Monday, April 18, 2016

Positive Internet Life Lessons (An Oxymoron?)

It is clear, when doing just one Google search or reading one article or checking out one social media post, that the Internet is not always the best place. That can come from unsafe websites trying to hack into your account to Internet trolls that live for making people feel horrible for what they post to other really crappy Internet problems.

You'll read about those problems and issues in other articles. I've read my fair share. But this article is going to look at the brighter side of the Internet. After all, this magical connecting device does offer some amazing things. Push aside the terrible and see what I've been able enjoy:

I've Found Great People

There are a lot of people on the Internet - millions, for that matter! And while I can't say I have made any close personal connections with anyone through social media (deep relationships are more for face-to-face interactions, really), I have managed to discover a group of people that enjoy the same kinds of things that I do. It's fun seeing them share their opinion on television that we both watch, or music that we both listen to, or comment on an event in a way that reflects mine.

Of course, it doesn't mean we are always in sync with each other. However, there is that boost of happiness when connecting with someone over something small. And sometimes that's a feeling that's very needed!

I've Learned to Love my Body

For a long time, what was seen on television commercials, shows, music videos, or magazines was that of skinny ladies with no blemishes. Anything else was frowned upon, and it seemed like that was the only way to be accepted in this world. Try the diet, exercise a bunch, and maybe you'll look like these gorgeous people!

Well, through the Internet, I've read blogs and articles about how women (and men) are squashing those "acceptable" body images and showing off how they look with pride. A plus-sized woman graced the cover of Women's Running magazine a few months ago. How cool! A woman with Down's Syndrome walked at New York Fashion Week. Fabulous! I listen to podcasts and see YouTube videos featuring women that look like me. They show off their nerdy outfits with pride, and embrace whatever style suits them. And they look amazing!

It doesn't mean I'm going to stop exercising and start eating everything in sight. But it does mean that I'm proud of the way I look, instead of being frustrated that I'm "not making any progress." I am making progress - it's both a physical and a mental progress!

I've Gone Down the Rabbit Hole (in a good way!)

I have had moments where I am reading about a certain event, and am led to a link about something that is closely related to the event about which I am reading. I click on that link, and then another, and then another, and suddenly a whole corner of the universe has been laid out before me!

It isn't just Wikipedia articles, either. I remember once getting stuck in a late 1980s/early 1990s-history loop, and I probably learned more in that evening of research than I ever did in a history class.
You need to be careful that you're reading reliable sources (sometimes that's hard to find), but when you come across an event that really captures your interest, the Internet can provide so much amazing information and points of view.

I Want to Enjoy God's Wonderful Creation

It never fails - I am always coming across beautiful pictures of some amazing, picturesque area of the world that makes me want to see it for myself. I love travel, and the pictures that people take are simply breathtaking and make me want to see those places for myself.

Sometimes, though, it's as simple as sharing a picture of the sunset outside the window, or a beautiful flower from someone's backyard, or a different take at an ordinary-looking building. Yes, it's great to see these things from a 1080p screen, but the idea should be that we want to go and find these things for ourselves!

When I see gorgeous pictures of the mountains or lakes, I want to go out and enjoy them for myself. And I have! It is great to look back at pictures, but to have the experience that goes with it makes everything a little sweeter.

It seems odd, doesn't it? Taking pictures and posting them on the Internet makes people want to get off the Internet so they can take more pictures. But I hope that's the result. It has been for me.




I enjoy being on the Internet. I can connect, I can learn, I can grow, I can be inspired. There are definitely negative aspects of the Internet. But when we choose to make the most out of our positive encounters, we choose to improve our lives for the better!

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