It’s not toxic to unfollow things you don’t want to see.
I recently wrote a post about how to enjoy social media for the long term. I talked about how one way to protect your peace is to unfollow/mute accounts that make you unhappy. I also added that I won’t just unfollow people who are having a bad day, especially if they’re friends I’ve connected with, since it happens to all of us (me included). I had a commenter who disagreed with this (and it’s totally okay to disagree with my posts), but she seemed to take it the wrong way, like I was judging people for having a bad day. This commenter said that what I wrote is toxic positivity and that it was rude of me to insinuate that people are still worth following if they had a bad day. In truth, telling someone that they should force themselves to endure negativity or disturbing content *is* a form of toxic positivity (Or just downright controlling). You have a right to control what you read or who you interact with online or in real life.
Setting boundaries is essential for mental health.
You are allowed to control what it is you see or don’t see on social media. Other than ads that pop up, you have the power to unfollow what you don’t want to see. Many of us set boundaries to maintain the peace we need in order to keep good mental health. There are some accounts that are just bad for one’s soul. I’m aware that my content could make someone else feel bad and if does, by all means don’t follow me. We all have different journeys and unique perspective and these can change as we go through life. I used to enjoy more melancholic mindsets and dark poetry, but those vibes no longer suit me. I’ve moved on (or grown) into other mindsets. Does that mean I’m judging the accounts I no longer follow? Not at all. They have a right to post their thoughts and feelings – and they should. Just because something isn’t right for me or for you, it isn’t suddenly invalidated.
Why I try not to post negative stuff.
I do my best to inspire others and I try not to post when I’m in a bad mood – my reasoning for this is because I know most people have their own problems and they don’t need to see my venting every time I have a bad or annoying moment. It’s tempting to want to voice discomfort, but from experience, I’ve noticed that venting seems to feed the negative feeling. Doing something fun, relaxing, or distracting seems to work better for myself and within a few hours, I’ll have forgotten about the earlier mishap entirely. Negative posts can be a mood killer, especially if someone is calling out something you like or enjoy doing – you never know how hard someone has worked to feel content again and sometimes seeing a bunch of negative stuff on social media can overthrow that. A certain post may not ruin your day per se, but it can throw you off or affect your mood. Also, since my following has grown, I feel a sense of responsibility over the people who like my content. I’m not a small account with an alias name, so I try to watch what I post. Do I vent sometimes? Yes. I try not to, but I do once in a blue moon, and I do lose followers when it happens. I just figure that if one post turned them off from following me then I wasn’t for them – or they didn’t want to see it and that’s OK. I don’t take unfollows personally. I have been up front about my past depression/struggles and something I really value is the ability to work past challenges and be a light to others as well as yourself. I take that very seriously. My hope is that someone’s life can improve for the better by following my content.
We’re not all the same.
Someone else might completely disagree with my mindset. That’s fine. I think we should let people do what they need to in order to enjoy their life – and some of us have things to work through, so overly motivational posts might feel obnoxious to them – and in that case, they should follow accounts that don’t cause further distress. Personally, it was the motivational and productive people who helped lift me out of negative mindsets, but everyone’s different. Not everyone is ready for that type of thing.
I know some people who get rid of certain apps entirely to protect their mental health and I think that’s a wise idea if you feel you need to. Setting good boundaries is so key to living a content, peaceful life. No app is a necessity in your life. You can get rid of any app any time if you don’t think it’s adding good to your life. Social media is a tool and if it’s not working for you, no guilt in getting rid of it.
The thing that’s stopped me from doing this is following people who make me excited to be on the app. You don’t need to follow anything that hurts your soul. Just because something is popular or seems good, it doesn’t mean you need to subscribe to it. I tend to unfollow overly positive accounts in addition to the negative/depressing accounts. I’m someone who thrives off balance – some realism, appreciation for the small things, and overall encouraging messages. My mindset is more in the “hopeful realist” category. Some people might find this annoying or too high energy. Others even find me too negative (It’s actually happened before! lol). In that case, I prefer they simply unfollow me as opposed to arguing with me or posting rude comments. You’re allowed to bow out without a fight.
Know your purpose for being on social media.
My objective with apps has always been to either inspire, share my writing, grow my author brand, or be inspired. Not everyone is on social media for that purpose – some people may want to stay small and unknown. That’s totally okay. We can support others’ journeys even if they don’t line up with our own – and an unfollow isn’t necessarily a slight or a diss. It just means that the account doesn’t appeal to that particular person. And the point in removing things that don’t make you happy is so you can be a more relaxed, happy person yourself. Life can be challenging and we all work hard in our own way, so I don’t see the point in making it harder by consuming content that is upsetting to you. There are some things we need to recognize – such as health emergencies like Covid or oncoming natural disasters. But social media? Psh. That’s like the dessert of your day. You shouldn’t force yourself to eat a tart if you prefer cake (or vice versa).
I hope that most of my rambling made some sense. Sometimes as I’m walking, a certain concept will enter my mind then I write it out. I was thinking about this topic for a while – balancing a healthy mindset on social media without hurting others. Inevitably, some people will be offended if you don’t want to follow them or interact. Heck, some people will hate everything about and what you do. You can’t be all things to all people – so let that guilt go. Remember that the only people who will be upset at you for setting boundaries are the ones who benefit from you not having any.
Unfollow accounts that aren’t good for your mindset and block people if they’re getting intrusive or abusive. And don’t forget to enjoy your experience. I love Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress. (Tik tok isn’t so bad either, but be careful with the endless “for you” page – it can suck up an hour of your time without warning. I try to use that one sparingly!) I’m lucky I’ve found great people to follow on social media and we support one another as best we can. As always, thanks so much for reading my blog!