Happiness Thrives off of Positivity

I should remember to limit my time on Facebook. There is so much negativity flying around on that site. Authors are told to keep their platforms alive by engaging on places like Facebook and Twitter, but when I go there, I get majorly drained. I went there today and, afterwards, when I sat down to write, I had a hard time getting into the stories that I was super excited about writing just last week.

One thing I’ve learned is that negative thinking drains a person’s energy. It doesn’t help writers make better stories. It actually hinders them. So I’m not going back on Facebook for a while. If a friend messages me, I’ll go to the message there, but I’m not checking the timeline. It’s counterproductive to what I need to be doing.

I understand there are terrible things going on in the world. I keep up with the news, though I prefer independent news sources since they are far more balanced than what I’ll find on TV. I find independent news sources to be a lot less “panic! panic!” in tone, too. To me, Facebook has became increasingly negative over the past couple of years. It used to be a place where people were civil. Sure, there were the hackers that caused us grief, but at least there was a sense of peace when scrolling down the timeline.

These days, I see a lot people arguing with each other. I really don’t like to watch the arguments that erupt over there. I also don’t like seeing people putting down other people for not believing the same way they do. None of this is productive. I don’t know how anyone can expect to change someone’s mind about something when they say, “You’re such an idiot if you believe that.” (And believe me, that is tame compared to some of the comments I’ve read over there.)

I realize we’re not all going to agree on everything. What saddens me is that some people don’t even take the time to listen to the other side. They’re too busy trying to convince someone they’re right that they refuse to acknowledge there might be something they can learn from an opposing person’s point of view. I’m not saying they have to agree with  that person. But whatever happened to listening to them? Whatever happened to sitting down and having an honest discussion where both sides feel safe to give their point of view?

I’ve met people who didn’t agree with me on many things, and yet, we were able to get along anyway. In high school, I used to have fun political debates with a friend who supported the other side. We joked around and had a good time. We weren’t calling each other names or treating each other like trash. I’ve also had good discussions with people of different faiths. I found it interesting to find out what they believe and why, and I felt the spirit of give and take was a positive one. It didn’t change my own faith, but it showed me a perspective in the other’s life that I never would have had otherwise, and in the end, my faith grew stronger as a result because I was better able to solidify why I believe the way I do.

Anyway, it’s just sad to see where social media is going. I’ve enjoyed Facebook because I met some wonderful people over there. It’s sad that going there isn’t a pleasant experience anymore. I have to get away from it in order to get back into the positive mindset. I really do believe that what we surround ourselves with impacts our attitude. Now, I don’t think we should put our heads in the sand. It is good to know what’s happening, but we also need to keep a positive perspective on things so we don’t lose our joy for doing things we love. Because what we put into our minds will come back through our words and actions.

I hope I didn’t bring anyone down by writing this post. That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to encourage people to focus on what is right with the world instead of what’s wrong with it. We might not be able to change things on a global scale, but we can be a source of encouragement to a person we know in our lives. Also, we have a purpose. There is a reason we’re here at this point in time. We have something we’re supposed to do, and you are the only person who can do what you’re called to do while I’m the only person who can do what I’m called to do. There are no two people exactly alike. We’re all unique. By being positive, I think we can best reach our purpose and help those around us.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to https://ruthannnordinsbooks.wordpress.com/.
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24 Responses to Happiness Thrives off of Positivity

  1. Pam S says:

    Ruth, I totally understand where you are coming from I deactivated my FB account several years back and refuse to do Instagram or any of the other social media accounts. To many hurtful comments that are unnecessary. I hope you get back to writing soon with a positive outlook ahead, I know I always enjoy your books. Pam S

    • Sometimes I give serious consideration to deactivating my account on FB. I don’t see things getting better over there. The only reason I’ve held on for as long as I have is because some people say they only find out I have a new book when I post it on FB. If I wasn’t a writer, I would definitely not be on FB. I agree with you that the hurtful comments over there are unnecessary. It’s emotionally draining.

