In 2006 I wrote my first book. I’d love to say the title (You’ll Never Be Who You Want To Be As Long As You Are Who You Are) is the reason it isn’t a best seller, but the reasons are many and not the topic of this writing. The point of the book however is.
As I trolled social media this morning I couldn’t help but notice how many postings are of a negative nature. Take away the ads (which many of them fill you with fear to buy) and the personal postings of pets and children, and virtually every message we see is negative.
Yet ask anyone if they’d prefer to be a generally negative or positive person and the answer will be overwhelmingly, “positive”.
So why do we do it? Why do we not only post such negativity but then, delight in viewing it in such massive quantities?
According to an article in The Telegraph by Lauren Davidson (17 May 2015), “The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day”.
And with so much time spent and so much negativity distributed, it’s easy to see how we can become disenchanted and negative too.
Which brings me back to the reason I mentioned my book in the first paragraph. As long as we are engaging in negative experiences, we’ll continue to have negative experiences.
We all know people (maybe even ourselves) who get into extended debates on social media about topics that are important but not necessarily topics over which we have control. We debate to reinforce our position and to try to sway others to agree. But rarely does anyone change his or her mind. In the end, we simply get frustrated and become distant.
What good does this accomplish? Aside from stroking our own egos and from having others who agree with us come to our defense it does no good.
And if we endeavor to have a better life (I’m assuming everyone does), wouldn’t it just make sense to focus on good things instead of bad?
To suggest we take a social media diet or hiatus is advisable, but not very likely given our proclivity to use it. So how do we fix this trend of negativity?
We must become that which we desire to see. We must understand that we cannot be who we want to be as long as we are who we are.
I’ve been experimenting for the past month or so with my own social media posting and consumption. Here’s what I’m doing, perhaps it can help you.
- I do not click on any posting that is political in nature. I know exactly where I stand on the issues. Should I need further knowledge of a topic to form an opinion, I will rely on trusted sources, not on social media postings.
- I will not respond to anything in any way that is not constructive, supportive, and positive. If I cannot post in a way that will be helpful there’s no need for my comment at all. Humor is allowed only to the extent that it does not attempt to influence others to my way of thinking.
- I will purposefully find postings which I may comment on in a supportive or encouraging way every time I am on any social platform. Further, I will not leave any platform without making at least one encouraging or supportive post.
- I will make my personal and business postings be inspirational and beneficial to those who view it. There are two purposes of posting on social media; To benefit others or to benefit myself. I will create my posts with the benefit of others foremost in my mind.
- Finally, I will realize there are plenty of people hurting in the world today that use social media as an outlet for their pain and I’ll have empathy for them. I will encourage where I can and will not criticize when I am tempted.
Of course, I haven’t been able to avoid negative behavior completely. I fall back into old habits just like everyone else. But what I have experienced has been life-changing.
Since beginning I’ve seen people have responded to my posting more than ever before. Who knows, maybe everyone has it wrong and people prefer good news.
But most importantly I’ve seen a change in me. I find my day starts with a lightness of heart that continues throughout the day. I’m more patient and joyous. I’m grateful.
And hopefully, that means a change in those around me as well. For while I know that perception is reality I further know that a smile brings a smile, and good is returned by good.
Give it a try and see for yourself. Only you can become that which you desire.