A Not So Scientific Self-Led Social Experiment.

This week I made an intentional decision to check-out.
My Discovering Beautiful posts were scheduled a week out and posted automatically.

(A feature that I had never really taken advantage of until now, and I am loving it!
What?! Where have I been?)

Aside from a few seconds a day, I have not been online reading or scrolling social media platforms.

Okay. I have been focusing a lot lately on the power of positive thinking and the destruction of negative & toxic thinking and interacting.

(Not because it has taken precedence over my faith or God’s power in my life, or my belief that He supplies all of my needs… but because I feel that having a healthy mind contributes to our quality of life and our ability to function in or daily lives at our best. My faith is in no way compromised or ‘less’ important because of my firm belief in the power of psychology. My human mind is also affected by human things, including – human behavior. My faith is what keeps me going everyday. God’s love is why I am alive, why I do what I do, and why I can say with certainty I believe we should spend time with others who are dedicated to loving others and building others up.)

*I already believe that the ‘you are who we run with’ or ‘you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with’  theories are right. In the context of drug use and abuse and especially in recovery. It is important to change your environment and who you are around for obvious reasons. Boundaries are necessary for progress and success.

*I also believe that in certain families, it is best to make relational boundaries for a number of reasons. In my case, it is what is best for my recovery and for the personal safety of myself and my family. So, those boundaries are necessary.

But- interestingly, it has recently occurred to me:

Although I place a high value of the importance of boundaries and have them in place in certain areas of my life, I have never really paid much attention to the power that a negative attitude, a negative mindset, and a negative interaction can have on me.

(Not the majority of people who have problems, and everyday issues. Not people, like myself who have crappy days every once in awhile. I am talking about an overall, general negative attitude and outlook and approach on life.)

I am not saying that I am not aware of the potential effects that a negativity can have on a person.
I understand and have learned a great deal about this, and believe the validity of the research behind negative influence and it’s ability to negate any type of growth.

What I am saying is that I have never really taken an intentional look at how my mood, reactions, and attitude are effected when/if I  interact  with such people on a daily basis.

I have had a sneaking suspicion (and if this was a real experiment, I would call this a hypothesis) that certain interactions were in fact, stealing  ‘good vibes’ and not replacing them with anything positive….

So. I wanted to know. 

Do I interact with Individuals who are inherently toxic- who never seeing the glass half-full, who are unforgiving, who gossip, or who never lift anyone up?

Does this matter? Does reading this stuff on Facebook,  scrolling past it on Twitter, or listening to it over the phone have any affect on me?

If I do, what happens?

The only way that I would find out is to take a break from social medial and to pay closer attention to who I was talking to and how I felt after talking to them.
I monitored my interactions and what I was absorbing with my eyes, ears and heart.
I took note of my thoughts, feelings and reactions.
Basically, I lived my life as usual, I just paid more attention to a few things.

All week long- I had great interactions.

I read a little in a good book, I laughed hard- with my kids, I didn’t have any arguments with anyone, I enjoyed my husband; we had fun talking with him via skype while he was out of town, I read positive quotes, and read in my Bible throughout the week with the kids. Every person that I talked to ended up being an interaction that I could consider ‘positive.’

Except for one.

What I noticed was interesting. Obviously, not surprising- but I paid close attention.
What kinds of feelings did I feel afterward?  How did it effect my thoughts? Could this have been avoided?

Because I was intentionally seeking and observing this week, it did not have a lasting impact on my mood, my day and certainly not my overall attitude. It did not have the power to ruin my day.

It simply felt different, and not a good different. (I am all about fun and change, challenges and calculated risk) but this is not the change that I felt. Just an overall uneasy feeling- and a stark contrast to the other experiences of this week. It did (try) to bring my happiness meter down a few notches, that’s for sure.

As far as the social media aspect- that too, was a definite eye-opener.

Not seeing anything negative, or reading any posts with complaints about general, everyday, life stresses  really did make a difference.
I know that my ‘experiment’ -(using that word loosely) was by far, amateur, and not a well-controlled or well-documented one……
But it did provide results and left  me with enough information to come to a pretty clear ‘conclusion.’

There is room and need for immediate improvement in my Facebook feed.
‘Friends’ and ‘Pages’.
I am confident about my twitter feed for the most part.
As for my relational sociological interactions, that too will be tweaked.

We will never have control over everything that happens in our lives, stress is to be expected, things happen, we experience trials, bad days and hard times.
What we do have control over – is our attitude and our reactions to these things.
Obviously, I am all about loving other people, that is not the question.
Just don’t allow the negativity of another person, to effect your person.

We have one life, and I believe that it should be lived. LIVED happily, and intentionally.
Seek out good, do good, promote good and love even better.

So.
In keeping with my approach, and the natural procedural systematic observations and methods….

my ‘conclusion’ can be summed up nicely by saying:

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