“Self-discipline, although difficult, and not always easy while combating negative emotions, should be a defensive measure. At least we will be able to prevent the advent of negative conduct dominated by negative emotion. That is ‘shila’, or moral ethics. Once we develop this by familiarizing ourselves with it, along with mindfulness and conscientiousness, eventually that pattern and way of life will become a part of our own life.”
~ Dalai Lama
Since I have been on Facebook, going on 4 years now, I have come in contact with many, many people who I haven’t seen or spoken to in years. It’s a great place to reengage, reacclimatize, reassociate (oops that’s not a word, well not really a word that can be used in this context, but you get the point). I’ve found lost loves, lost friends and people that I was trying to lose have found me (haha). I started and ended a few relationships and associations (mental note: good idea for another blog: how to tell the difference between relationships, friendships and associations). I’ve seen some rather interesting things about people; things that they are into, places that they have been, relationships that have succeeded and failed. I admit, I have been on that train; exposing my life to the world, displaying almost every intimate detail of my existence. But see, I’m comfortable with sharing myself in that nature, for I am not ashamed of my life. However, that behavior does pose an interesting question though: How much is too much??
A couple of months back I utilized the “download your information” option on Facebook. Now what this does is basically download every post, status, comment, note, picture, link, etc. that you have done on the website. I noticed that, on some days, I was posting stuff about my life on an hourly basis, sometimes even more than that. My every thought, my every move, stuff I was eating, picking boogers, etc. I was posting about issues with my relationships, my dissolving marriage at the time, problems at work, etc. Then I got to thinking, damn, what the hell am I doing? Why am I telling the world my life story? But again, how I rationalized it was by simply feeling unashamed about my life, comfortable with sharing my experiences and activities with those who I considered to be my “friends”. But, how much is too much?
Although I have expressed my comfort level with sharing the moments of my life, I neglected one key thing: How would the other party feel about me sharing what’s going on in my life? What type of light does that shine on this other person? See, the impact of the things that we do is, oftentimes, never realized because we’re focused only on our intent. Most times the intent is rather innocent. Maybe you’re having a bad day and needed to vent. Okay, I can dig that. I’ve had many bad days and I understand the need to vent; to release that energy so that I am no longer negatively affected by it. But while you are releasing this negative energy, it is has to go somewhere. It usually finds its way into the lives of others. All that venom you have towards men/women that have treated you bad, arguments you’ve had with folk, children acting a fool, the boss getting on your nerves, etc. These are all things that you’ve released into the universe, or better yet, for the world of Facebook to see.
Again, I admit, I have posted various things of a similar nature about myself. So I’m not any better off. I will say that I have become rather mindful of the things that I share and the frequency of which I share them. I have learned that there are different venues for all of that. Some posts are appropriate; some posts don’t have any business being in the public domain. Some people, me included, rationalize things as “living life like an open book”. Again, I can dig that, but how open should we be with our lives? When does it truly become too much? Even as some people read this, and they can relate, I doubt they will take the time to actually reflect upon these words. Some people that need to read this and do reflections upon it will never see what they are doing as anything “wrong”. Usually these are the people that love to say things “I don’t care what people say or think about me”, or when people comment about the things that they post “Why you all in my business?” or “Nobody asked you to comment”. Then, here’s my favorite, when you notice that people have deleted you on Facebook you feel some kind of way and post something to the effect of “Well, I didn’t need them anyway!” I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s much different if you’re the one actually doing the deleting. But let’s move on….
Have you ever stopped think that people don’t care about every single detail of your life, but you, and maybe that’s the reason why they deleted you in the first place? They don’t want to be bothered with your many random and mostly negative posts about how bad things are going in your life. Hell, nobody has to put up with that shit, friend or not. Even with some of the things that I post, I know that people could care less. When people go off on their angry tangents and what not, and you call yourself being a friend by egging them on or escalating the situation, you’re not really being a friend. You know, some people are only friends with each other on Facebook just to be nosey; some people enjoy watching others suffer, or humiliate themselves. Society as a whole has become accustomed to watching train wrecks happen and that’s exactly how some people’s lives are playing out on Facebook. Like I said, I’m not any better.
Lately, I haven’t posted as much personal stuff as I used to. I’ll post the occasional “I miss my baby” status or “Yeah, I’m eating some spaghetti and bout to pop a bottle of Moscato”. I’ve learned to develop a filter and to practice some sort of restraint, discipline even. I saw myself heavily addicted to Facebook, to the point where I was neglecting things going on in my actual life. I mean, sometimes I wonder if folk have a life outside of Facebook with how much stuff they are posting. I’ve been there too. Hell, sometimes it’s almost as if the only way you can get through to some people is through Facebook. It’s bad enough that some people already don’t speak or interact in the flesh; that most of us can’t even remember actual phone numbers of people; that we forget family member’s birthdays. For some people, if it’s not on Facebook, it’s not something that they care to remember.
Just be mindful of the things that you do people. I can’t stress this enough. In order to live a more balanced life you have to be willing to recognize the negative aspects or your own existence before you can make anything positive. Acting as if things are completely sane or normal or that there is nothing wrong with the way you conduct yourself, as if it isn’t having a negative impact on those around you is asinine. Learn to look past yourself; hell, learn to actually look at yourself sometimes. When I say that I don’t mean create an image of how you want yourself to be; view yourself just as you are. You have to acknowledge the negative aspects of you as much as you acknowledge the positive aspects of you because it is what makes up who you are. You can only ignore but so much of your own existence and the world around you. Sooner or later things will have to be dealt with. It’s all about how you choose to deal with these things that matters. Whether you want to divulge all your information out in the open, or you choose to be mute, it’s all on you, friend. Again, just be mindful….
I’ll still luv ya tomorrow……