I have a lot of love for social media. I make an effort to put a lot of positive things out into the universe of social media. If I help one person with a positive post, then that makes me so happy! It is also where a large portion of my work occurs, so I am very thankful for it. Social media connects me with my family and friends and also provides a job for me. I could go on and on with lists of reasons as to why I appreciate and have fond feelings for social media. There are so many good factors to it. Especially if we focus on the positives. I can see beautiful pictures and I gather a lot of information. I’m not telling you that I am trusting any medical information, but I can trust my friends who give me a recommendation for someone who can fix my chimney or where I can find a stuffed animal that my daughter really wants.
With that being said, I also can find myself being very disturbed as I scroll through posts. My rule to myself is to keep scrolling. If someone is upsetting me with what they post, for my own mental health, I really do try to scroll on by. Focus on the happy. Focus on the good posts. Focus on the wonderful people I am connected to. This is what I tell myself. What we focus on expands. I am a strong believer of that line.
Sometimes I get sucked into reading a post that I really shouldn’t have bothered to spend the time or energy reading. I will scroll through comments and be completely appalled by what people are saying. It is a really hard year to be a teacher on social media. My jaw drops to the floor when I see what people are saying about teachers. Teachers who at any given moment need to change their whole style of teaching to keep up with the latest guidelines. If you are a teacher reading this, I want to tell you that you have parents like me who are so very thankful for you. I have never been more appreciative of teachers as I am this year. I am supposed to be helping Lillie with independent work on Thursdays and Fridays. I don’t want to be Lillie’s teacher. I am not qualified to be anyone’s school teacher. I do not have a teaching degree. I went to school for social work. If she is having a problem with anxiety or depression or a conflict with a friend, I am the woman to help her. If she isn’t feeling confident, I know what to say and how to help. She works herself all up when she is upset. I am actually qualified to help her learn how to calm herself down. I could teach a social work course. I am not qualified to teach her common core math. I will end this with please say thank you to your teachers and don’t be so hard on them. It is not their fault that your child is not in school five days a week.
As I scroll through comments I cringe sometimes. I am trying to understand why people think it’s okay to say some of the things they do. Didn’t their mothers teach them that if they don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all? If someone has a different opinion then you about religion, politics, vaccines or school, why do you feel the need to fight with them? Do you think that you are going to change someone’s opinion by doing that? Are you making yourself feel better with what your opinion is on the topic? If I defend my position, then I feel better about myself. Is that what is going on? Be confident enough in yourself that you don’t have to make yourself feel better by putting others down. If you are not confident in yourself, then find actual legitimate ways to build yourself up. Focus on what you do right. Focus on things you like about yourself. If you aren’t happy with a decision you have made you can always change your mind. If you aren’t sure about a decision that you have to make, then do more research on it so that you can feel more educated and confident in the steps you take forward.
I got sucked into reading about people’s reactions to the Covid vaccine on Facebook. Why would I do that to myself? Not only did it completely stress me out, it also showed me how mean people can be. One woman told us how terrible she felt for a few days after she got the second dose of the vaccine and another woman told her that, “At least she didn’t die like others did who got Covid.” Who says that? I felt so bad for this woman who put herself out there and shared her own experience. How about saying, “That’s really sad that you felt so crappy for a few days. I hope that you are feeling much better.” Why do people attack others? There is a whole psychology behind that. I could actually answer that question. They are making themselves feel important. I guess part of my reason for this blog is a plea to all of you to really think about what you are putting out to the universe. Is what you are about to say going to make someone else feel badly? Why would you want to do that? Let’s put out good things and if you don’t agree with someone, I encourage you to just keep scrolling. Or nicely tell them that you are going to agree to disagree. What happened to that line? I have used that line many times. I also find that I try to be open minded. I am not set in stone with all my opinions. If you can be respectful, I am happy to hear what you have to say. Maybe I will start to think differently and maybe I will just say that we disagree. Disagreeing is okay. It is not our job to convince everyone to agree with us. Someone who disagrees with you may come out with something amazing. You never know.
