Do you remember the days when you needed to read a newspaper or turn on the television to find the latest news? I sure do. It’s no secret that social media has transformed the world. It’s our modern world’s best and worst invention.
Several years ago, I realized I needed to find peace with social media. In 2012, I was an avid LinkedIn-er and posted my ideas, thoughts, opinions and research findings with fellow fitness professionals. Until one day, I realized how I needed to find peace with social media.
I recognized this problem when I closely followed and posted my thoughts regarding current vegetarian research. The research indicated that people who ate plant-based diets lived longer than meat-eaters. If you can see where this debate is going, CEO of companies, researchers, personal trainers and dieticians all battled their thoughts and opinions for and against this topic. I noticed my problem when I spent close to three hours reading, thinking, screaming at the computer and typing my opinions. Why the hell can't anyone agree on the fact that eating more vegetables is healthy regardless if a person eats meat or is vegetarian? From that point forward, I stopped commenting and instead watched, learned and grew from social media.
Are educated grown adults really battling against who is right and wrong? Yes! Are people fixed in their opinions and have a hard time with empathy? Yes! This when I adopted the approach, “It’s not wrong, it’s different.” I felt no one grasped the concept that everyone lives life and learns from different leaders or philosophers. Rather than sharing and learning, it became debate on whose research was right. And if anyone actually reads research, they know results vary where one study approves and the other disapproves the hypothesis.
Facebook seems to be the main source of information and social media use for people. The biggest lesson I have learned from Germans is that they are diplomatic and private people, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. Although Americans may outwardly express their emotions, I do think Germans can be “extremely sensitive” to privacy. In fact, I often laugh and find it funny on how private they are. Most of my German friends have fake names or profile images with inanimate objects. So, when I want to see what Hans Guttentag is up to today, I laugh because their latest post is of them chilling at the beach in Zanzibar from October 2014. But, the biggest lesson is this notion to think before you speak. Germans are diplomatic and use their mind before responding with impulsive behavior.
In today’s political mess, social media once again affects the wellbeing of everyone.
One concern with social media is that it becomes a place to vent frustration. Although it’s okay to vent, people have once divided themselves into categories or labels rather than unite to come to a common consensus on what benefits society.
The three biggest issues I find with social media includes:
-The Ego Wants to Shine – When the ego gets fired up, it wants to speak, shine and share its thought and opinions. Often stuck, the ego “needs to be right” and has a difficult time understanding thoughts that differ from their own.
The ego is our biggest friend and foe simultaneously. When fixed, it is hard to be empathetic and we become quick to judge. In terms of the current political debate, people have easily labeled friends and Facebook connections as racist, idiots or “people who are fucked in the head.” There is a complete lack of understanding of the other person’s thoughts or lifestyle choices.
When the ego wants to shine, one becomes impulsive often blurting out a message that is either a snapshot of their thoughts or just a random thought vented through frustration. This becomes the time for other people to attack. The biggest lesson the ego can learn is that extreme points of view NEVER benefit society. In times of a political crisis, there must be a balance between logic and intuition. This ties in with the next point.
-The “Got Me” Society, Adult Bullying and Destruction of Others – As we continue to reveal drama and superficial lifestyles through television, music and movies, we embody those principles and some want to destroy others for their opinions. How many times have you seen a Hollywood housewife back stab their best friend on TV?
Have you ever heard that negativity breed’s negativity? If so, drama works the same way. When the ego gets aroused, we first grow assumptions and bully the person. As mentioned above, we label and assume things about people. But, are they really true?
Do you know their life? Do you know their inner thoughts? Most of the people who vent through social media are good-hearted people that want the best for their community. When the ego gets challenged, the next psychological movement is to attack, degrade and destroy the person.
Attack with opinions. Degrade with hate and name-calling. Destroy their image with mass tweeting or messaging. “You’re fat and ugly.” “Start blocking those bastards.” “Go kill yourself.” These are the real responses from real people who cannot control the ego. But, yet these are the same people who post “bullying in schools need to stop.”
Do you realize your bullying, words or manipulative actions contribute to the same problem of hate and destruction that the world experiences? Feeding and breeding negativity is what needs to change. And every choice affects the (lack of) progress in the world. Can you imagine the harm that could be done if you told an emotionally unstable person to go kill himself or herself just because he or she is a liberal or a conservative? People can only handle so much negativity before they blow.
If you believe in reincarnation, you probably believe in past lives. When chaotic times approach, people’s souls are triggered. Somehow their soul remembers a time that they experienced one or both sides of the same hectic story. Most of our souls have been around for a while and most likely we’ve all been poor, rich, a narcissist, a rebel, a warrior or a murder. When the soul’s memory gets reignited people experience a particular emotion in that moment. A soul who was once a Scottish warrior who fought for their nation’s pride maybe ready to do the same in this life. A soul who died at a concentration camp may feel fear, terror or compassion for the people who suffer.
The design and creation of humanity is greater than we understand. Right now our individual actions play a role into how fast we can move forward towards that utopia. So less judging and impulsive behavior is how to tame the ego.
-“Don’t Forget About Me” Culture - Social media shows people’s deeper psychology and the need to find belonging or reassurance in the world. It’s no secret that the selfie culture has transformed into a self-obsessed and absorbed culture that ignites subconscious egotism. Not all “selfies” are negative, and it can be a creative form of art. But in the greater scheme of worldly issues, self-ruling posts or images can show the deeper lack of confidence or need for approval. Social media is the virtual world, outside of reality, that we too find our community and sense of belonging.
A couple years ago I saw a comedian who made light on a situation about how when a disaster occurs people post long messages that in reality screams, “although tons of people died, don’t forget about me.” Now, this is not to say that all messages portray this silver lining, but in terms of world events these types of posts can stir another pot of emotions and hot heads.
Recently, I’ve seen posts about the current crisis that mentions, “I wonder what everyone thinks about me and my family who immigrated in the United States.” Now, this can be perceived in various different ways, but in terms of how social media has spun out of control, these posts seek validation for their belonging and build a team to further promote one end of the spectrum. It taps human emotion and people lose all rational to balanced thinking. In posts like these, people may desire the "you're amazing" and "you're the best" replies. Wouldn't that make you feel better about yourself if everyone thought you were the best? But, it goes away from the real problem at hand where real people have suffered some really traumatic shit.
How do you handle your social media rage?
First, as mentioned you need to understand that everyone is living life through his or her own experience. Although you may not agree with their opinion, everyone is entitled to express themselves through the freedom of speech. (This is for generic Facebook posts, not anything that is obscene or inappropriate for the public eye). But when people feel threatened, the first instinct is to protect and react.
Yes it’s difficult, but you cannot control anyone but yourself. You (most likely) will not change anyone’s viewpoint or opinion through arguing or hate posts on Facebook. My best recommendation is to let it go. Not posting your blowup responses shows discipline and as time goes you make peace with yourself. Plus, discipline is something that everyone can use in some area of their modern day life.
So when in doubt, discipline your posts out. To end, I leave you with this….
My passion stems from seeking world peace and finding how we can live together creatively rather than violently.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com