      Thanks for the compliment, Pam! I really do appreciate it. 🙂

  2. I’d say you haven’t been checking out my timeline enough, but considering I share a lot of articles about homophobic, transphobic or anti-Semitic incidents and events, I kind of have to applaud you for deciding to stay away from the negativity. Exposing yourself to darkness like that NEVER does anyone any favors. I had to stop watching 13 Reasons Why and The Punisher on Netflix because they were so demoralizing!

    • I haven’t seen 13 Reasons Why or The Punisher. I remember hearing a lot of things about 13 Reasons Why, and there were some calls to boycott it because it encouraged suicide. I have no idea if that’s true, so I stayed out of it. I wasn’t even aware of a show or movie called The Punisher. Maybe it’s new. I haven’t had Netflix in about a year. I had to cut the subscription because income dropped in my household.

      I agree that exposing oneself to darkness never does anyone any favors. I don’t see why people can’t agree to disagree and still get along. This is what freedom of speech is supposed to be about. It’s the exchange of ideas, but in order to make it work, it requires people to have respect for the other person. I’m afraid we’re losing that respect. I don’t think it should be up to Facebook to clean it up. It should be up to the individual. Unfortunately, too many individuals over there are choosing to make those who disagree with them a villain. 😦

  3. I wish there was a button to love this post! I agree. One hundred percent! Social media has, in many ways, become like a war zone. Being able to hide behind a screen has brought out the inner bully in too many people and it’s more than I want to deal with most days. I think it contributes to not just negativity but hatred and depression too. And I find that I, too, avoid it as much as possible. Because you’re right. Without the positivity, it’s hard to thrive in all areas of life.

    • I do think a lot of this has to do with hiding behind a screen. I can’t imagine people saying some of the things they do to people they would talk to face to face. I worry about the way things are going, but I know I can’t let that get to me. I don’t want to end up living with hatred and depression. That’s no way to live. The only thing I can think of to do is to limit how much I’m exposed to. I notice I am a lot happier when I stay away from Facebook.

  4. Mary McCall says:

    You will still live if you close down your FB activity. Years ago, I saw Dr. Oz on his show, warn the public if you saw a certain advertisement with his picture on it, that it was False advertising- he did Not endorse it. Well, back then, in the right hand side of one’s page, one could delete ads not wanted, and they’d ask why. I told them I knew Dr. Oz didn’t endorse them. Ever after, I started receiving a spamworthy amount of ads in my newsfeed, so much that I couldn’t see things friends and family had posted. And in my advertising on the right hand side– funeral and crematorium ads! Seemed a touch Threatening! So, I just got off of there. I did miss pictures and info from far away family and friends. I DON’T miss the religious and political drama and misinformation of rabid family members. There are trolls galore on Twitter that can take the “J” out of Joy for you, too- and every other social media venue. Only you can decide if you can live without it. If the Debbie Downers are creating Chaos, Block Them. No one needs to give creedance to someone trying to upset you. You have Fans! And Followers! You are an imaginative and joyful author! Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t deserve to be on your site!

    • Someone used Dr. Oz to hack into my Twitter account a few years back! I had to delete the account and create a new one because of that. I didn’t hear that this was happening on a large scale. Poor Dr. Oz. And poor you! That’s really scary that those things started happening to you after you reported the fake ad, esp. regarding the funeral and crematorium ads. It makes me wonder who is reading the reports when we submit something on Facebook. 😦 Even having readers on Facebook who only keep up with my books because I mention them over there, I would get out of Facebook in a minute if that kind of thing happened to me. Yikes!

      Twitter is just as bad, if not worse. The only difference is that I never go to Twitter. I have an account, but I only allow my blog posts to go over there. I never cared for Twitter’s format. I only got an account because it was something authors were told to have. I’ve since learned that a lot of things they tell authors to do really aren’t necessary. A lot of it is a waste of time. My goal this year is to spend most of my time writing. At least when the characters argue with me, it makes the story better. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words. I always appreciate it!

