If you don’t read it, you can’t feel bad about it.
Today I read that an interior designer I don’t even know just got a really great project literally handed to them by a client who was just totally desperate to work with them. I mean literally, they were practically throwing money at the designer whilst sobbing at her feet and begging her to share her wondrous skills with them. This is what I read this morning and so therefore started my day by thinking I am not as good a person as this other person who I have never met and don’t really know anything about other than she’s one of life’s over sharers. In the end I did what any decent, sane person would do with this info and decided she’s probably a psycho bitch in real life. With bad hair.
Usually it happens around 9pm at night I find, after a glass or two bottles of the old vino. You have the miraculous idea of just popping on to instagroan or facefuck to just have a wee look at what’s going on and next thing you know you're obsessively devouring every status update that is available and when that’s done you’re refreshing just to check if there is anything else out there that your hungry eyes can chomp up and and fill your mind with.
This follows on in a way from my recent blog about the role of ‘compare and despair’ in our culture nowadays. We can’t stop ourselves from taking statements out of context and drawing parallels between them and our own situations. It’s madness, true ludicrosity at its core but it’s what we do. Eckhart Tolle, the author of the life saving book ‘The Power of Now’, champions the role of remaining in the present at all times in order to avoid those negative feelings that can arise from reading about the lives of others. I truly urge anyone that wants to improve their life to buy this book and give themselves the time needed to read it and come to terms with what he teaches.
I use audiobooks because real life doesn’t always allow you the time to sit down with a self help book does it? You know, what with banal bullshit of every day crap that we all have to put up with. I hear all the time about these people that claim to love nothing more that cuddling up in their big cosy armchairs with a huge mug of something warm and just ‘losing’ themselves in a great book. And then I think, I bet your husband is upstairs cross dressing and your kids out snorting poppers up an alley.
Yes my friends, I am one of lifes realists. I will not be that person that cuddles up with books and switches off because I will instead be too busy panicking about the minutiae of the most pointless aspects of my life and over analysing every part of basically anything that’s ever happened to me in no particular order but leaving no stone un-turned. I like to be comprehensive. All this whilst poor Erckhart soothingly beseeches me in the background to let go of my life story.
I am the type of person that doesn’t switch off but I am trying bit by bit to learn the power of now and how to let go of the seismic amount of baggage I carry. If you need help understanding the volume of baggage this entails then think pre-menstrual woman leaving Primark on a Saturday morning after the double motivation of recently having had a fight with her partner and maybe going on holiday soon. Yes people, my baggage is real but I’m working at dropping it piece by piece. Of course for that to happen you do need to work at not picking any other bags up along the way. And if anyone on here likes bags then they know the realness of this challenge.
This is where the idea of controlling how exposed I am to the data of other people recently came in to play. It occurred to me that It’s not likely that I will give up on social media any time soon. There are a variety of reasons for this none of which are very interesting so I’ll not bore you. I got to thinking though, most people don’t communicate what they want to say in their images really these days do they? They tend to use their images as bate to then lure you across to the text below where all of a sudden you’re smacked in the face with white noise that affirms and then reaffirms that whoever it is that has dribbled out this writing is UNDOUBTEDLY, WHOLE HEARTEDLY having a better life than you. Unless they are having a FAR WORSE life than you. What ever it is they are banging on about, it’s more than likely to leave you with an extra bag on your shoulder somehow. So here is the trick; filter what you read. Just fucking filter that shit right out. It's a simple process once you start following it and here is the recipe.
Stage 1: Read the name of the person the post is from-be mindful of how their posts have made you feel in the past
Stage 2: Look at the image. At this stage decide whether to progress. From what you know is this person a twat? Do they possess or demonstrate a twattish dendency at times? If you’re still not sure then ask yourself this - do you feel better or worse after you read this persons posts normally? At this stage you move on to stage three
Stage 3: You have one of two options. A) the person is not a twat and you can go on to read their post or B) the twattishness is strong with this one and so you skip past whatever lies/popularity quests/affirmations of how great their life is that they are likely to be vomiting up today
I cannot tell you how empowering this system is. Choosing not to let the information that others put out into your brain is the most powerful thing any person can do. We cannot control how others act but we can control what we internalise. If indeed we internalise it at all. Choosing not to allow other people to say what they want to say in this age of throw away social media is our right. But it’s one that the vast majority of us aren't aware we have. I’ve said it before, I like Instagram etc and I will always like looking at nice images but do I have to fill bags with the toxic language that normally comes underneath them and then chuck said bags on my shoulder and haul them around? No, I do not. And no, I will not.
3 steps. Who are they? Do they say things that make me feel good? Do I read the language that goes with this image? This can work in real life too incidentally. Whenever you are approached by someone just run through those three steps briefly in your head. If the result is that they are a twat then don't let their words in your ears. Consciously chose to not internalise their bullshit.
It's all very empowering I promise. Give it a shot. And remember, you are fabulous as you are. In the words of Dr Seuss, Today you are you. That is Truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.
That is your power.