Posted in Abuse, Children, Sex change, Sexual mutilation, Transgender

Sex Change Mutilation

alone-anxious-black-and-white-568027.jpgI have to speak out on a subject that is of very grave concern. In the name of gender change, doctors and medical teams are cutting off body parts of young teens and even pre-teens.

What shocks me is that these youngsters are not legally allowed to drink, or drive a car, yet they can make permanent, life-altering decisions about their bodies that require serious surgeries, hormone treatment, and puberty blockers, when there is no medical assurance of successful long term outcomes. In fact, the opposite has been documented.

We are seeing penises cut off, breasts cut off, hysterectomies being done. These children will be mutilated adults. They will never fit in society except as a class of their own. A class of misfits.

It is time we teach people to be comfortable in their own skin.

It is time that we recognize the true danger of the “choice” ideology and acknowledge that it has gone too far. It probably crossed the line a long time ago, but this is more serious than anything I have seen so far.

There is no changing back once such a radical surgery has been performed. Choice will no longer be an option. Think about that. There could be serious remorse.

It is a cruel trick for adults, who know better, to play along with a choice that literally, physically injures a child. These surgeries require undergoing the risk of anesthesia and infection. There may be a need for skin grafting and future surgeries. Surgery is always traumatic to the body. Usually the risk of surgery is weighed against the benefits. But in this case the outcome is not even desirable.

No matter how badly a child wants a “sex change” it should not be allowed and doctors should not consent to performing these surgeries. It is unethical.

Major alterations to a child’s body will most certainly result in long term emotional pain, depression, anxiety and confusion. The idea that a person can have an actual sex change is a blatant lie. There is change in appearance, but not a sex change.

A body will continue to have the same chromosomes it was born with and will be subject to these dictates regardless of interventions. A lifetime of suppressive medications will not change the sex of a body. These children are being set up for a lifetime of medicating themselves and fighting against the natural course of their bodies. Think of the toll that will take.

Do we love our children and want the best outcomes for them? Because if we do, we will not allow them to be deceived by the current ideology that they can have whatever they want, including sex change. It is just not a believable narrative.

Let’s take off the politically correct blinders and see this for what it really is. Child mutilation. It may be performed by “professionals” in a “medical facility” but that very fact shows a lack of professional insight and makes this picture all the more haunting.

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Posted in Leadership, success

23 things that will mess up your life

It’s pretty easy to mess up our lives. It’s very difficult not to, in fact. Everybody can look back and point to choices they regret.

From childhood we are inclined to resist the guidance of our parents who are doing their best to look out for us and prevent us from our own ruin.

It’s good to learn early on that we cannot have everything we want because some of the things we want are not good for us. It is only as we train our desires that we begin to want the things that are going to give us a good future.

Over the years I have watched many people make bad choices. I have observed that it is easier to prevent a mistake than to correct it later.

I find it painful to watch people make choices that I know will mess up their lives. Most of the time I can’t prevent them.

I’ve decided to write this article in the hope that someone might want some coaching on how not to mess up their lives.

What will mess up your life?

