Tag Archive | social media

When You’re Down and Lonely.

 

Bruce Appleford shared this with me on my Facebook Timeline this morning and I liked it so much I had to share it here. It matters what we focus on.  It matters what we surround ourselves with.

It took a life shaking experience for me to really look at the wall of my life and realize how many of the bricks in it were there for the wrong reasons.  Our lives should be about the things we love, the things we are, the things we choose.  Instead the wall of our lives is made up of bricks given to us by others – their beliefs, their rules, their hate.  We absorb what our parents tell us.  As children we lack the ability to logically question or to look at things and decide if they are right for us.  We absorb the feelings, emotions and beliefs of the people we hang around with, even when we are not aware we are doing it.  All groups require some agreed to “beliefs” to operate and then, within the group dynamic, the other “beliefs” from the dominant members begin to arise and be practiced.  Quietly but firmly, they soon govern the lives of all the members.  Even among friends, if someone dislikes another person, it is often expected that the friend do likewise.

There is so much that sucks life out of us, requiring us to surrender bits and pieces of who we really are, and therefore . . . our happiness.  It is hard to equate finding happiness with being willing to spend time alone and with less friends.  But for many of us, that long list of names on our social media pages, are just names of people we used to know, or more likely, those who were busy collecting names one day and they added ours.  We, like sheep, clicked yes without any real thought.

I have a few “friends.”  I have accepted that good friends come and go with the circumstances of our lives, meaning we really connected, had something great, and when someone moved or got a new job, we no longer were able to have the same kind of contact.  There is no tragedy in that.  It does not mean we are no longer friends, or that what we had meant nothing, it is simply life and the feelings are still there but there is no active, current, meaningful exchange.  I refuse to buy into the drama of gaining and “losing” friends.  I don’t have a lot of friends because I know I do not have the time to put into a lot of friends.  I have some lovely acquaintances that I see once in awhile at certain events and we thoroughly enjoy our time together.  We don’t play at being friends.  We could be, but we are not.  So, when a need arises, and I need help, I don’t have a huge list to go through, I have my friends that I know will be there.

I used to have long lists of people who I counted on as friends.  I was there for them in many ways and knew they would be there for me when and if the time came.  It came and they weren’t.  The fault was not theirs in letting me down.  The fault was mine in assigning them roles they were never prepared to play.  I needed something in my life, and I cast them in the roles.  I wasted a lot of time and caused myself way more pain than was necessary by carrying on the charade.  I felt safe with that huge net around me, except it was just an illusion and it kept me from finding my own strengths and maybe from even identifying the one or two people who would have actually been there for me.

Now I often recognize the need to step back from the chatter of the crowd when my life starts to become dark and negative.  Again, the blame is not on them . . . or even on me in this instance.  I just know, that if I don’t remove myself, I start to think and act in the same dark way.  I know my limits.  I protect me because, I learned, before I can be a friend to anyone else, I have to be a friend to myself.

Faking Facebook, Faking Life.

 

I saw this video this morning and had to comment.

Social media has become this world where we are virtually attending our high school reunions, except on a much grander scale.  Yet instead of  just one night where we create an illusion to “in your face” to all who scoffed at us or treated us bad in high school, we have every day.  We get to filter what people see and to a large extent, what they think.  Our “profile page” on any available media, becomes this perfect view of who we are and perhaps, more than anything else, it is a sad reflection on our own opinion of ourselves.  We can’t allow ourselves to just be us, we have to present what we think will make others “like” us.

Ahh those elusive “likes” that prove to the world that we have worth.

And then of course the 50 million social media experts who will tell you sneaky ways to get more likes, that have nothing to do with being honest, or improving any business you are trying to promote.  The business (or you) is irrelevant – all hail being “like”ed.

Those perfect pictures, life lived to the fullest, beautiful people everywhere, everything is a success, happy happy happy.  Dozens of people egging you on, cheering, some standing on their chairs clapping … all of them like trained seals .. hoping if they clap for you it will accomplish 2 things … that everyone will think they are “like”ing your activity because that is their life too and the most important one … that you will “like” them in return.

If it was sincere, you would find random things that people with almost no followers at times getting a hit out of the ball park.  We all say or do something brilliant at some time … but no … the popular get more sheep people and it goes on and on.

But the saddest part of this video is not that people do this, it is that as soon as you are honest, or you might actually NEED someone, or God forbid you say something that everyone does not agree with … you are muted in some way.  We are CHOOSING to connect with one another at the most superficial, fake level possible.  We want picture perfect lives that will cause others to envy us so that we can sit alone in our normal lives and feel completely alone because we can never have a real relationship and risk someone finding out the truth.  We are CHOOSING to isolate ourselves and be miserable.

