I have a love/hate relationship with social media. The displays of arrogance and vanity can be sickening (can you say Kanye West?). People feel it is their right to criticize, humiliate, and hurt others via nasty, hateful comments and judgments. Heck, there is a whole political campaign being run based on this premise. Though not truly anonymous, the perceived distance from behind the computer screen gives them a sense of security and allows them to say things they would never have the audacity to say in a face to face interaction.
There have been several times in the past few years when I have had to step away from social media for a period of time to clear my head and banish the negativity that was seeping into my being. When I am not in a good place mentally, seeing others post about their “perfect” lives makes me feel bad about my own. While I know that everything is not as it appears, (after all, I tend to only post positive things about myself as well and could be inadvertently making others feel the same way) I can find myself feeling jealous of others and hurt when left out of certain events or get togethers.
Despite the negatives, I am still drawn in to the world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I love the light side of it all: the pictures of babies and puppies, the funny posts about what my friends kids have done, etc. I eagerly wait for the “likes” to start popping up on my phone when I post a picture or a witty remark. It’s ego crack. It makes you feel good when people are approving of you.
However, in my opinion, the most amazing and redeeming power of social media is its ability to lift up those who are grieving or in pain. The world is full of people suffering with their own private tragedies, and sharing these with others, even complete strangers, can bring solace and some measure of hope for the future to those who need it most.
The perfect example of this is the #DStrong campaign in support of Dorian Murray. He is a young boy with cancer who’s last wish is to become famous. And famous he has become, through the power of social media. The world has come together to rally around Dorian and his family. What more beautiful way could social media be used? I hope his family is comforted by the thousands of comments filled with prayers and encouragement that they receive every time an update on his condition is posted. I pray that every message Dorian receives gives him hope and strength as his journey continues. Whatever the future brings, the world will be there to embrace them, comfort them and hold them up in their time of need.
So, as you scroll through your Facebook feed and see the pictures of happy people on vacation and read the rants about politics and other polarizing issues, look for the posts that show the people who are suffering today, for whatever reason. Show a little love. Give a little support. It could change their world. And, I guarantee, it will change yours.
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