  1. You will mess up your life if you are a follower. If you don’t have the strength to abide by your convictions and say, no, then you are going to do things you will regret later.
  2. You will mess up your life if you refuse to think about how daily decisions will affect your future.
  3. You will mess up your life if you don’t discern which people want the best for you. Some people really don’t care if you mess up. They have made bad choices and want company. They want to drag you down with them.
  4. You will mess up your life if you don’t have a vision for the life you want to have. Without this you will be without a roadmap. You will be making decisions based on the moment and on how you feel.
  5. You will mess up your life if you are afraid to stand out from the crowd and be different. Sometimes going against the crowd will mean that you will stand alone.
  6. You will mess up your life if you defy your conscience. There is a still small voice inside us that often warns us of danger and sometimes makes us feel an apprehensive guilt. It’s good to listen to your gut feeling.
  7. You will mess up your life if you rely on your peers for guidance. Most likely your peers are struggling with the same things you are. In order to keep from messing up your life you will need to look for role models who have more life experience.
  8. You will mess up your life if you fill your mind with garbage. Garbage is anything that does not move you in the direction of your goals. You need to develop a strong sense of what is worthy of your goals and what is beneath them.
  9. You will mess up your life if you allow any addiction to overpower you. Addictions are very expensive and always take a toll the take on our finances, our relationships and our health. Do not let them have this power over you.
  10. You will mess up your life if you think too highly of yourself and your abilities and if you think to lowly of yourself. Develop a healthy understanding of yourself in relation to others. See others as being of equal worth.
  11. You will mess up your life if you are prone to violence or violent outbursts. Others do not deserve your wrath. The deserve your patience and understanding.
  12. You will mess up your life if you think only about yourself. The most fulfilling life is a life spent with consideration for the needs of others. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  13. You will mess up your life if you refuse to learn. Learning means studying and listening to others with more knowledge and experience. Be a truth seeker.
  14. You will mess up your life if you are not discerning. Discernment means you can see consequences before they happen. It also means you see the motivation behind things, like advertising, for example. Discernment will help you understand what is for your good and what is not and why this is so.
  15. You will mess up your life if you cannot put the welfare of others ahead of your own welfare. This is especially true if you seek an enduring relationship and want to have a family.
  16. You will mess up your life if you habitually lie. Others will not be able to trust you.
  17. You will mess up your life if you steal. You do not show respect for the property of others. This also applies to vandalizing the property of others.
  18. You will mess up your life if you do not know how to manage your sexual desires and impulses. This is probably the least talked about subject because it is so personal. A sense of entitlement will result in making destructive choices.
  19. You will mess up your life if you avoid obligation and responsibility. One of the key obligations is to manage your finances by having an income and realizing that you are responsible for providing for yourself for the rest of your life.
  20. You will mess up your life if you engage in criminal activities.
  21. You will mess up your life if you borrow beyond your ability to pay it back. Borrowing has to be considered very carefully because it can quickly turn into crippling debt that will limit your ability to meet your obligations and have the things that are important in your life.
  22. You will mess up your life if you refuse to apologize. Everybody makes mistakes and we need to own up to our mistakes.
  23. You will mess up your life if you do not clean up after yourself. Cleaning up after yourself shows respect for your environment. You will respect yourself and others will respect you if you look after your surroundings.

There is a lot of value in simply being a decent citizen and not messing up what you have been given. Life is not so much about climbing the ladder of success as it is about being a contributing member of society. It is about taking time to think about how we are impacting our future, the lives of our loved ones, and our planet. We only get one round at life. Let’s not mess it up.

Posted in feminism, Home, Marriage & Family, mental health, women

What I like and dislike about feminism

I, like most women, have not studied the basic tenets of feminism. Instead, we have drawn our conclusions about feminism from what we have seen, and read, and sometimes altered our perceptions as we learned more about the movement.

There was a time when I thought, perhaps a little naively, that feminism was primarily about women gaining the right to vote and getting equal pay for equal work. But feminism has evolved into something much more complex and some days, I admit, I struggle to understand what feminists are trying to accomplish.

Most women are not active feminists, including myself, but we have always appreciated the work of those who have advocated on our behalf for things like equal pay and benefits. Lately, however, I’ve begun to wonder if feminism has been derailed from its original purpose. Or did I misunderstand the intent from the beginning?

Originally I was of the opinion that feminism was about advocating for what was good for women–all women–but recently I have begun to think it is more about power and the need to assert ourselves and activate for certain “rights” with the outcome being that we dominate.

In my attempt to comprehend what feminists are up to I have realized that feminists are social justice warriors advocating for numerous human rights. This can be a good thing, however, I wonder if the movement is over-reaching. From my perspective it has morphed into an almost unrecognizable entity, compared with what it once was. Planned Parenthood, for example, the most prominent feminist organization, is heavily involved in influencing the United Nations in setting international standards for education and healthcare, in the name of empowering women.

I’ve learned that feminists claim to empower women primarily by providing easy access to contraceptives, offering comprehensive sex education, and working at decreasing poverty among women. Since child bearing is viewed as a contributing factor to poverty, the proposed solution is to educate, provide contraceptives and offer abortion as means to reduce family size.

It is no secret that Planned Parenthood has worked internationally, very successfully in countries like China and India, to control population growth. Often this is achieved through selective abortion of female fetuses. Somehow this does not sit well with my understanding of an organization that exists for the purpose of empowering women.

