Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Starting the New Year Right

I made a very simple resolution to myself about 2015. It didn’t involve eating more healthily, getting more exercise, reading more poetry, or any of those other lofty things that many of us aspire to at the change of the year, but never really quite pull off. It did, however, involve something that was very beneficial to my mental health.

I unfollowed some people on Facebook.

Now, please pay careful attention to what I said. I didn’t say that I unfriended them. These people are still my friends, I’ll still see posts that they specifically tag me in; what I’ve done is simply to unfollow them so that I don’t see the general stuff they post on a day by day basis.

Why? Well, there are three types of people I’ve decided that I needed to unfollow. The first consists of those who insist on bringing the all too abundant drama in their lives into everyone else’s. There is no problem in their lives that they don’t feel the need to share with the rest of the Internet. They’re like the “all drama, all the time” station.

So I’ve unfollowed them. But in the process, I’ve examined and reexamined how much of my own personal drama I share with the rest of you; and I’d like to think that unless I feel that you can help me find a solution, I don’t use my Facebook feed to vent endlessly about whatever problems I may have.

The second is those who constantly post extreme political or religious opinions (some of those political opinions being held with an almost religious fervor), who can’t or won’t listen to a voice of reason; and who see any intelligent, evidence-based argument against their belief as a sign that you’re part of the conspiracy too.

I have a policy of only discussing something with an idiot three times before just quietly walking away. But I’ve had my three times with some of these people more than three times three times three times, and enough is enough.

Buh bye. I’ll see them if they tag me, but otherwise, I’m spared.

The third is those who seem to be “Johnny One-Notes” about what’s wrong with the world. It seems that 99% of their posts that make it through to me, seem to be about all the pain, misery, corruption, evil, and stupidity in the world. There is no tragedy in the world too small, or too remote for them to post about. And I’m certain that if they had a way to see halfway across the galaxy, to a civilization that no one else had known existed until now, they’d feel it was their moral obligation to post about how the Trids were being mistreated by the monster on the mountain.

As. If. We. Could. Do. Anything. About. It.

They may think that by shining a bright light on all the dark corners of the universe, they’ll rally you to try to do something about it…all of it…but they don’t realize that a steady diet of bad news is paralyzing to the point where you don’t bother trying to fix anything anymore, because it all seems so hopeless.

And so I’ve unfollowed them. But in the process, I’ve also made a conscious effort to repost and share stories that tell of the good that’s happened in the world, rather than harping on the bad.

Removing these three toxins from my news feed already seems to be working, and I highly recommend that you do the same…

…and have a wonderful 2015 without them.