our public schools. So, a lot of the times their criticism is misdirected. Like people who complain about “Common Core” when in reality they just don’t like the specific curriculum their school system chose which is not something directly related to Common Core. (Common Core is simply a set of standards, what kids should be learning when, so that we’re all on the same track in this country. School systems decide curriculums to implement Common Core.)

Also…people who do a lot of criticizing without actually EVER sharing solution ideas? That’s the kind of negativity I don’t like. I criticize a shit ton of stuff, but I’m very aware of the need to balance that with actual suggestions of policy changes. If I feel like someone only posts criticisms of something that personally affects my life with 2 kids in public school – AND NEVER POSTS ANY THING POSITIVE OR EVEN ANY HELPFUL SOLUTIONS? Then I don’t need them tainting my social media feed.

Same with the border protection discussion. Obviously – I don’t want a wall because the humanitarian crisis at the border is related to the processing of people seeking asylum which is a complicated issue that a wall won’t help. Instead maybe we look at policies that may have created these crisis in the countries or origin, or see if there’s support we can lend the countries before the people decide to leave. Or maybe we just build safer and better holding facilities at the border so we don’t have to meter people trying to get processed at least as an interim solution?

If someone is just posting anti-Wall stuff and none of the later discussions about solutions to the border crisis? Then I feel like they’re doing more harm than good in my personal Facebook exposure and if that balance of more negative than positive is persistent? I unfollow.

(If someone is a HUGE supporter of the Wall? I probably unfollowed them awhile ago over something different so pro-Wall posts are not an issue on my current Facebook feed.)

I don’t know. There’s no rhyme or reason to my process, but if I sit back and thing, This person is creating more negative energy in my life than positive…then they get an Unfollow. And sometimes that negativity is all in my own head because their posts of their kids always look perfect and their homes are beautiful and their outfits are stylish and I start to feel insecure. That negativity is all on me. But 2019 is the year I try to surround myself with things that make me feel good about myself and if that person’s Facebook posts don’t do the trick? Then I’m keeping them off my feed because I want to make sure in the limited time I spend on Facebook is not spent frustrated and anxious.

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