Admittedly, women with children cannot devote the same amount of time and energy to advancing their careers as men, or as women who do not have children. So, either we choose not to have children, or we take on a heavier load, and somehow manage the extra toll it takes on us physically and mentally. Even if we take advantage of daycare and share parenting responsibilities with our partners, mothers will still carry the greater share of the burden. Because of this some women will often opt for lower paying and part time jobs in order to stay healthy and balanced. I know of numerous women for whom this has been the case.

I have some difficulty with feminists who seem to insist that we can have it all. Supposedly we can compete equally with men in every field and for every position and ought to have equal representation in every department, while raising a family as well. This is, of course, is completely unrealistic. To hold to this narrative would require that women abandon parenting.

What I probably find most disconcerting about feminism is its lack of support for the role of mothering. A woman’s role as the care-giver for her children is considered so insignificant as to be easily delegated to strangers. There is a complete denial of any long term impact of these arrangements on children. Evidence, to the contrary, shows that nothing is as critical to the development of a child as the consistent and ongoing attention and nurture of a mother and father.

I understand the aspirations of the full-time career woman. I understand the drive to contribute and the rewards of success. The women whom I know want to work. But they also want options around how much time they work in order to be available for their families. By elevating the importance of a career we tend to put undue pressure on women, some of whom want nothing more than to be at home caring for their families.

We need to have this conversation about choices and about how our families are impacted by our choices. But the moment someone broaches these subjects, feminists immediately cry foul and proceed to dismantle the credibility of the speaker. To see women silenced in this way is distressing. Every woman’s voice is valid and deserves to be heard. This unwillingness to dialogue makes it appear that feminists would rather protect their ideals than listen to the women they claim to represent.

If I could put a new face on feminism, I would begin by having feminists embrace the wider role of a woman as a wife and mother. I would encourage working at building healthy families in which divorce is less common and addictions occur with less frequency. I would build support for two-parent homes as a means to reducing poverty. I would also seek to reduce the need for social services and foster care by teaching parenting skills and communication skills so that children can remain in their home of origin. Rather than seeing sex education as the responsibility of public education, I would offer training sessions to parents on how to inform their children and guide them toward healthy choices. And, significantly, I would measure success more by harmonious homes, than by a well-paying career. Feminists may consider this form of thinking as regressive, but in reality it is thinking long term about the future well-being of our society. One of the main plagues of our society today is addictions. Supportive families are significant in preventing addictions and helping the next generation to succeed.

Increasingly women are losing their choice of being home with their children. Feminism tends to ignore the benefit of a two parent home. We cannot remove fathers from the equation. If we set up society so that we divorce women from their responsibility as wives and mothers, then we may in time end up in a place where all but the very wealthy will no longer have any choice but to work and abandon child rearing.

I wonder if I am missing a big part of the picture of what is happening with the feminist movement. Maybe the bottom line is the money that is pouring into the coffers in the name of healthcare and education and human rights and the eradication of poverty. Or maybe there is a worldview that feminists feel they need to advance. Perhaps the focus, contrary to what I hoped to believe, is not really on what is best for women and their families. I have to ask whether feminism was possibly inexorably flawed from the start by excluding men from the needs of women?

I can only align myself with feminists in as far as I understand and support their views. I am currently looking for more evidence that feminists embrace the significance of the primary roles of a woman as a wife and mother. I see this as the basis of feminism, if feminism is indeed advocating for the welfare of the whole woman, as I have believed

Posted in Depression, faith, Health, mental health

Staying in my Happy Place

This morning I awoke in my Happy Place. It felt like the world was right. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. I wasn’t overwhelmed by any anxiety. I didn’t have a sense of doom. I wasn’t worried.

When we want to have good mental health it is important to have a measuring point. It is important to identify how we feel when things are going well. My Happy Place, for me, is my measuring mark. It is the place I try to be most consistently in my life. I try not to fall too far below this mark and when I do, I make an effort to get back there.

In order to repeatedly experience my Happy Place I find I have to know what good things happened to make me feel this way? What did I do differently?

Some of the things that contribute to my Happy Place are a good diet, time spent outdoors, and being in the presence of family and friends.

Things that rob me of my sense of well-being are injustice in the world, family conflicts and the threat of losing what is precious to me.

In the same way that I identify what happened to make me feel peaceful and joyful, I also need to figure out what happens that makes me lose my sense of well-being.

