Since I’ve gotten away from a lot of toxic and extremist social media stuff, I’ve started to realize what my own true opinions are — uninfluenced by others — on political and other world things.
I don’t think people realize how much their decisions are influenced by trends and what’s popular to scream about or share. A shocking article title, which is the point of them, when shared widely, starts a scary trend without people actually reading it, or people read others’ opinions first before delving into the article. It colors your own opinion because it’s fresh in your mind, rather you’ll admit to that or not, and in all honesty, we as a species love drama and to be upset over things because anger and upset are powerful emotions to feel. Speaking to psychology on that, anger is addictive. That’s a known fact.
I’m not exempt from feeding into this stuff in the past, either.
This is coming from someone who has both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder that are, thankfully, better managed as I grow older. Trust me when I say I know all about extreme emotions and sensitivity. Emotions are a nightmare for me, and anger was one that made me feel like I could do anything. Getting rid of extremist social media articles and things has significantly helped me recover.
Often, people’s upsets are a bit misdirected and we end up tearing each other apart instead of listening to reason because ‘the masses say it too!’ Of course, there are certain things we should be upset about and we should signal boost certain people and things to raise awareness, but insulting and putting others down in activism for petty things is not the way to do it. It’s not going to get the other side to listen. That has become new-age activism. Aggression breeding aggression instead of understanding breeding understanding. We insult people for not doing their own research instead of just giving them the damn information we already have.
Guess what? Nine out of ten times when I’ve spoon-fed people information instead of insulting them, they’ve shut the hell up and stopped frothing at the mouth. Those who don’t want to listen to reason aren’t worth my, or your, time. No amount of arguing will change their minds and it just becomes a wasted day resulting in exhaustion.
Because I’ve removed myself from extremism and focused on facts, I feel healthier mentally. I only get my news directly from official sources and I’ve blocked out as much propaganda as I can, including anything that is too emotional in tone concerning current events with my news. Activism is still important and I am an activist in the ways I can be, by having my gender identity as a trans man visible where it can be, voting, and making posts about things publicly to educate or point out a problem with something.
In the end, though, I rely on facts instead of opinions. I look into anything that seems overly emotional and I research for myself so I can spread facts instead of misinformation. When you hear something shocking or a rumor, look into it. Don’t post about it and then look into it.
Stop spreading hearsay and don’t automatically conform to mass outrage unless you’ve found a legitimate reason for it.
Obligatory internet disclaimer: This is just what I’ve learned from my own experiences. I’m not woke or giving a hot take. I’m just saddened by the state of America and frustrated by the people in it, and I’m too exhausted to be up in arms 24/7 over every tiny little thing. I’ve got more important shit to worry about like writing books, voting when I can to actually make a difference, and keeping my own trans ass safe.