Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Good for you, Good for Them, Good for the World

Wedding Rings. One of the fastest ways to destroy a marriage is to fight on Facebook. If it's not good for you, and it's not good for your marriage, don't do it. Photo by Musaromana.

For those of you who do not know, Facebook is a social media network. I joined six or seven years ago on the advice of my children so I could communicate with them and their friends more often--my children are married with children of their own and still have the same friends they did in elementary school, and now, they are my friends, too. 

My parents are on Facebook, all of my children, their in-laws, their friends, my friends--I now feel more connected with family and friends through Facebook than I have felt my entire life.

When Social Media is NOT Good for you...

However, there are two hidden dangers in this connection--comfort and strangers. Strange to think comfort would be a danger? Not with social media. 

Along with adding friends and family, you quickly learn how easy it is to add strangers. Eventually, these strangers become very good friends...or they don't. I honestly do not see how anyone can be "very good friends" with 350 Facebook friends! Inviting strangers into your personal world is a risk, it is dangerous if we discuss too much of our personal lives, especially disagreements. 

Which brings me to hidden danger number two: Comfort. One of the first things I noticed about Facebook was how comfortable people seemed to be talking about their personal lives. I am referring to people who talk poorly about their spouses or children on Facebook. 

I have seen/read fights that lasted for days between family members who were all friends with me and friends with each other on Facebook, and some of these people had 300 friends on their page from work, school, family, and all of these friends read every word of these arguments, and if these friends do not have their page set up properly, all of their friends saw these arguments, and so on and so on. You do the math--it frightens me! 

When I joined, I made a promise to myself that I would never speak poorly of a family member or friend on Facebook. Sometimes I am temperamental. Sometimes I say things I do not mean. I have deleted many comments immediately after making them. I have deleted friends for consistently being mean to me or others.

Good for you! 

My point is, if it isn't good for me, I shouldn't do it. If it is bad for me, bad for my family, my friends, the people I love, I shouldn't say it, do it, post it. 

I wish I could say this to some of my friends without sounding judgmental. I wish I could stop them in the middle of a fight and say, "Hey! Your 300 game friends, 100 school friends and 50 family members are all reading this every personal argument between you and your husband! This is not good for you! This is not good for your marriage!" 

But, this is not my business, either. All I can do is keep in mind that programs like Facebook--as much as they might feel like home while we're talking to our friends and family and posting photos of our children--are public, not private. Just about as public as you can get!

No judgment here, just advice...

So yes, I will offer this advice: If it's not good for you, perhaps you should not join. Or perhaps you should un-join. If it's not good for your relationships, friendships, children, then why are you doing it? Yes, it can be fun, but it can also be addicting, and addictions are not good for you. Yes, the games are fun, too, but the more people you add to play games, that's more people who will read and know everything about your personal life. 

Personal is private, and disagreements with someone you love should always be private. When they become public--especially to 300 people--it is nearly impossible to heal the pain. 

We all say things we regret later, some of us more often than others, and we all have times when we need to apologize to those we love, but if we say those hurtful words in front of an audience, the pain we've caused intensifies. It becomes embarrassment, public humiliation, and perhaps could even be considered abuse depending on the situation. 

"Corazon" by Ilhh. Public domain.

I'm not a marriage therapist. I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm a wife, mother, stepmother, a grandmother, and a friend, and I don't see these roles as work, but if I did refer to them as jobs I would say, from my heart, that they are the most important jobs I will ever have. 

Our children and grandchildren are the future of this world. If we teach them peace, honor, compassion, kindness and love, this is what they will continue to bring to this world long after we are gone. It is our legacy. They are our legacy.

This Train we Call Life

My grandmother told me once that families are like trains and each generation should be better than the last, improving in every way, growing in strength and positive energy sent out into the world as each generation moves closer to the engine, the ultimate source of power in this train we call life.

Train outside Eaton, Colorado. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

We can teach our children, grandchildren, and other family members to speak and act with compassion, kindness and love--through example--so they can teach the same to their families and each generation will serve to build a better world. Yes, we can. 

My grandchildren, Eli and Layla, waiting for the train.

"But wait," you might say to me, "That engine driving this world can be good or bad!" As each generation in my family moves closer to that engine, I want to make sure that it is better than the last. That is not to say my ancestors were bad, but that I want every member of my family to continue to add positive energy to the world, and the only way I can assist in this movement is by watching my words, to make good comments, positive, loving, compassionate comments. Good for me. Good for them. Good for the world. We can choose to send positive energy to drive that train! 
Some Things Last Forever

The words I speak and have spoken will affect my relationships with my family for the rest of their lives, including the apologies I make. I must tread carefully, making sure that my words and actions always express my love to the best of my ability, and if they don't, I must make sure that I make amends. If my words and actions are broadcast in front of 300 people, that becomes almost impossible...and that is why, as I said before, I promised myself that I would never speak poorly of a family or friend on Facebook, or any other social media. If it's not good for you, it's not good for them. Don't do it. If you can't stop, then opt out of social media. It is that simple. 

If someone told me I had the chance to offer one piece of advice to all of my friends and family, that would be it--be kind to your family and friends on social media. Do not air your dirty laundry in public because it leaves a stain that you will never wash out. 


Comley Charlotte said...

A really empowering post, thanks so much. So nice to connect and follow http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

Corinne Rodrigues said...

So right, Darla. I'm learning to block out the negative folk too.
You are truly wise! ♥

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Thank you, Charlotte!

And Corrine, it is difficult to block out the negative. I try to keep in mind that we all have our struggles. When it comes to social media, though, I think it's equally important to learn to keep those personal struggles offline. Trying to heal the wounds of a disagreement is far more difficult when that disagreement is made public.

Thank you both so much for reading my blog!

Maria Dunn said...

Great article. I like the way you format your blog posts. "Good for you, Good for them, Good for the world" and Good advice. Enjoy the A to Z challenge. Maria from Delight Directed Living

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Thank you, Maria, and thanks for stopping by!