Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why I'm off of Facebook.... least for now.

First of all, let me say that I am not anti-Facebook.  In my years of using it I have found it to be a wonderful way of keeping in touch with long distance friends, a very effective marketing tool for my music, and a phenomenal boost to my ego every year on my birthday when I receive a plethora of well wishes from friends and extended family members.

But right now I'm tired of one thing in particular. And surprisingly it's not all of the political uproar and upcoming election-spurred divisiveness.

It's the lying.

The straw that broke my Facebook-laden camel's back was a post from a friend of mine. I actually stopped following her months ago but she directed me to her page when I asked her about some photos she took on a recent hike in the mountains.  Over the past 2 years I have counseled this friend about her crumbling marriage.  I have listened, sympathized, offered advice, and spent many many hours trying to help her decide how and when to leave her husband.  Imagine my surprise then, when I went to her page, to see post after post of the two of them smiling together, arms around each other, with captions like: "My hubby is finally home!" and "Celebrating our anniversary - I'm a lucky lady!" and "Best hubby in the world!"

So which is the lie? The years of in-person tear-filled angst and anxiety or the photos of the perfect couple?

Or there's the acquaintance who regularly posts pictures of her son's report card and soccer stats, stating how she is bursting with motherly pride at the expected excellence.  She leaves out, however, the multiple times this young boy has been suspended in elementary school for bullying and physically harming his fellow classmates.

Or the photos of the family reunion, where everyone is smiling broadly for the camera, even though I personally know of one instance where one particular family member is damming back a deluge of anger, frustration, and exasperation.  (I untagged myself from those photos.)

So the question is, why is it so important to put on the false show for others? Why do these people care so much about what other people think? Why are appearances so much more important than the truth?

Don't get me wrong - it's fun to see posts from a celebratory birthday party and it's uplifting to see people post inspirational stories and quotes that are helping them through their journey. But it makes my stomach turn when I see the facades that people put on to make sure that they are perceived a certain way by others. And, I would imagine, to hopefully make those same people jealous of their shiny, happy, perfect lives.

I guess it's because right now I'm committed to living and speaking my truth.  I'm focused on becoming my true self at this point on my life and moving forward each day with authenticity and stability.  I've been betrayed and lied to many times by people who only had their best interests at heart, and I have no time or energy left for any kind of deceit or pretense.  From anyone. I honestly don't care if these people post blatant lies or lies by omission for the world to see -- I'm just choosing to not put myself in the position of seeing it or taking it in.

These people also count the number of "likes" and responses they get on their boastful posts. Which, I guess is the main reason they are posting them.  For these people, the most important thing to them is the approval of others. Even if it's based on something that's not true!  How is this satisfying or gratifying at all?

"When we consistently suppress and distrust our intuitive knowingness, looking instead for authority, validation, and approval from others, we give our personal power away.  -Shakti Gawain

Now I'm not saying that the person who is seriously considering a divorce should post all of her grievances and anger online for all to read.  But when she posts the pictures of the happy couple, to make sure that everyone perceives there are no problems whatsoever, she's perpetuating a lie.  And maybe that makes her feel better in her current situation. If it does, then I am in no position to say she shouldn't do that.  She should do whatever makes her happy and helps get her through this tumultuous time. But personally, I cannot live like that; putting lies out into the world so that I can feel better about my truth. My truth is my truth, and while my location and situation might change from day to day or year to year, my true self, my heart, and my spirit remain the same.

While I do believe that it's important to always put your best foot forward and present yourself to the world in the best possible way, you should do that for yourself, not for anyone else.  You should be pleasant and considerate and loving toward others, not so that you'll receive accolades or praise, but because that's the best way to live YOUR OWN LIFE.  I believe we should all want to be honest and caring and generous because it's the right way to live to make the world a better place.  We should be able to look into the mirror and like what we see not because of what other people have said to us, but because of the integrity and decency and sincerity we have fully brought to each day.

The irony of all of this is that for the people who are living their lives based on others' approval of them, they are going to be shocked when they learn the real truth: Nobody else really cares.  They are going to all of this trouble to put on the positive front and the good show, waiting expectantly for the applause....and the truth is, what's going on in their lives really isn't that important to anyone else.  Everyone else is so caught up in their own issues and problems and getting through each day that someone else's anniversary gift or kid's report card really doesn't have an effect on them whatsoever.  They might take a nanosecond to hit "like," and then they move on to their next thing.  But that "like," or the quantity of "likes" an approval-seeking person might get, or not get, can make or break that person's whole day, or week, or month, or year.

At this point in my life, all of that outer appearance stuff is not for me.  I'm all for sharing special moments and inspirational messages with others. No man is an island, that's for sure.  But I'm not interested in perpetuating dichotomies or giving a "thumbs up" to codswallop. (look it up)  No one is responsible for my happiness or my approval of myself besides me, and I refuse to give that power to anyone else.

It has been said that "The truth will set you free."  I'm all for living in freedom, not shackled down by false appearances and overblown pretenses. How about you?

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