Voices scream out of glass screens. Clamoring. Arguing. Demanding to be heard. Facts, half-truths, blatant lies? It depends on who you ask, but you needn’t bother. They’ll gladly tell. Why you’re wrong, why they’re right, why you should go to sleep afraid tonight. Never listening, always speaking, and in fear, in the certainty of righteousness, we pull ourselves open to hear more, be more, consume more until we fray apart. But there is truth in silence, in time and contemplation, in the shaping of the years. And if we wish to be heard, perhaps we should listen to ourselves.
Social media has been on my mind lately. Not because I am using it, but because I am actively trying to avoid it. While I don’t have anything against social media in general, the constant barrage of information in conjunction with all the additional stressors right now has taken a toll on my mental health. Writing with pencil and paper instead of on my phone and limiting screen time has helped me take an emotional deep breath and improve my creativity (i.e. it feels easier to create).
Social media is such a great place for communication, and I am grateful for the ease with which we can stay in contact, especially in times like these when we are worrying about our friends and family, but we have to realize that these types of interactions are not natural for us. Especially on platforms like Facebook, we are talking at each other through a wall of distance and mental filters, and while to some degree that is always true, I think the lack of physical cues exacerbates it. Is this kind of communication quality, or are we speaking more to hear ourselves than anything else? Combine that with the sheer volume of information we’re absorbing daily, and it’s a wonder our poor brains can function at all.
The irony of discussing this on a blog is not lost on me. If nothing else, take this as a friendly reminder to practice some self-care today; maybe log off for a while and take a deep breath.
~ R. E. Rule