How To Delete Your Way To a Better Life
This week I learned to delete text messages.
The event that prompted this was a heated text exchange with a friend in which mean things were said – on my part and on theirs. After I read the messages, I thought aloud “this is not how we talk to each other” and I deleted them.
Experientially and instinctively I knew that if I kept these messages I would look at them again and again, fomenting resentment and anger towards a beloved friend – so I deleted them.
Then the deletions continued.
I deleted months worth of texts.
Not all text messages.
Just some…quite a bit actually…most of them, to be quite honest.
Just the ones trying to sell me something or the ones where I unwisely got into a text message fight or send a text to an ex in a desperate attempt to see “what are you doing?” at 1130 on a random Tuesday night.
Not the ones from people telling me thank you for helping them with the thing. Also not the ones where I text myself instructions on something or some witty/funny/insightful thing that turned out to be not that witty/funny/insightful.
Also not the ones with the screen cap of the hilarious/horrifying Grindr message or the ones that remind me of the time that I did something pretty awesome and I sent a picture of it to someone.
You’re smart, you know what to delete…
While we are on the subject of deleting text messages, lets talk about social media – Facebook, Instagam, Twitter, etc. Despite the very real things we hear about social media – that it’s a time suck, that it’s where human decency goes to die, that no good has or will ever come of it – I think that social media, like anything, is equal parts terrible and wonderful. You can follow/unfollow the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis, national park accounts and numerous cute dogs and cats and sloths on Twitter as easily as you can racist/sexist/terrible Twitter accounts.
The same goes for Instagram. There are plenty of amazing Instagrammers to follow. People who post hilarious and random and witty and wise stuff. You can learn a lot on Instagram about fitness and diet and style use it to help formulate travel plans and the like.
I don’t say this without a slight bit of embarrassment: Instagram is an oddly supportive place for people, who like me, are in recovery from drugs and alcohol or those with mental health challenges. We can go there to find inspiration or hope or whatever we need in dark moments.
Then there is Facebook – this little, not so little app that is so near and dear and weird to our hearts. Almost everyone I know has drama or codependency started or exacerbated by Facebook. Racist kin or distant former schoolmates or coworkers that you saw once at the company picnic – these people who you have nothing in common with anymore – friend you just to friend you.
Most of these folks, trust me, were you to unfriend them, wouldn’t notice at all.
This isn’t a call to begin purging your electronic devices and social media accounts of anyone who doesn’t agree with you lock, stock and barrel.
Am I going to unfollow/unfriend/block everyone that posts something contrary to my worldview? No, of course I am not.
The only thing I know is that I don’t know everything and I intentionally engage people with whom I disagree in an effort to learn and debate and grow.
This is more of a gentle reminder that we give permission to what and whom we allow into our souls and minds and bodies and homes and lives and that if someone or something doesn’t challenge and support and nurture you then they or it can be deleted.
Do it with abandon and intention until your communications and social media and life are filled with nurturing, supportive and challenging people and posts.