The plan for Love Not Fear is to mobilize people to change our culture in ways big and small so that there’s less fear and more love, but we know that any meaningful change starts from within, so we’ll be working on tools to help us as individuals and families recalibrate the balance of fear and hope in our lives. The new emoticons that Facebook released last week give us a good chance to start down that road. Here are two easy exercises you can do right now (or the next time you get on Facebook).
Awareness (super easy)
- Before you check Facebook, take a moment to reflect, on a scale of 1-10, how you feel about the world around you, with 1 being consumed by fear and anger and 10 being consumed by hope and love. Jot the number at the top of a piece of scratch paper.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes (or whatever number you think is reasonable)
- Then as you scroll through your feed, use the new emoticons to mark the posts that you react to with anger or fear (with the angry emoticon) or ones that you react to with hope or love (with the love emoticon). Each time, put a tally mark in the corresponding column.
- When your timer goes off, close your eyes and reflect again on how you feel about the world around you with the same 1-10 scale. Jot that number at the bottom of the page.
- Now take a look at your tally marks. What was the ratio of love to fear? Did your number at the top of the page differ from the number at the bottom?
Action (easy to do, challenging to commit to)
If you want to improve your outlook, you need to clean your feed. So whether you’ve just done the awareness exercise or you jump straight into this, let the emoticons work for you. Facebook tries to learn from you, and it will give you more of the kind of thing you react to and less of what you don’t react to (and even less of what you tell them you don’t want). So:
- Save your reactions for what you really want more of. Don’t click “like” unless you want to see more of it.
- Use the “love” button for the things that give you hope or model love.
- If something makes you angry or fearful, use the “angry” button to mark it for others, but then use the drop down menu in the upper right corner of the post to pull up a menu that includes “hide post” and click it. You’ll be asked if you want to stop seeing posts from the person who posted this – and that’s up to you – but just using the “hide post” will help.
- If you’ve done the Awareness exercise above, commit to using your Facebook emoticons like this for a week, and the redo the Awareness exercise. See if your numbers and your ratio of Love to Fear has changed.