I find it helpful to write down whatever I can think of that impacted my emotions in a negative way. Then I put a box around it.

When I write things down, I can see clearly what I have to watch out for. I have a limited amount of time and energy and I cannot allow these things to absorb a disproportional share. In other words, I need to be careful about how much time and energy I spend interacting with them. I am the one who has the most control over how these particular disturbances impact me.

On this list of stressors are some things I can do something about, and other things over which I have little or no influence. Because I am a praying woman, I commit to God the things I cannot change. And then I pray for wisdom and guidance regarding the things I can change.

Maintaining a peaceful life feels good, but it is also necessary for our health. Anxiety and worry and distress cause all sorts of difficulties in our bodies such as high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and even reduced immunity. Stress can also cause people to resort to unhealthy and addictive behaviors and this is another reason why it is good to identify our stressors and learn to manage them.

When I write down the troubling things in my life, I am giving them a name and creating a bit of distance between me and them, enough to take an objective look at them.

This is one of the ways I organize my life. When our lives feel stressed it is often because we feel out of control. Our lives become chaotic. Chaos makes us uneasy. We naturally want to be in control of our lives.

When we see our stressors in front of us in this way, life becomes more predictable. A more predictable life gives us a greater sense of control. A greater sense of control leads to greater peace of mind.

Blocking, or burying things, by refusing to think about them, means that they can pop up unexpectedly and throw our lives into disorder or chaos. That is the reason why I like to be aware of what is going on inside me, particularly the things disturbing me. I like to identify and corral the enemy in this box.

At the other end of the page that contains the box with the things in it that are stressors, I draw another box that represents the good feelings I have when I am happy with my life. It includes the things that contribute to these good feelings. In this way I can keep track of what gives me a sense of well-being.

You may need to wait and watch for your Happy Place to happen–that place where you have a general feeling of well-being. Once you recognize the exact feelings you have, you can begin to try and prolong this good feeling. Make it last an hour, a day. Try and make it happen more frequently.

I draw third box between the box of stressors on the left, and my happiness box on the right, and in it I write action steps I will take. These are the things I believe I can do to make my life better and to stay on track. Sometimes I can’t do much, but I can do a little. Doing a little, now and then, starts to add up over time.

One of the keys for me to be in my Happy Place has been to find out exactly what the “little things” are that I can do well. Not what others expect me to do. Not even my expectations of myself, because I will often put far too much on myself. But just those small things that I feel a gentle nudge to do, things that are a good fit for me in terms of my character and ability.

Years ago I read a book about the difference between faith and presumption. I realized that I had presumed a lot of things were my responsibility when they were not. Faith gives us only as much responsibility as we are meant to carry. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we find the yoke that is tailor-made made for us then our burden becomes much lighter and easier. The truth is that as long as we are in this life we will have burdens to bear, but they don’t have to crush us.

Peace is probably the word that best describes what I feel when I am in my Happy Place. I have found that I need to pursue peace. Things will always happen to disrupt my peace and then I have to begin my journey back by recognizing the place I want to be, acknowledging the things that are hindering me, and committing to doing what I can do to make a difference.

Posted in mental health

Emotion Regulation – Coping Skills

What do you do when current world events overwhelm you?

Turn off and tune out?

Post a rant?

Get drunk?

Cancel your internet?

Become a recluse?

Build a bomb shelter?

Move to Whitehorse?

This year I have experienced a kind of rage and sorrow I have rarely ever felt before in response to what is happening in the world. I get particularly emotionally distraught when bad news involves children. I want to cover my ears and shut my eyes. I want to run away somewhere and escape. Other days I feel more militant and I won’t go into that.

But do you know that it is actually a good thing to have these feelings?

I had to tell myself that.

We want to numb ourselves, and we need to distract ourselves for a time, even protect ourselves, but what would be much worse than these feelings of outrage and distress would be to feel nothing. There’s actually a name for that and it is a mental disorder. It is called psychopathy and means lacking conscience and empathy. Much of the evil we see is perpetrated by people who suffer from this disorder.

When we were little we were taught, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This has been called The Golden Rule and it is from the Bible. The Golden Rule teaches us empathy. It teaches us how to live in this world. Since we don’t normally want to be hurt, we shouldn’t hurt others either.

