Click: “Post”. Click: “Edit”. Click: “Share”. Delete. Delete. Delete.
Social media was once my entertainment and outlet for boredom. At some blurred moment in history, it has shifted into my source of news, taking over my emotions and sometimes my common sense. Finally… it became the place where I lost myself. The pandemic has spiraled me into a social media aficionado, even more than I was before, as it became my biggest, easiest, and “safest” escape from life at home.
I use quotes around “safest” because while it kept me from interacting in person with others during COVID fears, it most certainly isn’t the safest place for me mentally or emotionally.
Sometimes I wonder, “Is this the kind of parent I would be if I wasn’t looking at everybody else’s home life?” “Would I feel rage about this subject if I didn’t see how many angry, red-faced emoji’s responded to that status?” “Is it only a matter of time before my words are used against me in some future endeavor, seeking to destroy my credibility and blow up my life?”
Whatever I say on social media can and will be used against me either to slander me or to denounce me by people who do not know my heart or me as a person. It’s not that I’m scared of my own opinion or sharing it, but here’s the problem… I hate hate hate to say this, but most people on social media do not have others well-being in mind. You are everyone’s sweetheart until you dare to disagree, thus stifling the truth in many cases. They’re not seeking to educate or help or grow one another. It is the modern guillotine, and it’s only a matter of time before you find your own head on the chopping block. I confess that I have spoken foolishly on matters I know not enough about, and sadly, that’s what social media has done to a lot of folks. It has elicited a sense of pride or anger or sadness or joy in things that normally they wouldn’t waste their breath on. Sometimes this is for good because ignorance was rampant before social media, but many times, it’s also for bad, as people have begun to speak as if their tablets and phones are a shield. Their courage is misguided and used in breathtaking ways to insult and tear down and pick apart others– something they would never do without a screen.
I will not be bullied into saying I feel something I don’t feel or say something I wouldn’t normally say. I’m not insinuating that the reactions I’ve had to events have been false thus far, but I do often question who I would have been if I wasn’t so heavily shaped by what I take in through social media, either by reading through other statuses or reactions to my own. For better or for worse, it has stripped me of my natural sense of self and molded me into an “anybody” instead of a “somebody”. Without my realizing, my opinions have been diluted by other’s level of offense to it, and my stories have become nothing more than just that – stories – instead of lessons and a place of education and development and personal growth. I realize that this is more of a personal problem than a general one, but I desire true growth, and that is MY truth.
In earnest, I can say the following: Between having a conversation (or debate) on social media and having a conversation (or debate) with my inner circle, only ONE of these has resulted in personal growth.
The same words when spoken to my inner circle, are used to refine me. The difference is that my inner circle has my best interests in their hearts. They know me. They have the end goal in mind, and that is to reach heaven. They do not desire for me to crash and burn for the sake of them being right, but rather that they may use edifying words to lift me and guide my feet on the path. I am allowed to be wrong, I am allowed to change my mind, and I am allowed to be honest without fear of repercussions for what I’ve said in anger or exasperation or depression or otherwise. That is not to say I will not be corrected by my inner circle, nor do I wish to speak into an echo chamber by any means. But realistically, who are you more likely to accept correction from? Those who have shown their loyalty to your being and your spirituality, or from those met-once-in-high-school-during-an-extra-curricular-activity coming out from the woodworks 20 years later to explain to you why you are a menace to society and plain wrong?
I will not be taking to social media to express my advocacy for whatever the current season of anger or fear or injustice is, because I will be advocating within my own home where change is really made. My posts do not elicit change, but my actions DO. I need to come to terms with that. My “woke-ness” does not come from how many times I declare it publicly. It comes from how I raise my children, how I lovingly challenge my friends and challenged BY them, and how I carry myself.
Unfortunately, social media is a double-edged sword. While it has the power to tear down mentally, it also has become a fast and efficient route to getting word out. For this reason, I have decided to redefine my relationship with social media. I will be phasing out of my personal account and into a personal growth one, used for the way that I believe God intended me to use it. I do believe that God has given me the gift of words (something that has taken me an incredibly long time to recognize and admit out loud without feeling ashamed of it), so getting off altogether would be stifling that.
I will end with this: I do not desire to hurt a single soul, but I do believe it’s okay if we disagree. That is not a personal attack on you, and it is not a declaration of apathy towards you, but rather it is a place of divergence. We are not always on the same page, and I am comfortable with that. I pray you will be too.
If you would like to follow me on this journey, please follow my new page “Cognizance: A State of Mind.” It is the sister page to my blog by the same title.
May the God of all Love help us grow in peace and unity, for He desires us as ONE body.