Friday, September 2, 2011

Taking things personally

I like facebook.  I like the ability to keep in touch with friends and family, near and far and to easily maintain and enhance friendships and relationships with the touch of a button and the upload of a gazillion pictures.  I like being able to get opinions and advice from people I admire, respect and consider important in my life.

But, there are parts of facebook that rub me the wrong way.  There are actually 2 in particular.  One is the woe is me mentality.  I totally understand and "get" the urge to vent.  Believe me, even I have those moments.  But, there are days or people or pages that just seem to be negative all. the. time.  It is almost as if they believe that the world is out to get them or that everything in their life is so terrible.  And I'm willing to bet that in real life, they don't actually feel that way, but rather it's the way they present themselves unintentionally.  Typically, I have a super easy solution for this, the wonderful "hide" option.  Of course, it seems that now facebook has done away with this option, which would mean that an easy solution would be the glorious unfriend button.

However, in the world of facebook unfriending someone is the equivalent of using a slew of "your mama..." jokes or actually unfriending someone in real life.  It is taken incredibly personally.  I'm fairly confident wars have been started because of unfriending someone on facebook.

I think the problem is that we have become such a "me me me" society that we automatically assume that everything is a personal attack.  We have to watch everything we type, everything we say and everything we do because someone, somewhere might get their feelings hurt.  What kind of society are we living in?

Here are some life lessons I've learned:

* Bad things happen to good people.  All the time.  And good things happen to bad people.  Getting a flat tire, losing a loved one, having your dog step in crap and then jump on your new sweater and breaking a bone are sadly a part of life.  Those individual situations, or even combination of some of the worst possible situations do not determine what kind of life you live.  What determines that is your reaction to the situations life deals you.  I am not saying you shouldn't vent.  Vent away.  Scream it from the rooftops while stomping your feet if that makes you feel better.  But, remember to move through it.  I promise you, the universe is not out to get you.  It is not a personal attack on you.  Sometimes, it just stinks.

* Facebook "games" about breast cancer, testicular cancer, or anything else are not done to hurt your feelings.  If you truly believe they are hurtful, delete your facebook.  Please.  Because it is going to not only drive you crazy, but it is going to put you in a state of deep depression.  I have suffered through secondary infertility, multiple miscarriages and the loss of our son, and I still do not get how the breast cancer "games" are offensive.  I think they're silly and don't do much to raise awareness, but I don't get how it could hurt your feelings any more than any other standard post.  It reminds me of the Gas X commercials. You know, the guy goes in the for the interview, has really bad gas and thinks that everything he hears has one thing or another to do with gas.  It doesn't, but that how he sees the world right then because that is what he is dealing with on the front burner.  It's the same thing.  When you are deep in your pain, that is what consumes you.  You have to do what you have to do to survive as healthy as possible.  I learned that one of the most important things to learn is that even the most amazing and supportive friend is going to say or do something that hurts your feelings.  They aren't doing it to hurt you.  They have completely innocent intentions, and while that doesn't take the sting of it away, it is important to remember.  And sometimes, it's necessary and healthy to take a step back and have some "me" time.

* You can easily become enraged just about anywhere in the world.  It does not mean that it is worth becoming enraged, it is bad for your blood pressure.  If there is a shirt at the mall you don't think is appropriate for girls, don't buy it, if there is a TV show that you cannot believe is on TV, don't watch it, if there is a commercial that disgusts you, don't buy the product.  It is not necessary to take it personally and make a huge statement about it.  

* Even your best friend and soul mate is going to disagree with you on something.  It is not personal.  It is totally possible to agree with someone and to love and respect someone, be it a spouse, family member or friend and to disagree with them.  Again, how we react determines the outcome.  Just because someone thinks differently than you do on politics, religion or how big a birthday party needs to be (:P) does not mean that they are personally attacking you.

I know that some people are going to be offended by this, and I am truly sorry.  I do not want to offend anyone, but I think it's quickly becoming forgotten that not everything is done as a personal attack against you.  And it's totally ok if you disagree with me.  I'm a "if I don't like it I'm going to do something about it or move on" type of girl.  And I know there are some situations that I cannot change, there are life events that have shaken me to my core and changed everything about who I am, but I can determine how I react to those.  And when it comes to something like Kaitlyn's school, the rising cost of cable or how much I hate McDonald's commercials, I can do something about it, other than running to the internet and complaining about it :)


Lori said...

I think, for me, I find things offensive because like you said...we won't always agree and that leads to the 'personal attack' feeling you talk about. Personally, if I find something offensive, I do something about it, if I can, but like you, I believe the Internet is so wide open out there, my time is better spent doing something in real life, rather than debating the merits of a silly game online. I didn't like this last game because my mom died of breast cancer and as an infertile woman, posting about pretend pregnancy to raise awareness for something unrelated just hurt me bc it felt like people were just taking pregnancy so lightly...sort of mocking it. But, like you, I choose not to take it personally! The perspective I have is one I'd never wish on anyone because of what they'd have to go through to get it, so i always try to extend some grace to those who just may not be able to get it or how if could be hurtful. When I come across things online I don't like or agree with, I ignore or move on! Bigger real life fish I'm frying, I guess. Good for you for being real about how you feel! I think sometimes we are expected to feel certain ways because of our losses and when we don't necessarily, may feel out of the norm or even ostracized. That's the thing, though...we are all different and have different views and situations. What gets you may not get me and that's normal!!!! In the end, though, you're right...and taking so much personally can just add more stress in the long run!

Denise said...

I am really and truly sorry for your loss Lori! My mom has been in remission for 3 years now after a mastectomy. It's a crappy disease affecting too many woman. And it's one of those things where I don't get how we can invent phones that have the internet and everything else they have on them in such a short time frame, yet women are still dying from breast cancer, but that's another soapbox.

I can totally understand how it would be offensive, I guess I just don't get making a huge deal and berating people over it? And you know, there are some things that I probably would or could get that mad about, I just haven't come across it yet. But again, different things are always going to affect different people in different ways :) It's part of what makes the world go round I guess :)

misty said...

Accept, change, or eliminate... :)