At its best, Facebook is wonderful, helping people maintain family ties, encouraging and inspiring people. But at its worst, it inspires jealousy and envy, narcissism and anger. I know more about my cousins and their lives than I ever have. I love seeing the details of everyday life with my brother, SIL, and niece. But lately I was finding myself more often getting down and upset, comparing myself to others. It's not that I don't want them to have good things; I do. But can't I have some of those good things, too? I love seeing pictures of family members' and friends' children, at least until it makes me obsess even more over why I can't have any. Seeing the joy on their faces at an amazing trip to Disney or Universal or Hawaii makes me happy for them. But it makes me wish I could have a vacation, too. The last real vacation we had was our honeymoon, almost 8 years ago. The last trip we took that wasn't to visit family or for doctors' visits was 3 years ago. It's not that I wanted others to have less, but seeing their pictures and joys was leaving me wanting more.
Even more than that, I was starting to see how Facebook was feeding my anger. I was worn out from seeing too many likes and shares of pieces claiming that there were too many of this group in that thing/place or saying how everyone that doesn't agree with this point of view is (insert epithet of your choice here). I don't expect to agree with everyone on everything, but I am endeavoring to respect them and their views. I want to see individuals as individuals, not get wrapped up in a bean counting game. I want to see each and every person as a child of God, deserving of love and respect. And Facebook was getting in my way.
In a very real way, Facebook was leading and encouraging me to sin. As Lent comes to an end, I have to figure out if and how I can safely incorporate Facebook back into my life so as to keep the benefits but minimize the moral hazards. Step 1 is definitely limiting how much time I spend on it; it became way too easy for it to become my default when I was bored or cranky or procrastinating. Unfortunately, some of the people most guilty of liking and sharing posts that send my blood pressure skyrocketing are the same ones whose actual lives I care about and want to keep up with. So I can't just not follow them... Do I pay more heed to my own moods and limits? Certainly looking at FB while already down doesn't help. Perhaps not trying so hard to keep up with everything everyone posts is key, too. And realistically, maybe I just need to ignore more of what people like and share and not look at the details.
If you've got any ideas for how to keep the good parts of Facebook while minimizing the negatives, please let me know!