Ever have trouble STOPPING yourself from checking the social media accounts of people who drive you absolutely CRAZY? I have.
Lots of people do have trouble with that. Even if we don’t want to admit it.
There just seems to be a part of us that REALLY, REALLY wants to know what those people are saying.
Sometimes it’s because they might be saying personal about us, either directly or indirectly.
Sometimes its’s because they might be saying things that our brain tells us HAVE to be responded to or debunked.
Sometimes we just check the social media of people we hate just to remind ourselves of what NOT to be, think, or do.
Either way: the time and emotional energy we spend checking the social media of people we hate, is time and energy we’re NOT getting back.
Very rarely is it time and energy we’re GLAD we invested.
It’s absolutely the case that sometimes people post defamatory or untrue things on social media, and sometimes it’s necessary to monitor and either report or rebut them.
But it’s also the case that, often, it doesn’t particularly matter what we say in rebuttal, or whether we report them— it won’t affect their behavior.
(In fact, it’s sometimes the case that when we DO respond heatedly to someone’s posts, they consider that a victory of sorts— they’ve coerced a reaction out of us.)
Believe me, I know: it’s really, really hard to let someone be wrong or mean on the internet.
Even if we make the resolution that we’re not going to provide them with the satisfaction of a response, we very often continue to struggle with not checking their social media to see what untrue, unfair thing they’ve said THIS time.
Checking and rechecking the social media of people we hate can consume HUGE chunks of our time and attention in a day— more than many of us appreciate.
And I can tell you from personal experience that purposefully exposing ourselves to the posts of people who have NOTHING constructive to contribute to our lives is absolute POISON for our recovery from depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma.
Learning to leave certain social media accounts alone is a major, very necessary, steppingstone goal for many of us in recovery.
But, like all habits we’re trying to quit, it doesn’t work just to tell ourselves, “don’t do that.”
We need a plan.
We need to identify when we’re most at risk for checking the social media of people we hate.
We need to identify what thoughts, feelings, and events make us more likely to check their social media.
And we need a plan for what to do INSTEAD of checking those social media accounts— even when we really WANT to scratch that itch.
We need to figure out what support we need in order to keep us from checking those accounts. Who can we call or text or message instead? Who will remind us of our commitment to stay “clean?”
We need to set realistic goals for ourselves in reducing the behavior. If we check those toxic social media accounts twenty times a day, maybe our first goal is to check them fifteen times today. Or maybe only check three of the five we usually check. Or maybe only check them at certain times, for a certain amount of time— that we subsequently start reducing, day by day.
Social media can be an extraordinary tool.
But, much like any other tool— much like a hammer— it can either help us build something, or it can injure us.
Anyone reading this, probably found me on social media. I like social media. It think it has way more upside than downside.
Which is why we have to take REALLY seriously the impact it has on our emotional and behavioral health.