Hopeful people spread waves of possibilities into our lives through positive social posts. Here’s how to be one and how to love one.

A new meme is floating around Facebook, making fun of people sharing happy posts. The suspicion appears to be that some may be hiding, or manipulating the facts of their lives. To this I say, who cares? While I value honesty, I also appreciate a partner who protects their love by keeping private things private. I’m a realist. I get life is hard, it’s pretty adept at hurling wrenches and barbells, and the temptation is to immediately grab the social megaphone when the boat rocks, but respecting the sanctity of a relationship’s boundaries cannot be underestimated.

I started with the book of Face in 2008, and a quick trip back through my timeline reveals I lingered over thoughts of broken yard tools and fussed with my much younger kids— two are now out of the house. Facebook was a mystery with new members hesitantly plucking minutiae from their lives to broadcast. Then people began to figure it out and public opinion surged through the gates. Soon we’d learned what got attention, what returned joy from letting loose in a rant, how to vaguebook, what kind of message to craft in order to fit in with the world, to keep up with the Jones’ on a whole different platform. I was sucked into the social black hole like everyone else, played out my divorce on those pages accessible to any pervert or prude, lamented love lost and proclaimed over my new squeeze (spoiler alert: the Otter) with too much TMI. To my friends who are reading this, I’m sorry, your apology is long overdue!

Before my relationship with the Otter, my other, I had never grasped the need to protect. But I do with him. I weigh what I share and why I decide to make personal matters public. If I’m not confident about sharing our deets, I ask him. Some might accuse me of going overboard, or ceding control, but the fact is no one has any right to your relationship except the two people in it. You don’t have to justify your need for discretion to anyone either. Shouldn’t the couple going through normal strife turn to each other to resolve their issues?

It’s no coincidence discretion is the better part of valor.

This rationale extends beyond the pair as well. Your problem relative was arrested again? Your friend with the ongoing custody battle? It’s no coincidence discretion is the better part of valor. Because it takes nerve to deal with things internally, to resist hearing a symphony of me-toos you know will make you feel better for a short while. Bravery means wielding your emotional sword and waging your own battles. It means discovering your strength and valuing the quiet taking over your soul when you meditate on your life.

It means being courageous enough to hear your own fears.

You need guts to stay silent as you work through the various stages of your life, and you need willpower to control your self talk so you can operate as a stronger, more resilient person, on your own, or with your partner.

Test it out. When you’re swept away by emotion due to a bad day at work, or a misunderstanding with a relative that has your feathers in a bunch, still your fingers over the keyboard and shush your mind. Focus to become deliberate with your thinking and work on detaching emotionally from that which has you charged up. This may take a while. Maybe even days. You may start out manic and rash, your thoughts running all over the place, then you will feel yourself level down as sanity returns and heightened passions abate. It’s practice, but the old saying goes if you change your behavior 19 times in a row, you have reformed the habit. Your emotional response is a learned reaction, which gradually shapes a habit.

On the flip side, what you learn from your own psychic explorations will create meaningful lessons you will remember, ones which you can use in the future.

Once you’re back on solid mental footing, consider how you feel. Calmer? More optimistic? Life is full of real moments and we get through them by going deep and digging up the resources to make it another day. The banter received from our Facebook friends can sometimes be superficial and when that’s the case the gratitude is temporary. On the flip side, what you learn from your own psychic explorations will create meaningful lessons you will remember, ones which you can use in the future.

We need hope and we need to learn to love and appreciate hopeful people because it’s a hard way to live.

Hope? Hope is a blanket panacea pulling us from one moment to the next. Hope is the engine fueling a machine sometimes so weary it may break any second. We need hope and we need to learn to love and appreciate hopeful people because it’s a hard way to live.

When you see the next Facebook post proclaiming sunshine in what you suspect might be difficult  and stormy circumstances for a friend, internally praise them for having the strength to resolve issues without attention and an audience. Then send them a smile emoticon and rejoice as friends do over the good things occurring on the other side of the fence.

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Photo: Unedited/Flickr/Charles Henry

Original post appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission;

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