Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

When the Newsfeed is Bad News

on March 13, 2014
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Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As I have mentioned previously, I am a woman en route to fulfilling her dream(s). This week, however, I felt like chucking it all and running back to a life of predictable ordinariness and the safety of a steady paycheck. Partly because I am working hard and need more sleep. Mostly, though, I find myself feeling discouraged by some of the posts that appear in my Facebook newsfeed.

I am not a hater. Really, I’m not. I rejoice with those who rejoice. But sometimes, with some people, and some subjects, the onslaught of self-made commercials advertising a person’s greatness and goodness is too much for me. Such consistent cheerleading taints my vision and causes my own life and accomplishments to appear insignificant to me.

Anne Lamott, a brilliant essayist, described the situation perfectly in her book Bird by Bird, when she recounted how a fellow writer friend would call periodically to discuss her own work; which piece she’d just gotten published, the size of the advance on her book, or some other writing triumph. Annie was the single mother of little Sam around the time of her friend’s big book advance, and her writing career was blossoming at a much slower pace. Also, Annie and Sam were poor, and her friend knew it. When she ended the call about the book advance, Annie decided that, for the sake of her mental health, it would be better if she did not talk to this friend anymore.

And so she didn’t.

This past week I wanted to run away from my new life because I just don’t seem to be encountering the successes that others seem to be encountering. I felt like my dreams would never come true. But then I realized a few things.

1) I would probably feel differently when I caught up on my sleep.

2) “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I heard someone say these words this week. It reminded me to stop comparing my life to others’. My eyes have to stay focused on my own journey and the wonderful things I can be grateful the Lord is doing in my life.

3) Just because a “friend” likes to broadcast the highlight reel of their life doesn’t mean I have to tune in to the broadcast. Like Anne Lamott, for the sake of my mental health — which is quite fragile as I navigate this unchartered journey I am on — it might be better for me not to hear from this friend for a while. So I blocked my friend from my newsfeed.

Is this a “single’s” thing?  Is this a “woman” thing? Is this a thing at all? How do you manage a friend’s loud successes?

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2 responses to “When the Newsfeed is Bad News

  1. Carole Brown says:

    I’m a private person–basically. I will share occasionally some very important, exciting news of my own life, but I always try to give thanks to those who stood w/by me and those who’ve supported me. (NO man’s an island thing). Those who are too obnoxiously in your face w/promotion, etc., I delete posts and ignore as much as politely possible. Too much stress there, and I surely don’t need that! Great post.

  2. I can relate to this post in so many ways. It’s hard sometimes between the self promotion and the bad news about how awful our country is right now. I find myself not wanting to even look at Facebook at times. It seems one of the bad things about social media is that with a lot of people we see all the good while they hide the hard parts of their lives and with others it’s only the hard stuff and no good. There definitely needs to be balance, but since we’re often bombarded with “look how good my life is” it’s easy to think ours pales in comparison.

    Don’t give up on your dreams.

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