Facebook is Ruining Your Life
It’s happening on a daily basis now. You open up Facebook and see your friend from high school with her precious family of 4. That coworker who got married at the same time you did, is pregnant with her second child in the time it’s taken you to not have any children. You see these women have the thing you want - pregnancy, a family. And despite your hard work you haven’t been able to achieve it. You feel like a failure in the face of their successes, get mad at them for having what you want. You feel jealous, angry, disappointed, and then you get even more angry and disappointed at yourself for feeling this way. You feel crappy about feeling crappy.
The pain of experiencing your own infertility is enough. It does not need additional crappy feelings on top of it. But when we’re struggling, our minds have a way of showing us more struggle and making it worse. It’s as if the mind keeps a tally of all the crappy things that have happened in a day (or week or lifetime) and use that number to validate itself. You spill coffee on your pants before work...of course your car won’t start and your boss isn’t happy with your recent work. “That’s just my luck!” your mind says.
In my infertility counseling practice I’ve discovered a few things you can do to ease the compounding of emotions upon emotions.
Create boundaries with Facebook
I know FB can be a necessary evil - we need to sign on occasionally to see if anyone private messaged us or invited us to a party. Most of the time the trouble begins when we start scrolling.
Take the app off of your phone, and only sign in to FB at scheduled times during the week you’re less likely to miss something important and less likely to spend too much of your precious life energy worrying about other people’s lives. We also teach people what to expect from us. If your friends are trying to contact you for an event happening the day of, train them to text you instead.
Set a timer for the amount of time you are going to spend on FB. When the alarm goes off you have to shut the window and get back to your own life.
Loving Kindness Meditation
No matter what your relationship with FB, you will still come into contact with pregnant women or families with small children. Your mind is used to taking the familiar path of “jealousy -> anger -> disappointment” so you have to retrain it. It does not start with the pregnant lady. It starts with you.
Find a quiet comfortable place. Close your eyes and put your hand on your heart and say:
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I have a peaceful heart
May I have courage and patience in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Now try thinking about someone dear to your heart. Your spouse, your mom, your dog. Say
May he be happy
May he be healthy,
May he have a peaceful heart
May he have courage and patience in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Try it while thinking of a stranger. The key is practicing on people that are easy for you to be kind to. Then try it on someone that is more difficult. Weather or not it is something you want, the practice makes you feel like the person you want to be.
When you’re living your life for now you get to live for you, not for all the people on Facebook. Take a seven day break from it and see if you can find yourself again.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed professional counselor and fertility counseling specialist in the Asheville area. She’s a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and completed their certificate training in mental health counseling for infertility. Contact her to start feeling better.