When Facebook Friends Die

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Everyone with a Facebook account has “friends”. What’s a friend? It’s a classmate from middle-school; when your American family was stationed in Germany back in the eighties. A “FBF” (Facebook friend) is often a real-life BFF (best friend forever), a close acquaintance, a current or former coworker, sometimes a sworn enemy whose status you’d like to observe; an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, a college roommate, a cousin, a mother, the majority of your highschool graduating class, or even your child.

Then there are the STRANGERS. Those people who, ironically, are not so strange at all. You discover that you enjoy interacting with a new person; a person that have never seen. For some reason, you find them worthy of interaction with you.

And then something happens in the course of daily living: After posting a witty or inspirational or funny or angry or insightful or raunchy or crude or whatever-particular-style-of-posting-you-have-come-to-expect-from-them “status,” the person dies. WTF and OMG. Let that sink in.

If it’s happened to you, then you’re familiar with the shock and bewilderment that can descend upon you as you scroll down the person’s page to read Rest in Peace postings from their acquaintances. Worse; the final declarations of love and the gut wrenching grief expressed by their closest friends and family members. And you follow suit, posting your virtual goodbye to a person who will never reply.

From YouTube to Twitter and Instagram, there are abundant ways to meet and interact with interesting people who stimulate our minds, teach us things, intrigue and attract us, repulse and disgust us, and etc. People who spend hours on social media each day become accustomed to seeing the same faces. But when one of your favorites actually succumbs to illness or injuries and dies, what are you supposed to do?

1. Identify and accept your feelings.
You can grieve for whomever you please, whether you knew them in actuality or online. When popular vlogger Domineque Banks succumbed to lupus on April 9, 2014, hundreds of thousands of people felt the sting of shock and in their own way, grief. It’s natural to grieve after the death of someone you know; whether in real life or online. Give yourself permission to feel shock, grief and loss. Express these emotions to your close friends and loved ones who will understand.

2. Remember the Good Times
If you feel dismayed at the passing of a beloved FBF, take the time to consciously appreciate the things you liked or remembered most about the person. Treasure the videos, photos, posts and comments; screenshot or print them in remembrance of your FBF.

3. GET CLOSURE
If possible, find the person’s obituary, research the cause of death, express your condolences and attend any memorial or funeral services if it’s practical to do so. You may be surprised at what you learn about the person once you’ve heard his or her eulogy or met their family members. And grieving families might appreciate knowing that their loved one was loved by many more people than they ever knew!

4. Evaluate Life and FOCUS on Important Matters

No one expects to die suddenly; a few hours after Instagramming a picture of their lunch. But in some cases, life is short. Death forces us to remember this fact. What can you learn from the death? What will it take for you to seize the day(s)? How much time do YOU have left. Pose these hard questions to yourself and honestly assess your priorities, timeline and goals.

Grief is never typical; each person’s grief is unique. Likewise, we each grieve differently for celebrities, friends and family, and yes–social media acquaintances. When a social media friend dies, there isn’t any oneway to react or respond. Simply listen to and process your emotions, cultivate gratitude for having known of the person, then ascertain the story of what happened and apply the life experience of your social media friend to that of your own life; helping you begin your personal grief process and continue on without your friend. Because life goes on; regardless of how you feel. Live well.

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Stop Caring What Others Think

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Everyone cares what others think. From the cars we drive to the neighborhoods where we choose to live, every choice we make is inspired by the latest trends on “what’s in style.” Although people take pride in maintaining social standards like driving newer, flashier cars and buying designer clothes, they are slow to admit how much other people’s opinions affect their daily lives.

SUPPRESSION. How many times have you bitten your tongue because you don’t want so-and-so to hear you use profanity, affirm or contradict your religious views or political position?

YES-MAN / YES-WOMAN. How often do you agree to do things; go to parties, outings, gatherings and etc., simply because you fear the inviter’s reaction if you say no?

POINT-PROVER. Or maybe you’re the person who always argues with store clerks, because they always follow you around the store, because they always think you’re stealing. Quite a few many disagreements can be avoided if we stop and realize that we have absolutely nothing to prove to random people we encounter each day.

WHAT WILL THEY SAY IF… For example, a young man was teased for wearing the color pink. As he grew older, pink became fashionably acceptable to his peers. The young man receives a designer polo shirt in the color pink, as a birthday gift. Instead of being grateful, He ridicules and insults his girlfriend, who innocently believed he would appreciate the gift. Does he like the shirt? Yes he does. But in his mind, he can’t wear it. Because in his mind, he’s still a prisoner of other people’s thoughts. He laughs at his girlfriend and taunts her openly. She believes him to be a total jerk and a creep, when actually, he is just a wounded person using the only defense mechanism he knows.

A womanizer is a man who uses multiple woman to make himself feel more dominant, clever, attractive, and therefore, secure.

