You can choose what you take and what you leave.
We are actively consuming all day. We consume food, ads, advice, data, social cues, faces, words, art, news, and everything in between. Our brain is like a sponge being consistently dunked into various bodies of water. Much of this water is soaked up subconsciously, some is taken in intentionally. Naturally, the contents of this sponge change its composition.
You are what you eat.
Steering clear from a discussion on the proper vegetable intake, let’s talk about your phone. Yeah it’s a lot to take in, but turns out you take it in pretty quickly pretty much all the time.
Scrolling and Scrolling and Scrolling.
The modern landscape of any form of public transportation in your average city, consists of a few things: people, their headphones, and their phone screens. The newspaper has been replaced with a tiny device capable of generating any number of information in a given second.
The girl on the bus.
There was a young girl sitting in front of me on the bus aimlessly swiping down her Instagram feed. I watched her consume. She would slide past some pictures easily. There would be an attractive picture of who I assume was a friend or acquaintance and she would scroll back up and hover for a moment, taking it in.
She would occasionally click into the person’s profile, check up on their old posts, investigate who liked their photos, and move on. She would easily scan past some content and selectively take in others. I did this on a daily basis of course but never analyzed it from such a removed perspective.
What are you hungry for?
Why do we so quickly register what we don’t care about and what we want to absorb. Are you hovering over a beautiful picture of an old classmate, the physique of a famous model, a DIY home-cooked meal, a puppy trying to get up the stairs, a horrific news update? Paying closer attention to what we give attention to may tell us a deeper truth about ourselves.
Limited exposure is bliss.
Ignorance may not be bliss, but does this mean we need to know everything, see everyone, scroll all the time? Of course not. It’s important to consume what nourishes us mentally. A friend of mine once shared that she can’t watch American Horror Story. This show was receiving a lot of hype and she simply wouldn’t tune in to as much as a preview.
When I questioned her she simply told me, “I find it horrific, I feel better not consuming it in any way.” She consumed something, it didn’t contribute anything positive to her, and she decided there was no need to consume it again.
Keep what you like, leave what you don’t.
It’s important to develop a filter that strains away the content we simple don’t want to hold on to. It’s possible to take something positive from a situation, learn from it, and leave behind the negative interpretation. We can unfollow the people that make us feel bad. We can change the channel on the shows we don’t like. We can mute the ad before the Youtube video. We have agency when it comes to what we do and don’t want to consume.
Take in what feeds and nourishes you.
Choose to consume content that benefits your higher self. Take in the smile someone gave you instead of the guy that cut you off. Take in the compliment you received, instead of the nonconstructive criticism. Take in the beautiful day today instead of the rainy forecast for tomorrow. Basically, the events and content you give attention to is what shapes your reality.
Next time you’re scrolling through social media pay attention to which posts grab your attention. Which people are you drawn to? What posts do you hover over? Ask yourself if intently consuming this type of content is benefiting you or making you feel poorly. Write down the top five types of content you love to consume. Reflect.