Life is not perfect.  So what.

People are not perfect.  So what.

Relationships are a two way street.  Sometimes you have to give and sometimes you receive.

The packaging of life is irrelevant on any meaningful scale.

Being popular is not listed in any religious text or worthy life pursuit as the key to anything other than the delusion that you are better than someone else. Popular is in this moment, in this arena . . . it does not carry over to another arena.  Think about it.  You may have been wildly popular in high school.  When you got into University did anyone care or even know about it?  Life is the same way.  Screen shots of your update with 1000 “likes” is not a practical way of dealing with the loneliness of having no-one in your life in your twilight years.

The best friend you can have would never blindly “like” everything you say and clap over the fact you had sushi for dinner.

It is in the tough strokes of life that we often make the most meaningful connections and form lasting relationships.  It is in being willing to see and react to the pain of others that we discover our own hearts and our capacity for love.

You can blame Facebook, Google .. any of them for the state we are in but we are the consumers.  They provided a tool and we are the ones using it.  Just as easily as we have used it to create this surface, ridiculously empty illusion of connection, we could use it to bring into our lives more purpose, deeper understanding, and greater friends.

You just have to stop.

Decide what kind of person you want to be and represent that.  Be real.  We are all just real people, flawed and broken, healed and dynamic.  Our super powers are not in being the most beautiful, or having the most expensive house, or traveling and eating incredible food … our super powers in our ability to love ourselves, and one another.  You cannot have one without the other.  So start with yourself.

Be honest.

Make your connections mean something more than just a number that tells you each day your lies are “like”ed.

 

Prayers, Green Bean Casseroles, Social Media and Evolution.

3 bean

There  we sat, dinner was finally on the table, all the family gathered around at Easter/Christmas/Thanksgiving/4-H Steer of the Year/Grandma cured her hemorrhoids/ whatever  . . .  with all my favourite dishes set out on the table.  We could not wait to dig in.  My mouth was watering, my brother was drooling more than normal, and grandma already had her teeth in and ready to go.

And then someone would say, “Wait, Wait!  We have to say grace!”

And several people would smile but their legs would kick out underneath the table in the general direction of the person who spoke.

And everyone would have to bow their head and some tattle tale would tell on someone whose eyes were not closed tight and their head not bowed and then there would be the argument of “how would you know that unless your head was not bowed and your eyes were opened,” and the pot and the kettle would scream, and the parents would insist everyone close their eyes and then there would have to be a grace period while a responsible adult checked to make sure.  After the “all clear” pronouncement someone would be asked to say prayer and it would always end up being “Aunt Maude,” even though I had already fervently been pre-praying “please please God don’t let it be Aunt Maude.”

I am not sure what the point of praying is when you have just scientifically proven that God does not answer prayers.

Some people argue when people ask them to be the “one.”   They say things like “no, I couldn’t, really . . .  I said it last year, how about giving Jimmy a turn?” but not my Aunt Maude.  She was going to pray.  I actually believed that if anyone ever had been asked to say prayer, she would have WWF wrestled them for it … and won.  So Aunt Maude would start praying.  She would being by recapping the entire worlds history since her last family prayer.  Think power point presentation/home movies except she described every picture because pictures were not allowed on account of someone made the rule that praying was not praying if your eyes were open.  Then she would move onto the the thank-you’s and letting the Lord know we had noticed what was happening around us.  Evidently there must be some kind of prize for letting the Lord know you can see his hand in everything.  I think the Lord’s hand preceded Waldo.  And then the requests for family, friends, neighbours, their pets – both those here and those passed,  and people we drove by on the street or stood next to in a grocery line once begin.  Eventually the food gets mentioned, but not just the food in general, every ingredient, the process involved in getting it to the table in its current state and the lack of those things prior that make you grateful for the current rich abundance.

And an hour would pass.

And mom’s famous green bean casserole would get cold and congealed and my mouth was dry, my brother was normal drooling and grandma had taken her teeth back out and dropped them in Grandpa’s water and fallen asleep.  Uncle Bob had actually left the table and was watching the football game in the other room with the dog.

But that was back in the day.  Now, people are not so big on the praying … and if they are … it is brief and many people are already dishing up anyway, without teeth, and in front of the TV, watching the football game, because we don’t listen to one another talk, let alone pray.

