Posted in life

How Facebook Made Me Lose Ground

For the past six months I’ve been off of Facebook.  It has been with its ups and downs.  I’m sometimes out of the loop (not always a bad thing.)  I’m sometimes starved for interaction and attention by people who are over the age of three.  The longer I’ve gone, the easier it has gotten, but some days I miss it like I miss other things I’ve given up.  But missing something doesn’t always mean it was good for you and that you should invite it back in your life.  You can just miss it and that’s okay.

Yesterday evening my husband shared a thread with me on Facebook concerning the Superbowl Half time show.  The comments were entertaining and I felt a longing.  An absence.  A true loss for my friends and family that I rarely if ever talk to anymore.

“Maybe I should get back on,” I said. I tossed the idea around a little while and then before you know it, I logged back into my account.  “I’ll just lurk,” I said.  “No one has to know I’m here.”  Because after all, the addiction for me came with the attention I received from comments or status updates.  I was always wanting to check and see if I had a notification.  Had someone liked something?  Had someone commented?

I began my reintroduction to Facebook by reading my news feed; which was uneventful.  Then I jumped around to different people’s pages to see what they had going in their life.  One thing I saw would make me want to check out something else and I was reading and lurking to my heart’s content. It literally sucked probably two and a half hours of my evening from me.  Two and a half hours where I would be doing something else.  Something, quite frankly, that mattered.

The dishes didn’t get done.  My daughter didn’t get put to bed until way late and was hyped up like no other.  I didn’t write in my gratitude journal.  (something I’ve been diligent about) nor did I read my devotion.)  It seriously wrecked my evening.  I was out of sorts.  Yet I still told myself that it was harmless and I’d just keep my account activated anyway, and try to control it. I wouldn’t let it get out of hand.  I would only be a lurker.  For a while anyway.

Leaving the Facebook story, but I’ll be back:

For the past six weeks I’ve been really trying to retrain my thoughts.  There has been quite a bit of “stuff” going on in my life.  I have been sick since before Christmas and then the day after Christmas, Ashlynn was put in the hospital again, three hours away from home.  I was with her, which meant I was away from my family and it was brutal on me.

During this time, I became mad at God but needed something to help me.  I was feeling lots of toxic emotions that weren’t serving anyone.  I reacquainted myself with Louise Hay, a woman who has helped many with healing and positive philosophy.  If you’re not familiar with her, and are interested in what I’m about to say, I would recommend you look up her website or check out her book You Can Heal Your Life. Basically her ideas follow along with the Law of Attraction; simply what you think, say, and believe is what will be manifested in your life.  She teaches you how to become very aware of your thoughts and to notice how many times you berate yourself or are pessimistic or critical of yourself.   Something I was doing a lot.

A person thinks between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and usually they are the same ones over and over, day after day.  Instead of criticizing yourself:  I’m too fat.  I’m lazy.  I never finish what I start.  That will never happen for me.  I never have enough money etc, the idea is to change these negative affirmations to positive affirmations and your life will change, because the Universe will bring you what you say.

So I’ve been doing it y’all.  Diligently.   I tell myself I love myself everyday.  I approve of myself.  I am a capable person.   I speak positive things when I catch myself being negative or critical of myself or others.   My affirmations change daily because what I feel changes daily.  So sometimes I may repeat over and over “I deserve to be happy” and another day it may be “doors are opening for me”.

When I began,  I truly shocked myself by the amount of negative and critical thoughts that rolled through my mind; about myself and others. I can tell you that I believe it has helped me.  It has helped my self-esteem, my attitude, my level of contentment.  It has given me a new perspective.

After delving into Louise Hay, I then started exploring related teachers.  The next one being Wayne Dyer.  His teaching follows along with the same idea of what you put out into the Universe will come back to you, good or bad.   I happened to have his book as well.  From where it came, I do not know, which to me was just a sign that I am heading in the right direction.  The book I currently read of his is called Wisdom of the Ages.  It is a compilation of insightful and enlightened teachers from the history of the world and their writings.  People like Michelangelo, Francis of Assisi, Buddha and Jesus Christ.  It covers topics of the heart:  hope, meditation, wisdom, love and what these teachers from the past had to say about them that is still relevant to us today.

