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The Real Dare
I admit it: I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. There are the obvious positives such as delightful re-connection with old, old friends or classmates, and the ability to share pictures and videos with ease. I happen to like some of the inspirational or motivational quotes, although I know these are not for everyone. All of this good stuff can contribute to our feeling less isolated, more entertained, and perhaps more inspired or informed, too. And look at how much the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised for ALS research! To quote one of my sister’s favorite exclamations: Awesome!
But here is what is problematic about Facebook: 1) It can consume a fair amount of time, and that is time lost for creative, reflective, or restful activities; 2) It can resurrect old popularity contest issues that at least some of us dealt with when we were younger (with laments such as “Why is no one commenting on, or liking my post/photo/share?” or “Why does so-and-so have so many more friends than such-and-such?”); and 3) There is subtle pressure to report just the upside of our lives. I both love the trending challenge to share gratitude, and hate it. It is fairly well documented that cultivation of an attitude of gratitude is good for us. In fact, I am the first to recommend this practice to anyone who does not already do it. However, I fear this sends an unfortunate message to those who are suffering, be it physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually. Without saying it explicitly, are we asking that people just focus on the good and keep the bad to themselves? I do not think this is healthy.
Rebel that I am, I fantasize about starting a new kind of challenge, and not just at Facebook. I might call it the Real Dare. I dare each of us to be more real about both the ups and downs of our lives. This goes back to an old topic I have written about before: congruence. More access to gratitude can change a life or an outlook, dramatically. But I also would feel more comfortable (and sane) if others would acknowledge their challenges as well as their triumphs. Dare ya!
I Will Take the Plunge
Instead of constructing a fictitious example, I will take the Real Dare and share this mixture of light and dark: At least a handful of people in my life have physical or emotional health issues that are a big concern to me right now. I am still grieving the loss of my sister last year, and my brother, father and mother who died before her. I, like everyone else, have my dark moments. That said, I am still grateful for my good health, for all sorts of healers who have made a difference in my life, including some who do not even know they have had a healing effect, and yes, even for Facebook (wink, wink!). Thank you, OOAL reader, for sharing this joy journey.
This “Like” Business
If you are someone’s Facebook friend, and if they take the Real Dare to share a more balanced picture of what is going on in their lives, go ahead and “like” the heck out of that, even if it might seem as if you are saying that you like the fact that this person is facing challenges! Until Facebook comes up with another word or icon to click, such as “empathize,” or a heart or hug emoticon, “like” will have to do. For some, those “likes” might mean everything, or bring a smile.
If you hear about someone’s upsets or issues elsewhere, why not simply say “that must be very hard,” rather than forcing the person to focus on something positive. Meet ‘em where they are.
Your September 2014 Prompts for Joy
Click here to see how two singers poked fun at Facebook.
Click here for a glimpse at the burdens and joys all of us carry.
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT · 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ·