I felt compelled to write this post after my wife read out loud her wild Facebook posting exchange she had about the 2016 Presidential Election.
I'm going to share with you how to survive social media leading up to the election.
If you don't take a moment to plan your posting war strategy, your social media behavior is likely to eat you alive and ruin many potentially fine days.
So many of us have a hard time resisting the temptation to blast people whose political views we vehemently disagree with.
Like every presidential election, there are generally two diametrically opposed camps of supporters who absolutely can't stand how anyone could ever consider voting for the other candidate.
This election, however, has taken the vitriol to the next level. Whacky is the word that comes to mind. The influence of reality tv has made this election into a total circus freak show and people can't seem to get enough of it.
Throw in the impulsive behavior exhibited by one party not to be named here and you've essentially emboldened BOTH parties to fire social media nukes at each other.
So here's a bit of advice to get you throw the craziest of times on social media, with the pressure building each day at an exponential rate as we head toward election day.
1) The closer your get to election day, the less anyone will listen.
That's right! No one wants to listen...but everyone wants to be heard.
Everyone with a strong viewpoint about the election is only interested in furthering their own belief system.
So just know that when you're spitting fire on Facebook at the Trump supporter who is getting increasingly combative and passionate about his or her stance, you're not going to change anything.
Take a moment to question why you would want to get into it with someone who has totally different ideas about what's right.
Pay attention to how your angry responses to the other team's supporter make you feel.
Was it worth it? You probably just wasted all of your free time trying to get your point across to someone who is only looking for a chance to get his or her point across.
How angry did your social media debate make you? Was there anything constructive about it?
2) Elections bring out the pathological certainty in people.
Pathological certainty is the tendency to speak in a way that completely discounts any differing viewpoint. It makes you not listen a single bit to anything but your own opinion. You think of anyone who doesn't agree with you as foolish or stupid. It's associated with depression and/or a personality disorder.
The presidential election is the perfect playground for the pathologically certain -- only they aren't playing! They're serious and they're looking for someone to blast.
Stop thinking that when you respond to someone's post to get your point across, you're going to convince him or her of your opinion.
You're only fighting with yourself like Don Quixote and the windmill.
Pathological certainty is a killer. It pops your organs and kills your cells. Is that worth it?
What do I suggest you do if you feel compelled to shoot down other people's opinions on Facebook or Twitter?
3) Set an intention before posting that you're sharing your beliefs to be self-expressed.
Why do I say this? Because it's with 100 percent certainty that you're not going to get the response you want from people who disagree with you.
"Yes, Jennifer, you make a great point about who would be a better friend to Israel. I'm going to change my viewpoint based on your informative post."
Forget it. You'll never get that response!
Protect yourself by lowering your expectations for how your expression of your views will be processed by your debating competitor. Self-expression can feel great if you don't expect "likes' or certain responses.
Once again, feel free to express yourself, but stop and think about the point of getting so upset with people who you judge as having the wrong viewpoint on which candidate is right for America.
If you really want to make a difference, kill people with kindness in real life, even when they disagree with you. Make them feel heard and respected. Forget social media as a place to get your point across.
Facebook might be good for rallying the troops to stand behind you, but it's a terrible place to debate your political enemies.
Techealthiest is an exciting blog dedicated to teaching the technology of health and happiness. Learn innovative tips and strategies for improving your relationship, including the impact of your digital world on love and marriage.
Dr. Greg Kushnick is a Manhattan psychologist in private practice with offices in Chelsea and the Financial District. He employs enhanced CBT techniques to help one New Yorker at a time. He has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger and relationship problems.