As social media becomes a bigger and bigger aspect of so many of our lives, it is of utmost importance that we remain very self-aware when using it. While some people become quite open and enthused from the experience, a recent study led by two universities in Germany found that many individuals actually feel diminished after visiting Facebook. To me, this points to one of two choices for a self-loving individual:
1) Choose to limit or completely refrain from social media as the subsequent drop in energy resulting from negative feelings is NEVER worth a romp with Facebook friends, or anyone else for that matter. OR...
2) Choose to utilize social media very consciously as the perfect opportunity for some good ole self-exploration.
The more conscious we become, the more we learn to "trust the triggers" as opportunities for personal growth. One of my favorite self-created Burnside slogans is "GROW is Me rather than WOE is Me." (Yes, that's a visual cue in our kitchen.)
Outside triggers—exterior pricks creating emotional pain—point to an unhealed, often subconscious wound within our own psyche that is ready to be cleared. The external world offers us endless opportunities to FREE ourselves from our own past. Seen in this light, social media is just the ramped up juice that we have been waiting for to bring many of our hidden shadows to the surface for healing so that we can get on with living from our SOUL rather than from our wounded ego.
If you are one who often finds yourself envious, angry, sad, judgmental and generally unhappy after a visit with your cyber friends, then I suggest coming at social media from a totally new perspective. Get yourself a notebook, a pen, and an open heart, and each time you go on a site such as Facebook, COMMIT to using it as a vehicle for growth.
When you read a post and feel in your body—heart, stomach, throat—a tightening, make a note of it. Write down the post (trigger). Record how it made you feel. Begin to recognize the patterns. This notebook represents your inner work for the week. It becomes your job, if fully committed to personal truth and evolution, to work with what has now been exposed within your own interior.
Quickly, for most of us, it becomes quite apparent that our angst has absolutely nothing to do with the individual who posted. It becomes obvious that our diminishment is not about his vacation or her promotion or his disagreeable political view. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with OUR emotional landscape. If we are pricked by it, then it is ours to own and uncover all the way down to its root.
Most roots stem from early childhood and have to do with universal human themes such as I am not good enough. For some, it is enough to simply shed light on the theme and train ourselves to recognize it and let go of it the minute we feel it coming on. For others, the work of releasing a life theme, while absolutely worth it, may be more laborious with outside help needed.
For me, on Facebook, the powerful pricks for personal growth have had nothing to do with viewing other's vacations or happy family photos or gatherings where I have not been included. Where I have been plugged in and triggered, and now looked at long and hard through the personal awareness lens, has had to do with others in my field whose work is very closely related to mine. Upon seeing their success, at times, I have felt diminished, not in the sense that I desire my work to unfold in exactly the same way, but rather due to their success, I observe within me a subtle, thread of self-doubt wondering, "Can I do it? Am I brave enough to keep shining my light? Am I willing to offer myself to the world in a big way, too? Will the opportunities arise in my work, like in their's, for me to do so? ".
All I can say is that it has been liberating, and in an odd way, a JOY to look at this "delicious" trigger (and so many, many others in different arenas) with vigor from different angles including my past, present and future. Once owned, the choice to simply LOVE ANYWAY—both ourselves and the one who "initiated' the external prick—actually becomes a viable choice rather than an unattainable spiritual tenet.
Social media—Facebook Frenzy— is certainly not going anywhere, and it is always our choice, in this and all things, to partake or to pass. If we choose to pass, hopefully it is not because we are afraid to look too closely at ourselves, but simply because we truly are not drawn to this particular medium of interaction. And if we do choose to participate, then I highly recommend being very open to using it rather than allowing it to use you as an unprecedented vehicle to know thyself deeper and wider.