  5. Glenda Harvey says:

    I am considering going on a 40 day internet fast for Lent (even though I don’t belong to a Church that traditionally practices Lent) Not just Social Media but News, games and everything else that takes up so much of my time. All of the negativity can be depressing as well as draining.

    • Hmm… A fast from Facebook sounds like a good idea. I can’t drop all social media since I have to talk about my books, but I love the idea of cutting back in unnecessary areas. You’re right. All of the negativity is depressing and draining. It sucks the joy right out of you. Then the next thing you know, you can barely get anything productive done.

  6. Juli Hoffman says:

    I used to think “What’s going on with my FB feed?” Sometimes it felt like the world was sinking down into a hole. Sometimes it was nothing but happiness and kittens. Then I heard an old episode of Radiolab on NPR. The episode was originally aired on February 9. 2015. The title of the episode is “The Trust Engineers,” if you’re interested in listening to it. It’s fascinating. And terrifying. And upsetting. It’s like something out of a science fiction movie. It turns out, when the FB feeds feel skewed, it’s not just our imaginations. It turns out that 100% of FB users have been test subjects. Not only that, we’re usually engaged in MULTIPLE tests and we don’t even know it. These “tests” help decide what kind of ads to show. They affect voter turnout. They test the way things are worded. Since 1/7 people on the planet use FB, they can test things quicker than traditional testing with large pools of numbers. Think about it. FB is free. Nothing is truly free.

    Does this change anything? Probably not. But, it helps to KNOW that you’re a research subject, a lab rat. If your feed feels skewed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the world is REALLY that bad. You may just be part of an experiment in emotional response.

    If you suspect your FB feed has been manipulated, click Newsfeed, click the 3 dots after Newsfeed, and switch your preferences from Top Stories to Most Recent. It will default to Top Stories as soon as you click away, but it’s a good way to see the FB friends you’ve been missing. I have also found that limiting time on FB seems help to limit the negative stuff.

    • I’ll look that episode up on You Tube.

      I shouldn’t be surprised this has been happening on Facebook, but the worst I thought they were doing was gleaning our information in order to sell us products from people paying for ads. I figured that was how they were making money in order to have people using the site for free. Learning this puts a bad taste in my mouth. Do you know if MeWe is doing that, too?

      I feel trapped into using Facebook because of my books. Some people say the only way they know I have a new book out is if I post it on Facebook. They don’t like newsletters or blogs. So I stay there in order to reach them.

      I’ll go on Facebook and choose the Most Recent. I have noticed that I’m not seeing most of the people anymore. It does seem like the same messages keep popping up in my feed.

      • I checked, and Facebook had Top Stories. I switched it to Most Recent. Now I’m off to listen to the episode you mentioned.

      • Juli Hoffman says:

        I just wrote a post of this on my blog with the link to Radiolab’s podcast. Holy wow! At any given time, all of us on FB are taking part in 1 to 10 experiments. That’s kind of unsettling.

        • I’ve been checking my Facebook timeline for a couple of days, and after I select the Most Recent option, I get it. But then when I get off of Facebook and return to it, I’m back to Top Stories. So they keep on switching me back without telling me about it. I’ll be checking out your blog post soon.

  7. I agree with you so much. I’ve stopped going on FB on my Lauralynn account except occasionally checking my closer friends stuff. I’m just so tired of all the negativity. I do get on my personal friends and family FB because I don’t see that kind of stuff over there.

    • It really depends on who is in your news feed, doesn’t it? I don’t mind seeing stuff from opposing sides, but when it ends up with people name calling, I can’t stand it. I don’t see why people can’t respectfully disagree. Why do they have to resort to tearing down someone else? I see this on both sides, and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. 😦

      After what Juli Hoffman said, I am wondering just how much FB is manipulating things. Maybe they want this. Are the way we behave in society going to be driven by social media?

      If I had another account, I’d probably hang out over there, too. At the moment, I only have 10 friends (or so) on MeWe, and it is blissfully quiet. So I don’t blame you for sticking to the other pen name’s account on FB.

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