Your lens on Facebook
I want you to think about the last time you scrolled through your ‘news feed’ on Facebook. If you’re not a frequent viewer, do me a favor and look at it now before reading any further. For the purpose of this blog, I’d like you consider the following questions.
Did you find yourself comparing your current circumstances to those of your friends?
Did you find yourself judging other posts based on their content?
Did you happen to notice any thoughts of self-sabotage, such as “Why don’t I have that?” or “They seem to have it all together, what’s wrong with me?”
While most of us would probably agree that Facebook and other social media sites have provided an effective platform for meaningful connection, the hidden dangers of these sites can prove to be quite costly. Perhaps the biggest cost is one that often goes unnoticed; it’s the emotional impact of the various posts we read.
Below is a fictitious story designed to help you understand this emotional impact.
Sally just returned home from a very productive day at work and is feeling quite happy. That is until she sits down and pulls up her Facebook news feed. The very first post she sees is written by a high school friend who is announcing a recent promotion to Vice President of Sales for her national company. Without even really noticing, Sally’s happiness has quickly transformed into an intense jealousy. She starts to question why she is still in the same position at her company despite a track record of outstanding performance reviews and countless 50-hour work weeks. The rest of her night is immersed in thought circles of self-sabotage and doubt. The dinner she had planned to surprise her husband with is a distant memory.
Can you relate?
Each time we sit down to view our Facebook, or any other form of communication, we do so with a lens (or filter) that helps us make sense of what we are reading. If we’re not aware of the lens we are using, it’s easy to default to what I call the powerless lens. In Sally’s case, because she chose to view her friend’s post through a powerless lens, the end result was jealousy. In other words, she gave her power (or happiness) away to the post.
Watch what happens when Sally looks at the same post, but this time she is armed with an awareness of her lens.
Sally just returned home from a very productive day at work and she is feeling quite happy. She sits down to view her Facebook news feed and declares to herself that she will not give her power away to any of the posts she reads. The first story she sees is that of a high school friend who is sharing her recent promotion to Vice President. Noticing her thoughts gravitating toward self-doubt, she quickly replaces this powerless lens with a curious/creative lens. She sees an opportunity to reconnect with this friend and learn more about her path, perhaps gleaning some helpful information for her own journey. After making a delicious dinner for her husband, she decides to call her friend.
Consider the following statement the next time you look at your news feed – The lens through which you view Facebook will greatly affect your mood. Choose powerfully!