22 Jan The Insanity of Listening to Everyone’s Opinions
Today, I spoke these words when I saw my Facebook feed: “That’s it. If you don’t bring me joy, you’re gone.”
And I meant it.
I’ve written before about giving yourself permission to unfollow people on social media, and today I needed to take my own advice again. My feeds had become a cesspool of negativity, judgment, misunderstandings, and deliberate attacks. People who don’t even speak face to face fight via a keyboard. With every scroll, I became more irritated. I saw post after post of things that, in my view, didn’t need to be seen, said, or shared through this medium.
It’s like I forgot I had a choice. But it’s MY social media, and I don’t have to see what I don’t want to see. (And all the people said amen.)
So I scrolled and unfollowed, scrolled and unfollowed. And my heart got lighter with every click of the mouse.
It’s not that I only want to surround myself with people who agree with me and share my opinions. I don’t. I believe it’s super important to hear different views and be exposed to new ideas.
But that’s not what this is about. (And I think real life is the best place to do that, anyway.)
This is about deliberately exposing yourself to hundreds of people’s voices every day who are doing nothing to enhance your life, expand your thinking, or bring joy to your heart. It’s about whether or not you allow the toxicity of people’s poison to infiltrate your life.
I would never attempt to have coffee with hundreds of people every day and listen to all their thoughts on all the world. I would never invite scores of people to fill my den and then sit back as they all shout their thoughts at me while wallpapering the walls of my home with pictures, lyrics, and memes I find offensive. So why do I do exactly that through social media?
Here’s the reality of what social media is: a funnel of all the world’s opinions delivered directly to you. An unfiltered funnel, unless you take the initiative to filter it. And what I keep discovering in every part of my life, including online, is that it is insanity to listen to everyone’s opinions. We were not made to be endless consumers of everyone’s thoughts. We just weren’t.
I wish social media could just be fun and games. I kind of miss the days where people posted pictures of their meals and kids. But wishes are only granted in fairy tales. So for now, at least, social media is a lot of negativity. And Lord knows I don’t need any more of that weaseling its way into my life.
I love writer Emily P. Freeman, and she is always talking about making space for your soul to breathe. I think many of us have forgotten how to do that, and I know I often forget how desperately I need it. We need more white space in our lives. Without it, we become overstimulated and over-saturated. When we expose ourselves to too much, we can’t process any of it. We don’t naturally keep what is best and ignore everything else. It all begins to impact us. Especially the negative.
I just cannot allow the opinions of thousands to impact me every day. When I’m exposed to the opinions of thousands, it’s hard to hear the voice of my Savior. His voice is the one I need guiding me, and if that means I need to remove an app or set strict limits for myself, then that’s what I’ll do.
I need white space. I need life-giving words. I need joy and peace.
And I need to remember that social media isn’t always something I need.