We feel outrage, and hurt, and sorrow when we hear about people who violate the way we believe we are to behave in this world. These feelings show that we are caring humans, so we need to keep on having them.

However, we need to learn to manage our feelings so that we can still continue on with life.

What we need to learn is “emotion regulation” – how to manage our feelings so that we do not remain in a constant state of emotional arousal.

Much of what we hear in the news causes us to be angry on behalf of others, or fearful of how it might affect us. We begin to experience fear when it gets a little closer to home and to those we love. If there is a real threat of harm we may actually need to take protective measures. I’m not going to talk about that here. I am just going to talk about how to deal with those unpleasant feelings.

Here are some things I suggest, which I have started to do. Some will not be new to you.

GET CONTROL OF YOUR MIND

  1. Take a step back. Whatever that looks like. Take some time away from the situation that is causing agitation. Create a bit of distance. We can always come back to it later, when we feel more calm, to take another look.
  2. Admit that bad things will happen. This is not a just world. Sometimes people are evil. I found this hard to do. I did not want to say that people are evil. I wanted to continue to live in a sort of utopia, thinking the best of others. But once I faced it, I actually felt some tension dissipate.
  3. Acknowledge that some things might not turn out well (or as we had wished), even in the long run. But don’t give up hope.
  4. Realize that people will get hurt. Some people will die. Someone close to you is likely going to get hurt at some point, or die. Think about this for a moment and prepare in advance for it, so you are not taken totally by surprise. As my mom says, if we are alive we are also a “candidate for death.” Lol! (She worked in palliative home care so she treats death a bit more lightly than most of us.)
  5. It might look like the bad guys are winning, but it’s only for awhile. My husband reminds me that God will have the final say on that last day. I didn’t find this very comforting, but at least there is that.
  6. It’s OK to be upset and it’s good to be honest about just how badly upset I am. At the same time, I am the only one who can calm myself down. I have to learn to do this, because my health, my welfare, and my sanity all depend on my being able to it. For my own good, I have to learn how to regulate my emotions.

FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

There are other things we can do like meditation, exercise, engaging in uplifting activities. It’s up to us to search and find what we need. But much of the work happens in our heads–the place where we decide how to respond. Rather than a runaway train, we can be at the controls, deciding where we go and at what speed.

CONSIDER BEING AN AGENT OF CHANGE

After we take a break, create some distance for awhile, and collect ourselves, we might want to think about exactly why a certain issue is so strongly affecting our emotions. Is it possible that this may be a sign of an area where we can make some difference, great or small?

If we want to get involved there are things we can do. Sometimes I write letters, sign petitions, or talk to people. We can also join marches or demonstrations, volunteer with organizations, raise funds, donate, and vote. We owe it to ourselves and the world to regulate our emotions in order to be strong in battle.

PRAY

I want to emphasize the importance of prayer. Prayer can bring comfort to your own heart. I also find certain scriptures to be reassuring, particularly the Psalms. I have witnessed remarkable answers to prayer and I believe that prayer can move mountains.

KEEP ON LIVING

Although we may not engage directly in righting wrongs, there is always the necessity for people to affect change by setting an honorable example. Many amazing people are simply going to work every day, caring for their families, and being good citizens. They ought to make the news now and then.

Learning how to regulate our emotions will mean that we are able to function optimally and have a sense of being in control of our lives.

We want to be of “sound mind,” able to think clearly and evaluate objectively.

We want to run the control panel of our lives.

I, for one, have realized that this can take some work. But after working at this for awhile, I no longer find myself with runaway emotions. I have realized I can put the brakes on.

Posted in Love, Marriage & Family

That Loving Feeling – Believe in Your Marriage

joel carter photoThere was a time when you and your partner felt so in love, and thought so highly of each other, that you wanted to commit yourselves to spending the rest of your lives together.

Can you still remember those feelings? What impressed you about your partner? What drew you together? Memories like this can act like glue when you hit rougher seas and most marriages will experience some turbulent times.

What is it that makes some marriages more likely to thrive than others? I think I can safely say that it is an ongoing sense of admiration and wonder. Admiration and wonder over being together.

There’s an old song that goes, “You’ve lost that loving feeling.” The lyrics and the melody are heart wrenching, especially the part that says, “We had a love, a love you don’t find every day.” A beautiful thing is falling apart. It is a song of deep regret and longing.