But people still have to pause before eating.  Everyone at the table has to pulls out a cell phones and take pics of the food set on the table, then dished out on their plate, half eaten, and then completed. You have to photograph it, think of something incredible to say, and then get it onto social media somewhere because you know the whole world is dying to know what you are having for lunch.  There is even a Pinterest category for green bean casserole and people write things like “WOW” and “mmmm,”   because people have replaced God with food and pics in their esteem.  Eyes are wide open in this modern world because no-one likes those pics where the camera catches you with your eyes shut … or your lips unpursed … or hair untossed.

But before you go patting each other on the back on our apparent evolution as human beings you should think about the cost of modern technology.

We love our food.  And we love to share our food … well not the actual food … just the pictures of our food.  It is very spiritual and social of us.  A good enough picture of our food and people envy us and weep over their ramen noodle lunch.  It is a status symbol.  We don’t share our real photos, or real contact,  but we certainly share our food pics.

And sometimes, we even find a picture of God IN the green bean casserole.  That is called irony.  It is a sign and then some and somewhere, up there, both God and Aunt Maude smile and high five one another.  They probably take a selfie and post it on Snap Chat.

Now that is progress.

In a totally socially networked kind of way ….

TFFT: My Friends Don’t Always Give Me That Standing Ovation.

judging

It seems like every day, on Social Media, you come across another group of people talking about someone else.  It usually involves pointing at something they have done, which according to their interpretation is NOT the way it is supposed to be done.  They parade out interactions that are probably so innocent in their intent and throw them on the floor for the lions to rip into.

Despite a bazillion sentiments like the one above, plastered all over the internet, people continue to gather their groups to publicly flog anyone and everyone who is not part of the group.

What they don’t even begin to understand is that most of us do not take that on board as evidence against the person they are discussing … we take it on board as evidence of who these people are.  With every jab and comment, they strip away their own fancy clothes and self righteousness to reveal their own vulnerabilities and fears.

When people who are working in creative endeavors, complain about the WAY other people create, that tells me that they are incredibly insecure about their own gifts and may even feel threatened by the person they attack, or are in desperate need of reassurance from their pack that they are awesome.  Many people do not know how to be awesome all on their own.  They need dead bodies on the playing field to give them the high they are seeking.

When people who have worked hard to be where they are and it has taken time, look at others starting out and want them to “know their place” or to “earn” their place, that tells me again about their own insecurity.

When people jump all over someone, drawing conclusions that could be true, but so could many other possibilities, that lets me know what they need it to be and further pinpoints their own insecurities.

The fact that people need to expose an incident to the hate of everyone, is cruel.

Not making allowances for language difficulties and perhaps meanings getting lost in translation, is cruel.

Making a private interchange public, is cruel.

We are bad enough on our own, with our insecurities and personal struggles, we are horrible when we get into groups.  Groups are usually formed to accomplish some task or for some purpose but the associations in them are often bolstered by people’s insecurities.  It is a way or reassuring each other that you are better than those who are not in the group.

The problem we have is that most of life is a popularity contest that has nothing to do with being the best, or deserving accolades.  If you are liked, your work will be liked.  Doors will open for you.  People who do not seek groups, who know how to be successful on their own, have to create their own doors to open.  It is harder, make take longer, but because the only voice that really matters when it comes to accolades, is the one within themselves, they do not require a gang around them to applaud and approve AND it is much more satisfying.  To be able to stand and know that you own every aspect of your success is amazing and just spurs you on to greater things.

I do things because I have done things.  I know what I can do.

There is a tremendous sense of beauty in that.  The push is only on yourself.  It allows you to see what others do and be inspired and excited about it.  It allows you to focus on the work and discuss it and to not reduce everything in life to personalities and attacking people.  It is true, you do not have a crowd always standing around you to party with BUT you have good friends who are willing to tell you the truth.  People in groups might have 50 people there most of the time but are any of them real friends?

We have put so much emphasis on being liked and being popular.  We would rather people tell us what we want to hear, than believe people who are willing to tell us the truth because they love us.  We defend our lives based on “all my friends do it,” or “everyone thinks this dress looks great on me,” because the group is committed to telling one another exactly what they know they want to hear.  That being “we are all perfect.”   “We are all right all the time.”  “Yes!”

When the group discusses a situation they tend to reduce it to a personal attack on the person involved.  They are a “skank” or a “loser.”  They do not focus on the event.  When the group discusses one another they also tend to focus on the person – this time in a praiseworthy way – and not the incident.   We aren’t doing one another any favours.

