Facebook- Why it's good, Why it's not so good, and how to enjoy it! (my little peptalk for myself)

So, I took a long enough break to feel like I completely shattered my facebook addiction (you know where you login on accident over and over and have to go back and shut it down again over and over)... And I hadn't really thought about it... but I do miss some aspects of the social media site that is responsible for mommy wars explosions day in and day out...

So here's a list!


One: I never get to see people any more. I'm driving kids to school and back and trying to keep up with the demands from their little adorable faces while also hoping to maintain a marriage and a home and a friendship or two on the side... It leads to a lot of "I wonder what they are up to." Facebook solves that problem. I know now! I get to see adorable babies and marriages and life events and FOOD and I love that!

Two: I get to support people through things I've been through. I get to connect with people and talk to them about the difficulties that I don't share with very many others. And they get to support me. That's not usually something people mention, but facebook is a great support group when you have a group of supportive people on it.

Three: I get to read articles that other people find interesting- or laugh at things they find funny. I get to know them more, and sometimes more than I would in public because of my unusually high amounts of social anxiety. I get a laugh without much effort, and that's nice. Don't take that for granted.

Four: I get to donate to people's personal causes. It's so much better of a feeling to give to those you know personally who could use extra help to get through challenging times. It's so much better. I know how much it helps because we received help with multiple funerals, including Gabe's, as well as Marty's. Sometimes it's overwhelming how many people need help, but when it comes down to it, giving will always give more to the giver than the receiver. Helping people because it's the kind thing to do? Totally underrated. It's amazing for our hearts, minds, souls and bodies to give of ourselves freely.

Five: Reminders. Facebook serves so many reminders of what I have going for me. I feel defeated, and facebook reminds me that my crisis is so much less huge than it feels. And that there is still a reason to smile despite circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes people post HARSH messages, and I take them to heart- even when its hard. It reminds me that I am more than able to do what feels impossible.

Six: Giveaways! Who doesn't enjoy the fun of a free giveaway? I have several friends who have won them and it's always lovely to see their reactions!

Seven: Facebook makes me look into my kids sweet faces a little longer and try to capture it on photo. It's true. It reminds me to appreciate my little ones, when they aren't in that insane fit throwing zone where everything is falling to pieces because they don't want to wear THAT coat or put on THOSE shoes. A few minutes later, I see their sweet round faces and sparkly eyes and realize... they are still totally worth the challenges they bring. Let me capture the proof. ;P

Eight: Family. My family is big, complicated and so beautiful. Each one of them, with their issues, is more beautiful than I can convey in words. They are more than a story. They are many stories, spread out far and wide... and through facebook I get to see into them more than I would ever get to in real life. I suppose this is the same as some aforementioned numbers... but family deserves it's own number.

Nine: I get to laugh it off. I get to have intelligent conversations with other stubborn opinionated individuals, and I get to learn from their viewpoint and sometimes I even get to help them change theirs or they get to change mine. Now that's a book worth reading. And if all goes poorly, I get to laugh it off and move along.

Ten: I get to delete people who I need to delete. The people who are pulling me down, the people who are tearing me down, I get to remove them and say to myself... that relationship isn't healthy. It's time to let go and move on. Of course, this isn't my first move when a friendship is going downhill, but its a good way to solidify an end to a friendship that needed to end.

---- Cons ----

One: I have a hard time scrolling when I see things that are rude or offensive to me. But I can. I'm stubborn enough to leave it alone. So the negative is, I have to ignore people who love drama. And that's hard because I love the majority of people I meet (even the angry ones) and really enjoy having intelligent conversations... but I have to accept, as we all do, that most people want to fight, not discuss. And that's not something we need to waste our time doing. (pep talk)

Two: IT HURTS! Facebook is full of real people who know how to hit you where they want to... They do, sometimes. As a sensitive person who wears my heart on my metaphorical sleeves, it's hard to recover from that sometimes. So, you can't be too vulnerable on FB.