The echo of love is ringing through the song. The singer doesn’t want to let go. This kind of love should never fail.

We often don’t see what we have until it is lost. I think of all the divorcees who later say, “If only….”

A break in a relationship can always be traced back to an incident, however small. A conflict or a disappointment. You thought your partner would behave one way, and they behaved another.

Something surprising happened. Something unexpected. Something that cast your partner in a new light, a less positive one.

And, as a result there was hurt. Maybe slight hurt. Or maybe a very deep injury. And, if it was not addressed and resolved, the hurt was carried for days, maybe years.

Chances are that the surprise happened again. And again. Along with other disappointing surprises. They accumulated.

Maybe you didn’t handle the dissappointment so well. People who are hurt often don’t. Perhaps the inciting incident resulted in a vicious circle of blame and recrimination. As a result the pain was multiplied exponentially.

Or. you went off alone, without saying anything, to lick your wounds. You withdrew, as a form of protection, and it became a pattern.

Injury in a marriage is very real and very deep. The one you loved and trusted hurt you. The one you thought would have your back, turned on you. The one you entrusted your life to, suddenly seemed uncaring and insensitive. This is extremely difficult to reconcile because the emotions around the incident are so intense, especially when one person decides that the other person was, or is, uncaring.

This kind of experience can plunge a person into a lonely pit of despair. Often couples don’t know how to climb out of this place and, tragically, in time they give up on the relationship.

You want to catch your relationship before it falls to this low point because your marriage is worth saving

I think the biggest cry in a relationship is, “You don’t get it.” In other words, I wasn’t trying to hurt you. You don’t understand what I need from you. You are getting it wrong.

If we go back and very slowly and carefully unravel our early discord, we will probably find, to our surprise, that the intentions of the other person who hurt us were not as mean as we thought. There may have been some carelessness involved, some inattentiveness, some misunderstanding. But, chances are that there was no malicious intent because malice is something that builds over time, after repeated injury.

He did it again. Or she did it again. Repetition reinforces the thought that the other person does not care.

This is where we begin to lose our wonder and admiration.

Old hurts from other relationships might surface and blur the image of the person you once wanted to marry (a bully, for example, or a harsh parent). Or they lose their glow in light of other idealized images (when compared with a past flame or an attentive parent).

We all want to keep “that loving feeling.” Just, how do we do it?

We have to find a way. We have to believe there is a way.

We need to be creative, and go back, again, and again, and work at resolving issues, trying different approaches.

We have to pray, and dialogue (talk about it). Analyze (pull it apart and look at it and figure it out). We have to target issues. We have to assimilate (add new information and fit it all together) and reframe (put the pieces together differently for a new meaning). We have to agonize and pray some more. We have to reiterate (go back and repeat).

We have to fight. Both partners need to engage in the fight for their marriage and believe they can make this work.

We can get back that loving feeling. It is possible. I have seen it done multiple times.

We were brought together for a reason and we were meant to stay together. We have to keep this vision of a long term future together. We will endure and prevail.

Yes, some relationships have to end. But not yours. Not if you are willing to work on it.

Abuse is the only valid reason to leave a relationship. The unrelentingly unwillingness to work on solutions destroys hope and once hope is gone, the unhappy alternative is to live in a loveless relationship or make an exit. This, however, does not need to be your story. There are plenty of redemptive stories of marriages where the loving feeling was recovered.

If your partner is asking for change, take it very seriously. Because this is your chance to do something that could be the salvation of your marriage. If one partner’s request for change goes on and on, for years without acknowledgement, then the fabric of the relationship will gradually deteriorate. And when your eyes are finally opened, it may be a case of there being too little invested too late. So take the request for change seriously.

Marriage requires requires constant adjustment and willingness to change.

Can you change? Do you know in what exact ways you need to change? Can you openly ask, what do you want from me? Because, it is worth doing what you can to get the loving feeling back.

The loving feeling is what both of you want and need. You must pursue it, consciously, or stand the risk of losing it.

 

 

 

Posted in Communication, Social Media

Why You Shouldn’t Go Off of Facebook and What You Should Do Instead

I am giving you permission to stay on FB. I don’t know if you need that permission or not. But if you have been feeling overwhelmed, or obsessive, or guilty about your FB use, then you might want to read on.

