Guest post by Renee Dugan
Opinions are like butts—everyone’s got one.
Since the dawn of creation, mankind has always had an opinion about something. As much as God might’ve wished He hadn’t included that aspect of our makeup after listening to the Israelites complaining about their opinions of life in the wilderness for forty years, He still loved us enough to give us free will that then allows us form opinions. And boy, do we. About everything.
In the not-too-distant past, the platforms from which a man could flaunt his opinion were generally relegated to whatever social circle he moved in. Families, close friends, maybe a few gossips around town got the scoop on what Joe Cool was thinking about anything under the sun. Politicians, stars, and socialites had a broader circle, but those of opined minds in different spheres still didn’t rub shoulders as much.
Then came the internet.
With the rise of the World Wide Web, sharing one’s opinion has become an Olympic sport for which many, many people seem to be training toward the gold. From politicians to celebrities to the sensationalist post down the superhighway, everyone’s personal insight into everything is always just one clickbait away. That’s not even to mention the opinions of those we consider friends or acquaintances. As the saying goes, you can’t swing a dead skunk in a social-media circle without hitting someone who has a different opinion (or something like that). And with the addition of keyboard courage, which makes even the most humble fingers light up with the fires of righteously raging internet justice, it’s pretty much impossible to even boot up your computer without having someone else’s opinion lobbed in your face. Once technology becomes self-aware, I’m sure it’ll be sharing its opinions once we boot up, too.
Over the last few months, as the political landscape has become more of a bloody battleground, I’ve witnessed several Facebook friends being swept up in argument after argument, resulting in politically-induced anxiety that bleeds over into their day-to-day lives. Everyone else’s opinion about what my friends should think, believe, feel, and follow along with is plastered on their walls (and sometimes on my newsfeed, thanks to Facebook’s filtering systems that by default show you what someone else likes or when they comment on a politically motivated post. Interesting). I can’t blame them for losing sleep over it—this stuff is high-stress! As if there’s not enough of that to go around already.
It seems everything these days is lobbying to steal our peace. But how much stress do we bring on ourselves? A few months ago, my husband deleted his Facebook, and he’s never looked back. Even when I razz him about how badly I want to tag him in food posts and cute couple stuff, he stands his ground. He’s good, he says. In fact, his stress levels are much lower. And I can’t say I don’t see his point.
In these times of societal warfare, I encourage everyone to take a step back, evaluate, and ask yourself, “How much of this stress am I heaping on myself? How much could I avoid if I just unplugged from social media, even for one or two days a week? If I spent that time doing something that relaxes me, would I honestly be any worse off? Do I need the arguments and high blood pressure?”
I know when I’ve asked myself this, the answer has always been a big, resounding NOPE. I wouldn’t be worse off—in fact, the times when I’ve done just that, unplugging for twenty-four hours, I’ve discovered something wonderful: the world keeps on spinning without social media. My day-to-day life doesn’t change when I’m oblivious to friends X, Y, and Z’s political rants for the day. That’s not to say we all need to delete our Facebooks, our Twitters, and our email addresses. But healthy balance is good for the body from the inside out. And that includes the things we plug into every day.
One thing I’ve learned for sure is that when I unplug my charger from the chaos of the world, I’m so much more free to plug into God—the only source of power that truly recharges me and gives me strength to face tomorrow.