Why I’m Okay With Filtering My Life Despite My Honesty

Culture & Society, Miscellaneous Musings

SONY DSCI spend a lot of time filtering. Filtering my speech, filtering my writing, filtering my thoughts.

 

Yes, any traditional therapist would say that it’s not healthy to bottle up your feelings, that you should just spit them out (and yes, before you point out the delicate irony, I see it).

 

Knowing that employers look at your social media activity has made me vigilant about what I post online. I’d rather not run the risk of not being hired because of something I could have easily removed.

 

In that sense, I’m okay with filtering, despite my honesty policy.

 

Yes, you read that right. Here’s why I’m okay with it.

 

 

Not Everything Has to Be Immortalized On The Internet

 

In the words of Christopher Hudspeth:

 

Not every little thing your brain spews out needs to be photographed, video recorded, or written into 140 characters or less statements, and shared with the potentially permanent, inerasable abyss.”

 

This is exactly why I end up discarding half of my blog post list ideas from my Evernote file. There’s enough in society about me, me, me, and how social media is making us stupid. How would you, my lovely readers, benefit from reading about how I waited for a hour in a doctor’s office only to have him look at me for less than ten minutes?

 

You get the idea.

 

I try my best to make the personal stuff stay in the Moleskine. If I still have something to say about it once I’m through my venting/sorting through my feelings stage, that’s when I put it here.

The same goes for celebrity culture. We live in a world where we feel like we have the right to know everything about a public figure. Who they’re dating, what their workouts are, what they like, what they don’t like.

 

Sure, all of us love a good story, but there’s a line that needs to be drawn in the sand somewhere. I feel uncomfortable seeing the headlines. What people choose to do in their lives is their business, public figure or not. If they don’t want to talk about it, they won’t, if they do want to talk about it, they will. And we should respect that. They’re not obligated to tell us about their lives, just as I’m not obligated to tell you about mine.

 

Face-to-Face Interactions Are So Much Better

 

We’ve all seen “Look Up,” that viral spoken word piece on YouTube, haven’t we? When you’re interacting someone one on one, there’s so much more depth to the conversation. You hear the inflections in their voices, pick up on social cues…the list goes on and on. Little things like that can change the nature of a conversation.

Sometimes we can share a little too much information on the Internet; sometimes we’re not even conscious of it. But face-to-face interactions force you to filter out things depending on the circumstances. You have to be able to take responsibility for what you say. Once you share something with the Internet, you can’t take it back.

Okay, you can’t take words back after you say them, but over time, people may forget what you said. What we remember is how we feel.

I would rather feel better going with my gut and filtering a little if I feel like I want to or have to rather than spilling my guts and trying to clean up afterwards, wouldn’t you?

 

How do you feel about filtering your emotions? How do you deal with your feelings about it?

Image Credit: Gratisography

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How To Turn Your Pain Into Power (And 3 Little Things To Know Before You Do)

Culture & Society, Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

Lockets

How many personal social media accounts do you own?

1?

2?

3?

(Or better yet, 0?)

My inner communications major has never been a huge fan of social media. I mean the term “privacy” has gone out the window, the word “friend” is a verb (how weird is that?) and don’t even get me started on cyber-bullying.

On the plus side, social media has given birth to a whole wealth of jobs. It also lets people communicate with their loved ones and friends using something that’s a lot faster than email.

They can be really helpful if you use them right, but they can also bring a lot of pain.

Everyone goes through pain. Sure, other people around you might have gone through similar issues, dealt with them in different ways, but everyone goes through it. No one got anywhere zooming around a real-life Monopoly board collecting $200 every time they passed Go.

Yes, it’s scary as heck, but people relate to vulnerability.

The girl I was a year ago would have looked at the person I am now and thought I was on some kind of drug for saying that. She would have thought I was crazy for starting a blog.

At the time, I thought blogs were reserved for companies and people like Perez Hilton.

I wasn’t the CEO of a billion dollar company, and I had no interest in which celebrity was dating who. All I wanted to do was find a job.

Therefore, I had no interest in starting a blog. Who would want to read about my daily woes anyway?

Then a friend asked me 2 questions:

“What do YOU offer the world? Where can you share your experiences and stories to help other people feel like they aren’t alone in their own experience?”

That made me realize that I could help other people by sharing my story. So I bit the bullet and claimed a WordPress account.

When I shared my story back in November on my blog, I remember my fingers shaking as I went to press the Publish button. I was staring at the cursor for a long time, listening to the battle in my head.

“Yes.”

“No.”
“DO IT”.

“DON’T do it.”

“You’ve already come this far, just hit the big blue button.”

“Are you crazy?!”

“Yes, little voice in my head, I heard you.”

“No, no, no, no.”

“Do not press that blue button. I repeat. DO NOT PRESS IT.”

“Too late.”

“OK fine.”

I spent the next 48 hours wondering what ungodly power possessed me to a) start a blog and b) share the most painful part of my past with the Internet.

But then I realized something.

I was free.

That post gave me freedom. There was nothing to hide from anyone anymore. It was already out there.

There were no likes on the post, no comments, but I didn’t care. Setting myself free was a greater gift than the fleeting stab of joy we all get when we see a little notification on our social media networks.

A few months later, I got a message from a college friend, who told me that they really related to what I had already written, and found it extremely helpful. They encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing.

Cue the waterworks. Knowing that I helped this person was better than the feeling I got walking across the stage at my university’s commencement ceremony.

Fast forward to now.

I’m still chugging along, struggling to figure out my issues. I forget to meditate sometimes. I can’t tell you that I haven’t thought about going back to my not-so-happy place.

But I know better now. That little Facebook message made me realize a few things:

1.    Putting Yourself Out There Can Be A Good Thing

Yes, it’s scary as hell, and you’re going to want to turn back because sharing your pain is…well…scary. But even if you aren’t a celebrity with thousands of Twitter followers that sing your praises, being vulnerable allows you to connect with people. You may not be finding the cure to cancer, but your story can help someone in some way.

2.    The Little Things Matter

Have you been bullied? Than you know how powerful words can be. Sometimes all it takes is one little thing to turn your day upside down. By the same token, it could be the smallest thing that makes your day magical.

It could be:

  • A conversation with a friend.
  • A kind email from a supervisor.
  • A smile.

Some of us live in places where we learn to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Some of us spend hours worrying about what we look like and starving ourselves when there are children (and adults) out there who eat out of trash cans to survive. There are those of us who take our education for granted when there are people who can’t even complete middle school.

I’m not trying to say that we should all volunteer abroad (although that is really high on my bucket list). The important thing is to recognize that the littlest things can make a big difference. YOU have the power to inspire others, to make someone’s day. Why not embrace that?

3.    Take Your Time

Have you ever rushed through something? What happened afterward? Were you happy with the result, or did you want to go back and do it again?

OK, maybe you’re that person who can pull really amazing things off at the last second, but in my experience, I generally felt like I’d cheated myself out of a job well done.

Sharing your story with the world is no different.

You don’t have to disclose everything once the floodgates open.

You have the power to choose what you put out there into the world. If you’re not ready to disclose certain things when people ask you, don’t.  

Honor yourself instead for your courage and the boundaries you set. Honor yourself for how far you’ve come. Sure you may not be Demi Lovato, but your story can have an impact that is just as powerful.

I’m going to say that again just in case you didn’t get that.

Your story matters.

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So be the warrior you know is inside you. Do not fear change, because your story could change someone for the better.

What can YOU offer the world?

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