The first reason why you shouldn’t go off of FB is because you like keeping up with what your friends are doing. You scroll down the NewsFeed and you see something funny, someone’s unique sense of humor, and it makes you laugh. Then a little further down you read that someone has a health challenge and maybe you make a short encouraging comment. You read further and see that your friend is expecting a baby. Yay! You congratulate her. And so on….

You enjoy FB or you would not be spending so much time on it.

The second reason is, believe it or not, just like you take an interest in your friends, they take an interest in you. Now, not everybody is diplomatic and understanding and some posts are downright offensive. It is not FB’s fault. It is the fault of your friends. But, I suspect that most of your interactions are actually pretty positive and you enjoy them, and others enjoy you. Your friends liked that humorous post you found, and The Happy Birthday banner you posted, or the Memories you shared. Maybe you posted your artwork or a craft you did. Your friends enjoy seeing what you are up to.

Keeping up with your friends and letting them keep up with you are the two most important reasons to stay on FB. If you honestly do need a break, then FB has an option called, “Deactivate.” This means your account will not be shut down forever. You can still see it but others can’t. You can do this while you think about whether you permanently want to go off FB.

However, I have a few ideas you might want to try before your deactivate, or–hopefully not–quit altogether. But first let’s take a look at some possible reasons you might be thinking of going off of FB.

You might have heard that FB is bad and that they are censoring stuff and limiting what people can see, even good stuff. That could be true. But FB is a tool. It is something you can use to satisfy your own purposes. It does not control what you do. Usually. I know there is the legitimate fear that something you post might be deemed offensive by FB and FB itself might shut you down. But that is a problem that has been experienced by a select few. The FB team tries to censor the bad stuff and they go overboard sometimes. But, for the most part, you are safe, if you behave reasonably decently on FB.

You might also be put off by the ads, and believe me, I am. But you can ignore them. There are even settings you can access to limit certain ads. I’ve limited a lot of ads. Whenever I see something that offends me, or that I am tired of seeing, I click the pull down menu on the right of the ad and indicate I don’t want to see any more of this. Of course I can’t control the very fact that there are ads, so I move on quickly. In this way I control my FB experience, to a great degree.

Some things you have no control over, like hackers, unfortunately. Anyone who has been a victim of hacking has felt violated and I can understand this. There is little we can do to defend ourselves. We can simply explain to our friends and march bravely on.

One important way to control your FB experience is to pay careful attention to who your friends are. If necessary, un-follow them if they constantly drag you down. At worst you can un-friend them. But this has caused numerous hurt feelings, so it’s probably best to un-follow, since they can’t tell if you un-follow.

You can also click “hide post,” if you don’t like someone’s post. I recently discovered that it is a good idea to click “hide post” after I make a comment on a post, like a “Happy Birthday” and I don’t want fifty notifications of others who have also wished this person a Happy Birthday.

You have a lot of control over your FB activity. That being said, you might still want to get off FB because it is consuming too much of your time.

Well, how about considering a few other options first. Here are some ideas.

  1. Take a one day “FB fast” every week.
  2. Go on FB to relax, like during a coffee break or in the evening.
  3. Go on FB every other day.
  4. Have short FB sessions of 5-10 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day.
  5. Have less frequent longer sessions and set a time limit, say one hour.
  6. Don’t go on FB when there are other people around.
  7. Go on FB only once you have completed certain chores.

In other words, craft FB around your life, around what makes sense to you. You still want the pleasure of interacting, but you don’t want FB to interfere with being your present with others in your daily life, or to stop you from doing the things that matter, or become a substitute for meeting face to face.

I find FB is great for keeping up with friends who live far away. For me that happens to be most of my friends. At one point I almost closed my account but then I reflected on how much I would lose. I thought of all those faces, all the people I want to keep up with, and I changed my mind. My reason for wanting to get off of FB was not so much the time I spent on FB, as it was my frustration with changes to FB which reduced my ability to interact with friends as effectively as I used to. But, alas, FB is not a perfect medium of communication.

Instead of leaving FB, I focused on ways I could continue to use FB as a great way to keep in touch.

So, think it over. You might be able to modify your FB use and not quit completely. But if you still find it is taking over your life and making you miserable, what can I say? The decision is yours. All the best!