Three: It's devastating sometimes. I am a bleeding heart, and I cry over other people's problems. So, when I fall in love with a kid and pray for them and we lose them... I feel devastation on a personal level. It's probably my dramatic personality, I suppose, that leaves me unable to like pages of ill kiddos. Not to mention that I relive a lot of unpleasant experiences when I see their photos. So I have to hide myself from many devastating situations... because I get too emotionally involved. So to those of you who couldn't follow Gabe's story because it hurt too much... I get that. I really do.

Four: People stop asking you questions. People see your kids on facebook and hear about you that way, so they don't reach out to you anymore. So I will see someone I haven't heard from in years and they would know what I was up to and I had no idea the opposite since they didn't post information online... SO, I take this from that... Don't give out personal info on facebook for free. Make people message you and make people have to show you some effort. Do the same in return. If you see someones photo and think about them, comment! Tell them you are thinking about them so that when you run into public they KNOW you've been thought of before you start rattling off all the information you already know about them when you've never said one word. That's the creepy part of the internet information access days. It really is.

Five: People judge you. They do. It's okay, that's on them, not you, but they will. So you have to post everything realizing that you have an 'audience' that may or may not be offended by what you are posting. HOWEVER, if you are secure and confident in yourself, you probably don't really mind that, I expect! ;) Me, however, I worry. I worry about lots of ridiculous stuff, including how people feel about how I treat them and what I say. It's exhausting to worry this much, yes, but I like to think that it's a positive quality to have, as I think of others all the time, and usually I see a lot of the opposite going on. So, let people judge you, expect it, and if they aren't nice, let it go. They can accept you or not, but judging only reveals the heart of the judge.

Six: Paranoia. I was in a facebook group a long while ago that was kind of intense with paranoia. End of days kind of paranoia. So I started getting freaked out. And I left the group. You have to know when to walk away from things that effect you negatively. I'm already a worrier, as mentioned before, and I have to nip these situations in the bud. I miss the people, but sometimes you have to know when something is healthy and when it's becoming a stress.

Seven: People aren't as compassionate as you. This is a big girl kind of a statement for me to say. I'm very interested in compassion, I think it's the most ignored value in kids and adults. I've been thankful that my son can be EXTREMELY compassionate at times, and I've seen him prove it to me by writing me love notes when I'm having a hard day or making 'lunch' when he feels I've been overworked. However, he doesn't quite realize this yet, but there are a lot of very bitter people in the world who have little compassion for one another. Well, he might not ever realize this, because it goes over his adorable little busy, intelligent head because social cues aren't his forte... but there are a lot of cruel, unkind, unfeeling, hurtful, less-than-thoughtful people in the world. I think all of them love facebook. So that part makes facebook a little bit less safe.

I like to think I was raised well, by a Mom who often repeated quotes to us to make us think. "Treat others the way you want to be treated.", was a big one. And I can only hope it's a lesson I will continue to learn as I grow old and watch my children develop into adults.

So, take this away.

Facebook is a great tool. A great, dangerous, sometimes callous, a little bizarre and in your face kind of a tool that you can use to connect with others, but you have to be careful what you share, who you share with and how much of it you share. The world isn't what it was before facebook, and there are upsides and downsides to that.

So be careful, be kind, be loving, be compassionate and go forth and connect with people!


Kim said...

I was checking up on some old friends when I remembered reading a comment you posted years ago on their daughter's HLHS blog. And I was compelled to find you. I don't know you at all, I've never met you, but your blog has changed my life and left me speechless. And I've decided that you must be the best mom in the world. I wanted to let you know that your words, your story, and Gabe's legacy are reaching people you'd never even imagine. Your family is beautiful and brave, and my prayers are with you.

Julia McAllister said...

This means the world to me. Thank you so much for reaching out! I'm very flawed, I assure you... but thank you for your kind words. I deeply appreciate it! Bless you!

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