Are you a highly sensitive person? Here's how to navigate social media without having a meltdown.
In 1997, a book called "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron came out, and just like that, all of the former kids from the playground who were repeatedly told they should "stop being so sensitive!!!" breathed a sigh of relief. I never actually read the book (yes, there's a self-help book I haven't read...) but I knew the moment I heard of it that I was one of those people. I, Laura Max, am a highly sensitive person. I notice things other people don't notice, I feel other people's energy, and sometimes I'm like a sponge when I'm around any kind of negativity. Aggression feels more harsh to me than it does to many people I know, and any snide remark you throw my way is going in one ear and NOT coming out the other for at least three days. I also have an uncanny ability to sense someone else's suffering: when someone is in pain, they usually don't have to tell me before I feel their pain in my bones.
Because of this, Facebook has been very interesting territory for me to navigate. I have about 2,000 Facebook friends from all walks of life, and when everyone's everything is coming up on your newsfeed from left and right, that's a whole lot of energy to absorb (and ultimately, filter.)
That's why I have to be extremely careful with whose energy I take in, and whose I choose to stay "friends" with but not actively "follow." For most of us, it's obvious who the "crazies" on our newsfeed are and we have no problem opting to see a little less of their biz-niss. With other individuals, navigating this road can be more difficult. In fact, there are many public figures whose jobs are to uplift others, yet I've found them to be the very opposite of uplifting. Their guidance just doesn't jive with me. Instead of going with my gut and leaving their advice for someone else to take in, I keep reading what they have to say and keep thinking that perhaps I am "missing" something. If what this person or that person is saying is supposed to make me feel good, than maybe there's something wrong with me for feeling the opposite of good whenever I read it.
I had to decide I didn't care whether or not you or your mother thought x-person or y-person was a modern day guru - if they didn't make me feel good about myself, I wasn't following them anymore. I was reminded of this today when I saw a quote from someone I unfollowed shared on my newsfeed from someone else. I instantly remembered my internal battle with choosing not to obsess over this persons "advice" anymore, and was so grateful at the choice I made to no longer heed what didn't work for me. In the end, my gut was right: that person's energy didn't serve me, no matter how many people it did serve.
In life, and on Facebook, you have to do what works for you. There are a lot of people out there giving advice, telling their stories and sharing their truths, but if those truths don't jive with you, who cares if they jive with someone else. You don't need to subscribe to anything that doesn't make you feel good about yourself. Cut the cord, set yourself free, allow yourself to take in the good stuff no matter what the person next to you thinks about it.
In any circumstance, it's always more than okay to go where the love is, and to do what feels good. Anyone can make a claim that what they have to say is "magic." What matters is what you think is magic. That's the real good stuff.
***(Are you highly sensitive? Take this quiz and find out.)