Now, before I go further I want to stop here and say for all those that are concerned about my soul and that I am on the road to hell, may I reassure you I’m okay. I am not lost.  I know that this post may sound a little “out there” and even my sister has gently encouraged me to not turn into a kook and get too weird.  I’m no longer mad at God.  The truth is I couldn’t NOT talk to him.  I love my Lord Jesus. But my spiritual walk is broadening, I like to believe.  I think there may be more out there than what I’ve been brought up to believe.  Not that the Bible is a lie.  No way. But that perhaps denominations have put their focus on rules rather than love.    Scriptures have been taken out of context and too much emphasis has been put on sin and repentance, rather than love and acceptance.  I believe the Bible speaks of the law of attraction as well. Ask and it shall be given, knock and the door shall be opened, seek and ye shall find.  The power of life and death is in the tongue.  You reap what you sow.

Louise Hay compares the process of changing our thoughts to seed planting.  That if you were to plant a tomato seed, you wouldn’t expect it to have tomatoes the next day.   It takes time and you have to tend it.  It’s the same with the thoughts.  Even if you don’t believe the thoughts at first, still say them. They are seeds you are planting. You can’t say a thought once, and fill the rest of your day with toxic thoughts and expect positive changes.   You expect a seed to produce good fruit, and in the same way, your positive thoughts will produce good results.  After planting the tomato seed, when the sprout comes up, you would never go to your garden and stomp on it, you are delighted with what has produced from the seed.  So when good things start happening in your life because of your positive affirmations, don’t stomp on them, don’t let doubt in by saying things like “I can’t believe that worked” or “this will never last”.   Continue in the manner and be grateful for what you have.

Now I return to my Facebook story: There are studies out there claiming Facebook can make us unhappy.  That is causes us to feel worse about ourselves and lowers our level of life satisfaction.  Although I’ve read these studies, I don’t know that I even believed them wholly until I experienced it first hand.

Last night, after I had spent hours wasting time reading about other people’s lives, I finally pulled myself out of the recliner and went to get ready for bed.  As I was changing into my gown, I looked at my body in the mirror and BAM, there was a negative thought.  I noticed it right away because during the last several weeks I have become very aware of the thoughts I have. Following that negative thought of my body image, my mind immediately thought of a picture I had seen on Facebook of someone I barely know doing something I think is remarkable. I immediately felt jealous of this person whom I barely know doing a remarkable thing, a thing I secretly want to do.  I am sure I felt jealousy earlier when I saw it initially, but was too busy scrolling to acknowledge my envy, although I did point it out to my husband.

And then…….to top it off after my negative thought of myself, and my jealousy thought of a practical stranger, I began to criticize her and compare her situation in life to my own.  My thoughts went something like this.  “Well, she’s not stuck at home all day with a 3-year-old.  She doesn’t have a job.  What does she do all day?  If I had the whole day to myself, I could accomplish so much more as well.”

Friends, all of this happened in a very short time.  It wasn’t something I dwelled upon.  In the amount of time it took to put a gown over my head, these thoughts had bombarded my brain.  Taken over.  Reigned supreme.  I went from self-hate, to envy, to criticizing others, to comparison.  None of which was beneficial to me.

“Whoa.” I thought.  This is unreal.  I really couldn’t believe that my time spent on Facebook after six months of not being on Facebook could derail my progress like it did.

After I realized the impact it had on me, I couldn’t deactivate my account fast enough. I am my own case study.  I’m not here to slam Facebook.  I know that it serves a good purpose much of the time, but for me, it is like a sip of whiskey to an alcoholic.  I just don’t want to go there again.  Not that I won’t ever, but I like myself better every day.  I love myself more every day.  And those around me. I miss my Facebook  friends.  I even miss the practical strangers.  But last night, I experienced something profound.   A true learning experience and I would be foolish not to pay attention.