View profile

Holiday Wisdom...From Facebook?

I didn't have much of a Christmas this year. And you know what? It ended up being totally fine. And I
Holiday Wisdom...From Facebook?
I didn’t have much of a Christmas this year.
And you know what?
It ended up being totally fine.
And I learned something big.
Well, several big things, actually.
Because this year, thanks to the addictive technology that is Facebook, I was able to look at other people’s holidays from afar.
I got to see what other individuals and families did to celebrate with each other–or not.
At first, I felt like a loner leaning against the wall, standing at the end of the room while all my peers were in the middle dancing and having fun.
But when I really thought about it, I came to a very different conclusion.

Holidays On Facebook (2020 Edition)
Or do we?
Or do we?
You see, my outsider view gave me something special.
It gave me a superpower, of sorts.
I noticed themes in the Facebook posts I saw.
Certain similar poses and quotes flashed before my eyes. Normally, I limit my Facebook time to 2 to 3 times a week at most. I’ll check in and see what’s going on, and then I’m out to go engage with people on Twitter.
Why?
Because Facebook makes me sad. It doesn’t seem real to me. In fact, I know it’s not real.
Yes, it’s a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. But it’s also a great way to keep in touch with ads and more ads. And Facebook’s fancy algorithm wants to keep me hooked, so it shows me the most over-the-top posts, created, whether intentionally or not, to get the most engagement from others.
Often, this leads to me seeing only the most dramatic displays of people’s lives. It’s like reality on steroids. If I saw it in real life, I would think, “Whoa, that’s way too much. That hurts my eyes.”
But on Facebook, way too much is the norm. It’s what you need to do to cut through the noise and receive the distinct honor of having your posts SEEN by your friends and family.
And, boy, did I see some holiday posts this year.
What Facebook Helped Me Realize This Year
Like I said above, Facebook normally makes me sad.
It also normally makes me annoyed.
And that was certainly the case here. At first.
But, over the past year or so, I’ve changed how I use Facebook.
I don’t go there expecting to connect in a meaningful way.
No, now I use it as a reality barometer. I challenge myself to find the posts that seem the most authentic.
Now, authentic to me is not going to be authentic to somebody else. I get that. But I enjoy the game I’ve created.
I scan through Facebook posts, not hoping to find joy, but, instead, hoping to find a diamond in the rough.
I look for less polished over more polished. I look for vulnerability instead of overconfidence. I avoid what’s political to find what’s personal.
Believe me, it’s not easy.
But if I timebox my Facebook use, and I approach the platform in this way, I can come up with some pretty interesting insights.
And that was the case this holiday season.
Here’s what I learned from Facebook during the 2020 holidays:
  1. People don’t need much to be happy during the holidays. Gatherings were smaller, and yet people proclaimed that they were just as happy.
  2. Gifts still abound, but they were no longer center stage. My Facebook connections focused on, well…connections. With each other. With friends and family. With the important people in their lives. This time around, my connections claimed they found more meaning in creating meaning with one another.
  3. 2020 was a brutally hard year for some people. Instead of the typical holiday shine and gleam I normally see on Facebook, several people talked about family members they had lost this year or how grateful they were to just be moving forward. Seeing this kind of reality helped put things into perspective for me.
  4. I don’t need much to be happy. This is something I’ve internalized more and more as I’ve gotten older. And I never expected to have this realization driven home while scanning Facebook. But by seeing the patterns on Facebook, by getting a dose of the good with the bad, I found myself. At first, I viewed the photos and long updates from a place of lack. I thought, Well, I’m not doing what they’re doing. I guess I should have more going on this Christmas. And then it hit me in a very visceral way. I have enough. I enjoyed this holiday season for what it was. I got to do multiple video calls with my entire immediate family, something that hadn’t happened before. I texted with more friends than I normally do. Because of the shift to remote work and the work I’ve done with The Mental Health Update, I got to meet people from all over the country and world. I connected with them this holiday as well. Getting a “Merry Christmas!” WhatsApp message from Serbia made my day. The Internet has brought me closer to people I’d never be able to meet without it.
What Did You Learn From Social Media in 2020?
Oh, the things we can learn from social media...
Oh, the things we can learn from social media...
And now I turn it over to you.
You and I clearly connected online, so I’m assuming you use some form of social media to connect with others.
What did you learn from social media in 2020, a year that defied all odds and expectations?
Was it what you expected to learn?
For me, a social media platform I don’t normally use (or like) taught me some simple truths about life.
Facebook forced me to challenge my own views and come up with my own answers about how a holiday should be.
And, although I initially found the period of reflection very uncomfortable, I’m glad I took the time to do it.
Facebook, life life, is neither all good nor all bad.
It depends on how you look at it, and it depends on what you do with what you see.

Holidays are rough for mental health, they really are. Every year, I realize this again. Whatever you’re doing this year, I hope you’re being kind to yourself. Remember that the holidays will pass and life will get back to normal.

Jordan

P.S. Hundreds of people have engaged with this tweet so far. If you’re on Twitter, why don’t you throw your thoughts into the mix?

Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update provides you with authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters and articles.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's three weekly articles packed with timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other newsletters blasting out generic lists of links and articles. And I was especially tired of them not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with something I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world. Especially now, with people reeling from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we need trusted voices telling it like it is.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

Newsletter articles sent on Monday and Wednesday.

Members receive detailed information from those articles on Tuesday and Thursday AND an exclusive Friday email as well.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT