Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin
It’s a modern age, and one that involves a modern definition of “friends.” We “befriended” in my day. Now we simply “friend” or “unfriend” given the circumstances, and our list of friends can include anyone from our grade school teacher to the guy who fixes our car. Social media has expanded our network to the point of bursting, and I have noticed a number of trends occurring in the process.
We share a lot of information with a lot of people; we sometimes say things that should be left unsaid; we vent frustrations, flirt, have public arguments, and sometimes cast judgements. But there’s also another trend that happens that gives me cause for thanks, and that’s support. Bad news travels fast through social media, and prayer requests often elicit an instant response. Whether you have religious leanings or not, there’s a big collective hug that goes out when people feel frustrated, sorrowful, or alone. I like that, personally. I like it a lot. In fact, I like it so much that I think the only feature missing on Facebook (FB) is the ability to friend yourself.
I speak to people all the time who struggle with their own personal frustrations, humiliations, judgements, and internal dialogue. I struggle with these things at times as well – who doesn’t – but I’ve gotten a lot better at messaging myself when I need a shoulder to lean on instead of my previous approach of berating within an inch of my life. It takes practice though, and you definitely have to be interactive.
FB aside, I believe we can “friend” ourselves. What’s required is making an effort to read the posts/signs on the wall, poking ourselves on occasion to draw attention to what’s needed, liking the internal comments that bring us strength, and deleting the ones that pull us down. It means forgiving our program limitations when we make mistakes and scrolling through the bullshit that doesn’t warrant attention.
Essentially, if we put as much effort into maintaining a supportive relationship with ourselves as we do the 500 or so acquaintances we have on FB, we’d all be a lot better off.