Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne.
— Auld Lang Syne
With every passing year, we ring in the new one making promises in the hopes of having a better year than the year before. We are bound to those around us whether we like it or not, and this is most prevalent through our Facebook interactions (or non-interactions). In the traditional Scottish anthemic Auld Lang Syne, we are asked this question, should we really forget our friends and acquaintances?
The short answer is, kinda, but hear me out. This traditional New Year’s anthem is actually posing a rhetoric, where we are meant to ask ourselves if we should forget, which I find to be quite a harsh term, but really, is that if we should move on from the people that no longer serve our personal growth. This seems selfish at first, but at the end of the day, in order for us to do good and pay it forward, we must first be happy with ourselves.
We are social media creatures, and although a lot of us wouldn’t care to admit it, we are bound to our Facebook more than we think, whether it is through our mobiles or desktops. Even the most unsocial and introvert of us, i.e. passive users, who merely watch and stalk behind our screens, are inadvertently buying whatever storyline is being sold to us. This affects us much more than we think.
We tend to compare other people’s highlighted reel to our behind the scenes. We see friends on vacations, other families having a good time together, and couples who just seem too perfect all the time and have it all. Of course it is, it is what they want you to see. You don’t see the petty arguments and stress while on vacations, you don’t see the late night worrying and arguments over money; and different choices of raising a child, you don’t see the little jabs that couples have at each other when all they present to you is a perfect smile. It is because of this we are all led to believe that everyone on Facebook has the perfect life, except us. Of course it seems that way, because no one would show you the real ugly.
Understandably, there are also those that use Facebook as a tool for work. These people have to post up exaggerated stories about their lives, merely because of marketing, and that’s why its important to recognise when it is so. Yes, some may be aspirational, but think and do what truly makes you happy. Don’t live the life that is expected of you. What happens is that every time we go on Facebook we feel slightly less about ourselves because we just can’t help being affected, however slight it may be.
How to go about relieving ourselves of these discomforts that plague us? You can try the Unfollow Detox. Unfollow 95% of your friend list, and by this I don’t mean Unfriend them. When you unfollow someone, all it does is that it removes them from being the first person’s stories that are pushed by Facebook to you.
Friends and family make up the additional 5%, mostly people who you have direct contact with, and also people that you are close to who don’t live in the same country. A good way to gauge this decision making process is this. Ask yourself when was the last time you had a proper meet up or conversation with them, and if not within the past 3 months, then its a good cue. By doing unfollowing detox, you will actually like the 95% more because their personal stories are not constantly pushed to you, also, you have the option of going to their Facebook profiles.
What you should do instead is to pick up the good habit of being exposed to the right kind of news. Follow 20 sites that you have not subscribed to, and make sure 10 of them are news sites. The rest can be personal interest and for fun factor. A few good sites would be the The Guardian, Vox, Food & Wine, The Nerdist and Big Think, all depending on your interest. Also, unfollow sites such as The Elite Daily because all that disguise pretending that it is some self help and motivational site is just undermining their readers’ intelligence. Do, however, keep sites like Buzzfeed on for entertainment value.
The result is this. At first it may seem that your whole Facebook feed has quietened down, and it may even feel a little lonely, but what you’re actually feeling is a sense of calmness. We are so used to so much white noise distracting us that we fail to see how much unrest it causes our minds, being preoccupied with what everyone is doing or not doing right. This will help you be with yourself a little more, and what better way to go into the new year than to learn how to be a friend to yourself. Sorry, but to be happy you have to first love yourself. Take this into the new year and you’ll have a good one.