In life there are many times we can feel as if we love and hate something at the same time. For instance, women can love a pair of shoes while hating how it hurts their feet. I personally love chocolate but hate that I must limit my consumption of it. The same can be said for people like my husband and I who have a special needs child and social media. We love it and hate it. My husband now hates it and has deleted the Facebook app from his phone. I have been known to defend it because of the support groups that have proved to be an invaluable source of information and support. Lately, the negative effects on us have outweighed the positive.
With Facebook and other social media, users sign up to share their lives with other users. If I have learned anything from my high school social experience, it was the never ending drama that goes along with sharing so much personal space with other people. We can hope certain social manners will be followed but that would be silly considering we are “friending” many people we barely consider to be acquaintances. By allowing so many people so close to our personal lives, negative experiences are bound to happen. For us, it has caused disappointments that possibly have my husband finished indefinitely. I am still dipping my toe in the edge. I am involved enough to check in on a few friends but I don’t want to be over involved again.
Over the past seven years since we signed up on Facebook, we have tried to use our manners. We try to avoid arguments, we do not engage in political or religious debates, and we are respectful of the opinions and lives of others. The longer I use Facebook, the more I notice the lack of manners and general respect people have for one another. We have been pulled into fights and insulted. I have had to diffuse situations that blew up on social media for my entire list of friends to see. We tried to play it safe and hoped we didn’t put too much out there, but like most people on social media, we got burned because we assumed our “friends” were friends. Sadly, in some cases we were wrong. Some people just want to read posts to gossip, judge or disapprove of others. It feels like high school all over again. I am sorry but our emotional plate is full and we have had our fill of drama.
Another difficulty I have with social media is the lure to envy. We can all get caught up in it but for us, it can take a pretty hard emotional toll. I realize most people want to use the nicest photo of their family and desire to show off the greatest aspects of their lives but it is hard to stop comparing. Vacation photos are the hardest for us. I know a few couples that snap a picture in front of a great hotel where they celebrate their anniversary every year or families that are full of smiles while enjoying the latest weekend getaway. I keep reminding myself to appreciate what I have and continue to hope things will get easier. I do appreciate everything we are blessed with but it is difficult letting go of certain dreams. I look at those posts and jealousy rears its ugly head. My newsfeed gives me many more opportunities for those feelings to take over and make me feel sad about our life. I truly do want to be happy about my life. I am grateful for the positive changes we have made through difficulty. It is hard trying to continue to make those positive changes while dreaming of some other life.
I think that is what it comes down to for me, I can’t get caught up in some other existence social media provides. It feels like I am balancing two lives. I am working overtime with life one already. I love the continual support that I have found. I enjoy learning more about friends I have made and connecting with old friends but I can’t get so involved that I forget the little people in the same room. So I am choosing to back away for myself and my family.
I love my life in so many ways, but there are aspects I hate. I hate what has been taken from me but I love the compassion for life that has filled that empty space. I hate that I won’t know endless happy outings captured in photographs for the world to see but I love that I can appreciate the happy moments I am given. I love sharing in the lives of others but I hate it when I often feel alone. Just like my rocky relationship with Facebook, I am finding my balance. I have to nourish what truly matters and break it off with those things that bring me down.