By Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW
Yeah, I’m absolutely one of those jerks on Facebook who is always posting about my wonderful life. You secretly hate me. Admit it.
I post about going running, playing with my dogs, having fun with my kid who always seems to have a great sense of humour, oh, and gratuitous memes.
What you don’t know is that these posts are deliberate. And no, they are not meant to make you feel bad about yourself. In fact, I hope that some of the things I share actually help you along your way, because it is important to me that the newsfeed you see every day is filled with a few more things that make you laugh, make you reflect, or make you feel like you know me well enough to reach out and connect without fearing that I would reject you.
Because I won’t.
What I don’t post about are the dark days when I feel like a complete failure. That run that I posted about? That was one single attempt over the course of about one year, since every other opportunity to go was ruined by my kid (the incessant dawdler who would rather punish me for making him cry than just get his damn boots on), my dogs (who tear something valuable to shreds if I leave them alone for half a minute), or myself (IamsotiredwhydoIdothesethings).
Apart from the standard everyday complaints I have about my own ability to keep up with basic “adulting” tasks (who knew that you actually need to clean a fridge sometimes?), there are days when I feel completely and utterly alone. Isolated. Like nothing is worth it, I’m never going to get ahead, and life is just meaningless.
But I do not post about that.
Having been a Facebook veteran, class of ’07, I’ve been around long enough to know that bad feelings pass and those negative downer posts soon lose all meaning and cause people to form negative opinions about you. In fact, they can cause you to feel even worse about yourself. When you get bored of the Newsfeed and scroll through your own posting history, what kind of story does your life tell? Do you even feel the same way anymore, or have you come to regret vague-posting about that person who offended you that is now your friend?
Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool if you use it well. Instead of leaving a history of negativity, create memories that you can scroll through during those dark days to remind you of the wonderful things you have done, the people who have been in your life, the little things that made you smile, and even the funniest puns you swore you’d never laugh out loud about.
Purposeful posting means choosing to focus on the good things, and having a solid record of all those good things that you can go back to when things aren’t going so well. Negative feelings will pass. So choose to preserve the good feelings whenever you can.
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