I realized something important in the past couple of weeks. My actions have largely been governed by how I might be perceived or thought of by other people. I was concerned about what they might think of me or if this group or that group would approve. I was keeping “friends” on newsfeed because I didn’t want to appear as though I was unwilling to hear “the other side” of one discussion or another. I kept justifying it to myself, saying I wanted to be well-rounded, I wanted to have an open mind, I wanted to keep myself in check.
However, this was only partly true. I wanted to appear righteous in their eyes. I wanted to be approved of by people of many persuasions, politically, religious, or otherwise. I was pandering and trying to make people like me. I was succumbing to the temptation of allowing my actions to be ruled by how I might be perceived. And it was destroying me. I was stressed, depressed, angry, anxious, irritable. It was hurting me and my family. It was hurting my relationship with God. And truthfully, it was hurting those very relationships. Even now, writing this, people keep flashing through my mind and I’m instinctively choosing words that will be approved of. It’s deeply ingrained.
The only one I should be trying to please is GOD. Period. I have a wide variety of people in my actual, real, everyday life, who I discourse with. I am not someone to hold so tightly to my viewpoints that I refuse to listen to anyone who might think differently, as is evidenced by the way my views have changed in the last decade. I don’t need my Facebook feed to impress anyone. I know who I am. I know who I belong to. I know who I need to please.
I’m a people pleaser, plain and simple. I don’t want to make anyone unhappy or uncomfortable. I recognize this as a good thing in many contexts, but I also see how it can hurt me and my relationship with God, as well as my relationship with others. I don’t need to be filled with fear when I log onto my Facebook account. I don’t need to stew in anxiety over the opinions of others all for the sake of appearing well-rounded. Even now, I don’t need to write or post this to explain myself to anyone. I’m writing more to process and get my thoughts down, to work through the jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings inside of me.
I dearly love some of the people I unfriended. But the stress I was putting myself through isn’t worth the appearance of a friendship on a virtual platform. I feel freer than I have in years. I feel a huge weight off my shoulders that I can log onto my Facebook and not FEAR what I might read. I can scroll through my newsfeed without my blood pressure rising through the roof. I can actually enjoy social media again. And that, my friends, as someone who already struggles with anxiety and depression, is worth its weight in gold. I can focus on my school work, I can focus on my kids and my husband, I can actually enjoy my days instead of living in anger and dread of what I might see on the little screen of my phone or computer. To my friends who won’t read this, thank you. You were and are wonderful people. Thank you for your loving and usually kind way of speaking what you believed to be true. Thank you for the years of gently opening my mind and heart to ways of thinking that I hadn’t previously considered. However, that time in my life has come to a close for now. Instead of bringing life, it became a poison to my very soul. So I am moving on. I’m not refusing to hear other opinions, I’m simply making my social media, and therefore my entire life, a more peaceful place. That’s what I need right now. Peace be with you.