Social Media seems essential for many of us to stay connected with family, friends and also to build our businesses through networking and increased visibility. These platforms offer an array of positive opportunities for creating and maintaining relationships of all kinds on a global scale. While this potential can be fun, exciting and full of possibilities, we must acknowledge the pitfalls and negative traps of social media that present real and difficult challenges for us. And if we are empathic individuals, as many Reiki practitioners and spiritual seekers are, the harm social media may open us up to can be devastating to our mental and even physical wellbeing. The good news is, even if we are energetically sensitive to the point of often absorbing energy from other people and circumstances, we can utilize strategies and techniques to help us maximize our social media experiences to help us stay connected in meaningful ways, feel heard and build our businesses, too.
By evaluating how interacting online is different from interacting in person, we can more easily find clear solutions. One important difference is the endless barrage and mass quantity of information streaming to us through these social media platforms. No break in this stream exists; it is constant. Furthermore, the platforms uphold no truth threshold so the unchecked spread of misinformation is pervasive. Finally, we must recognize the influence of perceived anonymity online. Social media interaction is most often between real life strangers. As a result, some people openly show us darker sides of themselves without self-filtering as they would be more likely to do if they were sitting with us face to face. What is the common thread with these three difficult areas presented by social media? Boundaries—there aren’t any in place outside of what we consciously construct for ourselves and decide to follow for our own sake.
Boundaries are the game changer for how we intake social media as well as determining how we participate with others online. Without them, we are more prone to experience unresolved conflicts with what we read there. These unsettled feelings can affect our mood and our sense of security and trust. They often retain staying power remaining present in the background of our minds like a computer program running in the background, stealing precious power away from the more positive things we may try to focus on and accomplish. In an effort to try to help, we may choose to comment back with reason or appeal to a person’s higher nature. Unfortunately, this is rarely successful and simply brings us further into the anguish of the hopeless situation.
To create a healthier relationship with social media, let us consider several guidelines and boundaries which can instantly empower us rather than drain or lower our energy.
- Perfect the art of scrolling on by. We can decide to stop trying to convince others we know better or they are wrong. Doing this never works and is a waste of our time. It only results in lost opportunities to focus on better-feeling things. Scrolling on by instead of reading the comments on energetically charged posts is difficult to do. This is a boundary we must keep by reminding ourselves it brings frustration and other negative feelings. With this awareness, it is easier to choose more wisely and scroll. After all, people will disagree. It is not our responsibility to resolve this. Instead, we may consciously choose to focus our time on posts about what we love. This will offer positive vibrations into the world and attract more positive people into our social media sphere. The art of scrolling by is absolutely one to practice for better mental and physical health.
- Give ourselves permission to clean up our friends list and who we follow. If the offerings of certain people are consistently creating conflict, it is perfectly fine to limit our exposure to them. Would we not do this in person? Furthermore, we need to decide if family members get to receive special permission to bring negativity into our experience through our social media connections just because we are related. We can take time to evaluate what they have published online and ask ourselves how we feel being connected to that energy. Would we invite them into our home and allow this sort of expression there? If the answer is no, it is time to consider making changes to keep our online space more in resonance with our goals for more peace.
- Evaluate who we have been online. Remember what we post online has energetic frequency and we are connected to it for as long as it is out there. Try the following exercise. Go to your profiles, your timelines and wherever you have an online voice. Read what you have posted from the perspective of someone who does not know you. As you absorb what you posted, evaluate your perceptions. Ask yourself to feel what energy and what emotions your posts bring about? What is the tone and who do you appear to be? Lastly, what energy is your social media presence offering—upbeat, loving, fun or perhaps judgmental, silly, divisive, or something else? Be honest with yourself and if you are promoting your business online, this evaluation is much more consequential. What traits do your potential clients see through your posts? Does that match how you would choose to portray yourself to them in the context of your business? Is your online presence helping your business or hurting it? The answers to these questions then allow us to make some new decisions to further shape our social media experience.
- Decide who we will now be online. It is important to perform the previous exercise from a neutral standpoint to get a clear perspective. Objectivity then allows us to see clearly and evaluate how we feel about what we find. Now is our opportunity to decide how we will present ourselves online and what our message will be to the world. Regardless of what message we choose to send, it is important to be authentic. This does not mean we must share every aspect of who we are. Instead, we may choose to leave some aspects of our thoughts and opinions and perhaps deeper personal events off of social media or choose specific privacy or audience settings that feel more suitable to what we share. However, what we do publish is best kept in alignment with our clear purpose and with authenticity. We must not pretend to be someone we are not because that would be misleading. Therefore, we may also delete old posts or comments that don’t reflect who we have become. There is no need to continue broadcasting what does not resonate with who we are today. We certainly would not walk around expressing the opinions we had 10 years ago if we no longer held those beliefs. So cleaning up our presence online makes sense especially because we are energetically tied to all we put out.
- Never post from strong emotion. Without a doubt, we will see material that triggers us in a reactionary and emotional way. It is important to catch ourselves before posting a quick response. It is a very good idea for us to pause and set the phone down or get up from the computer. Doing a task to be productive or just focusing on something else for a few minutes gives us time to reflect on what we decided our larger social media message would be. Then we can ask ourselves if the response we are tempted to publish resonates with this mission. More often than not, we will find that letting go and scrolling on by is our best option. It allows us to disconnect from a downward spiral of negativity and find our calm equilibrium again. However, if we do choose to respond, we may do so with a greater sense of awareness as we hold our social media goals in mind. Once written out, perhaps we again pause before making the final decision to publish.
The fast pace of social media, its nonstop supply of shared opinions and ideas, the rampant misinformation and the insensitivity of some can certainly create a negative atmosphere and challenge our ability to enjoy the positive aspects of online platforms. This is often harder for empaths and highly sensitive people. However, when we stop reacting and set clear boundaries based on our goals, we can change our relationship with social media very quickly. From this more balanced place we can find uplifting people and new communities to connect with for encouragement, helpful sharing, learning and guidance. It is simply up to us to become more aware and decide the responsibility for regulating our relationship with social media lies within us.
Article by Andrea Kennedy
Free eBook download: We’ve created an eBook with our best articles on this topic, and offer it for free to all our newsletter subscribers.
Andrea Kennedy is a full time Reiki Master Teacher and owner of Mainstream Reiki. Her mission is to help bring Reiki further into the mainstream so more people may experience its wonderful benefits. To accomplish this, she teaches all levels of Holy Fire® III Reiki online and in-person (when conditions improve), offers Reiki treatment sessions, individual mentoring sessions for practitioner confidence and business success, online events and also shares her knowledge through her YouTube Channel and a new podcast called ‘Beyond the Reiki Gateway’.
Andrea came to Reiki unexpectedly after earning her physics degree. After first hearing about Reiki, her curiosity led her to take the level one class in 1995. She was skeptical about Reiki and felt little to nothing when she would practice but positive feedback kept her interested. She went on to complete her training and became a Reiki Master for the first time in 1998.