I’ve said enough about social media. I’ve just been so upset with some recent posts I have seen about education in particular. I have a really good friend who is always very honest with me. She gives it to me straight. She loves me and cherishes our friendship and she also knows that it’s okay for us to disagree. She told me that if I didn’t like the Hybrid model that Lillie was given from her school that it was my job to find something different for her. I could hire someone to work with her on Thursdays and Fridays. I could look into a private school that will take her five days a week. I could advocate for her to go to school more based on some legitimate reasons that I have. Those were some of my options. She knows how to disagree with me and be respectful in the process. She has even checked in with me after a disagreement to make sure that she didn’t overstep. She is a good friend who cares deeply about me and my family. I know how good her intentions are and I’m thankful that she can always be honest with me and do it in a respectful way. Her bottom line is that if I’m going to complain about something then I should work towards problem solving and fixing it. She is 100% correct.
I think one of the biggest lessons that my mother taught me is that it’s not what I say, it’s how I say it. Whether we are typing a response, texting a response or sitting next to someone and discussing a matter at hand, we can say what we want in an appropriate manner. Our word choices are so very powerful. This is a huge lesson that I’ve learned in my 17 year relationship with my husband Seth.
You have heard Seth and I discuss the five love languages in my blog, in my vlog, and there will be a podcast coming out in April that will also focus on it more. Seth has explained to me how important words are to him. I grew up in a home where my parents fought, said things they didn’t mean, and then the next day they were fine. I didn’t realize the power of word choices until I met Seth.
Seth listens super intently to everything I say and takes everything literally. When we were dating, I showed him a $5,000 engagement ring that I was looking at online. That should have been my first lesson right then. He took me literally and was saving up to buy me a ring like that. In no way did I expect a $5,000 ring from my boyfriend who was so thankful that I moved in with him and could help him pay the rent every month. I was showing him style more than showing him what I expected. I would have been fine with a $100 ring. However, I didn’t explain that to him and he took me literally. Thankfully it came out months later and I set him straight. We wanted to get married. He wanted to buy me a ring. I didn’t care how much the ring was, I cared about the significance behind the ring. That was my first lesson in Seth taking me literally and my needing to be careful what I said to him.
Having the ability to think before I speak goes along with having the ability to think before I eat. It all comes down to self control. If we really think about what we are going to say before we say it, we would have better relationships with our spouse, our kids, our parents, our siblings and our friends.
My word choices are powerful in my relationship with others and it is also very powerful with myself. I was just sitting here thinking about how proud I am of myself for exercising this morning before I started writing. I exercised at home, took my dog for a walk and shoveled my sidewalk before I sat down to type this. As I talk nicely to myself it also encourages me to keep going and to do it again and again. If I tell myself that I didn’t go fast enough or that it wasn’t good enough, I am putting myself down and bringing myself down. If I build myself up, then I will be more likely to keep going. As I walk my dog sometimes I say this out loud (or in my head), “I am thin, I am toned, I am healthy.” I say that over and over as I walk Tanner trying to embed that message in my head. I even picture myself toned and thin. If I keep telling myself that then my mind believes it and makes it happen. I want you to think about what you say to yourself. I want to challenge you to say something positive to yourself three times today. Create a mental image as you say it. What we believe we achieve. What we focus on expands.
I needed to go on a rant about words today. Social media inspired this blog. I saw people being mean to a principal online yesterday. I saw people being mean about vaccine reactions. I know there were a lot more disturbing posts then those two, but I really do try to just keep scrolling by when necessary. I won’t even getting started on some of the political posts that I have refused to read. Just keep scrolling.
I hope that I can inspire you to put good things out on social media. I hope I can inspire you to disagree respectfully with your friends. I hope that I can inspire you to think before you yell at your child. I hope that I can inspire you to tell yourself good powerful positive word choices. Go post something positive and then tell yourself something you love about yourself. Make good things happen! Our words have so much power.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
The Whinypaluza Schedule: My blog with a new topic is posted every Wednesday morning. My vlog to discuss the topic goes live on Facebook every Wednesday night at 9:00 PM and is also posted to You Tube. My podcast goes live every Friday morning at 9:00 AM. My podcast usually involves having an informative discussion with a parenting or marital expert. You can find it wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also find it on You Tube and we have started posting the video/audio version on my Facebook page too. Thank you for reading, watching and listening. I appreciate all of you!