Ask yourself when the last time was that you allowed for someone to criticize you and were ok with it, even took it on board, without anger or resentment?  Is anyone allowed to do that in your life?  Think about it.

I have lived my life in kind of two extremes.  I was really alone as a kid growing up, even though I was active in all kinds of sports and other activities.  I just liked to be alone.  I remember one night after doing a concert at the University, I went to a house party where most of the people wanted to hang with me and talk about my performance.  While all the attention may seem like a desired reward, it was not what I wanted or needed.  I made my way to one of the bedrooms and sat in the dark, feeling so pleased with my performance, and happy.   I just wanted alone time with me.  That was just who I am.

Then I got married and became involved in all kinds of groups and organizations and was surrounded with hundreds of people who “loved” me.  Everyone was always over at our parties, we were invited everywhere, we saw the same dozens of people at the schools, sporting events for us and the kids, church … one big love fest.  And then my husband got very ill and was dying.  And over the three years he suffered before his death. EVERY ONE of those people disappeared from our lives.  I had a crowd of “friends” if I could be happy and cheery and doing for everyone else.  In my deepest need, I had no-one.

I was not mad at all the people.  I was mad at myself because I had filled my life with empty meaningless shit.

It was an opportunity to take a long hard look at myself and make some changes.

Sometimes I look at the groups that I will probably never be invited to join again because I refuse to give up my own voice, or creativity ever again . . . but I turn and look at the people in my life who inspire me and push me and are willing to say they DON’T LIKE something I say or do, or that they disagree, or to call me on something and I know, with all my heart, that I am loved and that THIS KIND of love will never ask or allow me to be less than I really am.  I need help.  I make mistakes.  I can’t afford a crowd to tip the scales of decision on anything because misery likes company.

I have tried new things constantly.  I do things my way.  I please ME first and foremost and welcome input from others who can help me to become a better me.  I don’t want to be a clone.  I was never meant to be a clone.  And neither were you.

I have tried so hard, and will continue to do so with the grand children who are open for a relationship, to give my family the knowledge of their own strength and gifts and a belief that they are strong . .. their roots, as well as the wings to soar beyond the known and ordinary … to be themselves.  I make it a point to try and do that with people I meet in life.  I may not have much in common with them, my gifts might be very different, the way I do things even more different, but I can love people, and support their efforts to be their best selves.  We all can.  It is a choice we get to make about who we are, how we have impacted this world, and the legacy we will leave behind.

Social Media and the Pioneers and My Out Of Control Thoughts.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE PIONEERS

You know I have said it before that Twitter is for twits and yes, I am on it, thank you very much.

Hey when my mom used to argue with my statement “everybody else is doing it,” and she would ask, “well if your friends all wanted to go jump off a cliff would you do it too?”

“Yes!”

It is better to be dead piled on top of the most popular kids in school then standing alive on the top of the cliff alone.

 Of course that was when I was 3 and still formulating my mind.  At 4 I moved on to formulating everyone else’s minds …

BUT anywho … Twitter . . . I don’t get it … except I am clear that timing is everything. We have it today because we are so darn evolved. It obviously makes much more sense today than it would have a hundred years ago. Can you see the twitter mentality back in the pioneer days? AND, it is not just Twitter, it is the whole social networking thing . . . cell phones, plurking, facebook, etc. What if the pioneers had to share every little bit of information and be entertained constantly? Grandma and Grandpa would have been trudging through the snow in their barefeet uphill to the neighbours house 80 miles away every day so they could report, ” I just had toast with jam this morning, with Mabel and Fred,  mmmmm delish!!” I think there is some connection between frozen feet and verbal diarrhoea ’cause once those folks got together they talked about serious stuff .. for days.  That is how long it took for them to thaw their feet, and carve some wooden toes …

Imagine if someone could have posted THAT video . . .  captured the moment when they are talking about the wind coming sweepin’ down the plains and everyone started dancing?  I love historical moments like that when they celebrate them with song and dance. I think it is amazing that old movies were able to recreate those moments first in black and white and now in amazing technicolour.  But the talking thing is clearly why they have imposed a limit on how many characters you can twit and plurk today.  And we have the pioneers to blame.  They obviously looked at them talk-talk-talking every chance they could get (not to mention singing) and said “Ok, not happening here Shirley.” We can no longer hand the “talking stick” around the circle, cause the circle is the whole freaking world now and it is hard to wrestle the stick away from some of those people – they just go on and on and on.  Besides some countries don’t even allow you to bring your stick with you when you travel anyway. So brevity won.  Number of words allowed was capped.  Brevity with twitter is everything.