A womanizer is a man who uses multiple woman to make himself feel more dominant, clever, attractive, and therefore, secure.

I WANT TO BE NOTICED. Think of all the back-shots (pictures of asses) and cleavage photos that women post on Facebook. What’s the motivation? To grab the attention of someone else. Think about the man who loves his woman or man, yet pretends to be an insensitive asshole because he wants to impress his friends…

Unless you're a model...EVEN IF you're a model, posting shots like this on facebook is a cry for attention and an indication or poor self-esteem. "Maybe they'll notice me if I do this..." STOP!

Unless you’re a model…EVEN IF you’re a model, posting shots like this on Facebook is a cry for attention and an indication of poor self-esteem. “Maybe they’ll notice me if I do this…” STOP!

“This doesn’t apply to me. I don’t care what other people think! I post pics of my ass for MYSELF…” Yeah right. Everyone says they’re totally confident, but how many of us really mean it? We’ve all been wounded and hurt. No one feels 100% fabulous all the time. Everyone cares about their image. We all want to be perceived as intelligent, attractive, healthy, wealthy and wise. The most insecure people go out of their way to make sure everyone knows how great they are.

Some of us go a step further. Not only do we want a good reputation, but we want to be envied. This type of person is always complaining about jealousy, when no one is actually jealous of her. When you hear a person discuss how many haters he or she has, and the person discusses it with pride, while doing and saying things to encourage more envy, you’ve just witnessed a highly insecure person in action. Some people want to be hated because it makes them feel successful.

Womens' insecurities often prevent them from having healthy relationships with other women.

Women’s insecurities often prevent them from having healthy relationships with other women.

Living your life to impress other people always backfires. Most of the time, everyone can see through vain attempts at getting attention. Likewise, censoring your thoughts and beliefs to impress others is a bad idea. If everyone around you would be shocked at your authentic, I censored personality, it’s time to get some new friends. Sure, you could come out of the closet and start living your life out loud in front of everyone you know, but wouldn’t it be easier to simply walk away from those who don’t accept you and concentrate on attracting people who do?

How to Feel Comfortable In Any Situation. There is a simple way to live your life without seeking others’ approval. The next time you’re at a party, feeling self-conscious, ask yourself this question: What could someone walk up to me and say right now to make me feel better? Use your imagination. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone walked up to you and said, “this is a nice party and you look great. Not everyone knows each other yet, but by the end if the night, we’ll all be having a great time. I love your dance moves. It’s nice to meet you. Here, let’s have a drink.”

To feel comfortable and secure at any time, just take whatever you want to be said in a given situation, and say it to yourself. Here’s another example: A girl gets a new haircut and feels a little iffy about how she looks. All it would take, would be for the most popular girl in school to walk up and say, I love your hair! But the true power lies within the girl with the new haircut. Before she heads off to school, she should look herself in the mirror and say, I love your hair! This boost of confidence increases the chances that she will be well-received at school by everyone else!

Bullies, even adult ones, are insecure.

Bullies, even adult ones, are insecure.

When we stop trying to impress everyone else, we are open to operate at our full level of energy and potential. It’s not hard to ignore others! Sometimes it’s best to focus on yourself and how you feel. How can you create the life of your dreams if your thoughts are all, “I know Susan thinks my shoes are ugly…she’s so skinny….I HATE her…” ?! Maybe your destructive thoughts aren’t that explicit. Sometimes, self-consciousness can be sneaky. If you have a burning desire to make all your friends, associates and even strangers jealous of your success, you have a problem. If you believe everyone thinks you’re an ugly duckling, you have the same problem! Work on channeling your thoughts into positive things, and accepting your inner and outer beauty, however it manifests itself.

You are perfect.

You are perfect.

Don’t ever let random, negative, self-conscious thoughts dictate your life! Control your thoughts! The next time you catch yourself second-guessing your appearance and personality, stop those thoughts by giving yourself mental compliments. When you catch yourself doing things strictly to get attention, stop and evaluate your motives in life. It might be fun and popular to compete with others, or to see how many people you can trap in your web of attention and desire for praise, but it’s counterproductive. No one reaches and maintains a goal or position without the character and inner strength it takes to stay on top.

In other words, people who are hurt, hurt other people. And it makes no sense to gain everyone’s respect and admiration when it’s not the real you doing the work. Why? Because in the end, you’ll be caught trying to inspire competition and controversy to boost your ego, or the opposite;You will become consumed with self-consciousness and shrink away from opportunities for fear of being noticed and/or rejected. Sense that you need some self-love work? Get started today.

Where do you rank on a scale of one to ten, with one being totally self-conscious and bashful, five being a people-pleaser and attention seeker, and ten being an egomaniac who will sacrifice everything to feel like “the man”(or woman)? (hint: ideally you should shoot for 3 or 4.)