I’ve only been on social media for a short while and to my surprise, I love it! I was hesitant to join but recently decided to dive right in, both feet first. Truth be told, it’s only been a couple of months, but with all the “likes” and comments, I have been relishing the way a simple thumbs up or short words of encouragement can lift the spirit. One day, however, I was basking in the excitement of positive social media feedback when I received a post. It was a harmless post of someone enjoying a celebration. But, I wasn’t invited! I realized in that moment the fragility of “likes” and positive comments. One minute I was thinking social media was the best thing next to sliced bread, and the next, I was saddened that I wasn’t invited to something to which I would have normally been invited.
I know I’m going out on a limb here. It’s not fun to admit to have childish, immature thoughts. However, the reason I decided to write this entry is because I know countless experience this same thought process. Many research studies link depression to social media (for example, http://www.uh.edu/news-vents/stories/2015/April/040415FaceookStudy.php) with social comparison as the culprit. Last month, I wrote a post entitled, “Comparison is Violence.” As I explained in that blog entry, the habit of this emotional tug-of-war is suffering. I know better than to compare myself with others. I know that comparison creates my own suffering. How did I fall prey to it, once again?
This is the heart-breaking reality of the human condition—to envy that which you are not and do not have. When we compare ourselves, our lives, accomplishments—even the invitation list to someone you consider a friend—we need to remain grounded in who we are, our identity. There are many truths that can center us.
One truth that particularly centers me is that I was made with, by and for a Purpose. Do I know that it would have been better for me to attend the celebration? When I see certain posts on social media, my immediate, gut-reaction is to feel discouraged or envious. However, when I take a step back and question my thoughts, I realize the need to center myself, to discipline my mind to accept truth—I have Purpose. This truth is grounding on so many levels; it maintains its truth even with something as silly as an invitation list. I wasn’t meant to be there. It wasn’t part of the plan, my path, my purpose for that day.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” There’s no magic pill. There’s no easy way. Day after day, night after night, we need to center our thoughts. At the end of the day, it is simply and profoundly guarding our minds in our true identity. I am reminded of a time when my daughter was a toddler and had scary dreams. My husband loves scary dreams and in order to console our daughter, he told her to send the scary dreams to him. So, with our little girl’s imagination, she said, “Ok, Dada, I’m going to put my scary dreams on a train and send them over to you.”
What thoughts do you need to send away? What are the truths that ground you?
One committed to processing truth, finding light in the darkness, savoring the simple, and living fully.