Keep your nothingness short and sweet.

There is no doubt about it.  The pioneers wanted to twit, they just did not have cell phones. Which is one of the reasons I think if you see a pioneer or someone who looks like Nelly Olsen  . . . you should stop and let her know what you had for your breakfast and then show her like a rerun of Gunsmoke on your cell phone. Tell her that Mark Zuckerberg loves her and play your Lone Ranger theme song ringer.  Everyone should help take care of the pioneers.  They missed out on so much.

Sometimes I like to think what their lives could have been like.  Tweets back then would have been about knitting and the cutworm infestation. We might not understand that today but it was probably pretty riveting stuff back in then. I can see those conversations being retweeted and going viral.  People would have been all over the cutworm guy. Everyone would have congregated into crowds ’cause you just can’t help yourself.  When you are on the prairies, you huddle. There would have been crowds everywhere gathered around the tweet  and they would break out in clogging and stuff.

The pioneers were not as disciplined as we are.

Today we understand the need for twitter to be crowd free. We twitter alone. In the car,  you twitter to the people in the back seat .. “anyone thirsty? I have some fruit boxes in the trunk.” At dinner we twitter to our spouse, “Don’t forget to set the garbage cans out after dinner.” In the bathroom we take our cell phones so we can be both entertained and twitter . . . all alone . . . sitting there . . . twitting . . . Pioneers would not have understood that.  Even in the outhouses they made room for a crowd and multiple seats …sans the stalls of course . The whole outhouse was one big stall.

Puppets , Pioneers would have used puppets cause they didn’t have machinima and avatars and YouTube was not invented yet. Puppets would have had to pull stupid stunts and enact impromptu ” how to’s” on how to churn butter or whittle a spoon. Wow that would have kept them entertained for hours and would have come in so handy if they could have uploaded that to share with Sven over in Wyoming. Kids, instead of being in the bedroom with their phones, watching music videos .  . . they would have to invite a travelling musical troupe in.  The fiddler would have to set up in the corner and the square dancers hold in their skirts to dosey-do around the bed, but other than that RPB (reality prairie bedroom) would have been exactly like MTV.

You can see how difficult it is to figure what came first with all this social media stuff.  It is exactly like drugs except that no-one has yet identified the gateway drug.  If we had that we could get busy with some duct tape.  Personally I think it was Miss Green’s typing class, once you hear that tap tap tapping … it like brainwashes you.

But back to how it might have been . . . the cowboys would have blocked all the Indians from their Facebook. Mrs. Olsen would clearly have been blocked by everyone in Walnut Grove, including her husband and Willy. YouTube would be filled with videos of corn growing. There’s no doubt about it, Pioneers could not have handled this important technology. It would have corrupted them and rotted their minds. There just would not have been enough time in the day for them to concentrate on important things like barn building and without all those old barns … the world would never have known coffee table books and that would have been a cultural disaster.

There are important connections in the threads that weave our present to our past, those golden threads are woven into the tapesty of our lives creating a thousand little points of shimmering light ….. it is too bad we are so naked most of the time in our present . . . I think our future is just going be point-less…. and not as shimmery …

These are all reasons they didn’t have twitter back in pioneer times. They busied themselves with milking cows, clearing the land, and beating their laundry against the rocks. The art of useless information, constant entertainment and technological wizardry was considered evil and the cause of moral and tooth decay. These people did not have time for any of it. Idle minds are the devils playgrounds and that was back in the day when they guarded their minds. Life was much simpler then because everyone was dumber than a fence post . . .  and I don’t know about you but I have never seen an unhappy fence post . . .  not ever …

Besides Valium was not even invented yet, and that definitely had to be in place before we were ready to be as super intelligentand unhappy as we are now.

It has taken decades upon decades for us to care about what each other had for breakfast, and to understand that Gilligans Island need never die as long as there are downloads and ringtones. I love progress  . . .  it speaks so highly of us all doesn’t it?

Social Media to The Extreme.

connected to the cellphone

 

Funny on one level, pathetic on another.  I hope this makes the baby album.  I hope when the child is older and completely out of control, or hating on its parents, or depressed beyond belief that this picture is pulled as evidence and that we don’t just blame society.  Life is a choice.  You make yours and you live the consequences.  Just remember you don’t live in a vacuum and while you have every right to throw your own life away, your decisions always cause collateral damage.