I have to out myself. I engaged in some cyberstalking of various ex-boyfriends and former friends recently. Uggg. It made me feel so uncomfortable and anxious. It amplified the questions that circulate in my mind–the ones that I work so hard to soften, i.e. What if I had just done x,y,z? Maybe things would’ve turned out differently? What if this person thinks x, y, z about me? And on and on.
After my cyberstalking session, I was able to return to a more peaceful state, though it took work, and I know how easy it is to stalk again, even though it makes me feel awful.
If you troll social media or other outlets looking for answers about what your exes/former friends are doing, then I invite you to use my tips on how to feel more peaceful after cyberstalking so that you’re less likely to do it again…and more likely to focus on your bad ass life instead.
1. BREATHE. When you catch yourself on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat, etc. searching for answers, breathe. Take a deep breath right then and there. Close your laptop. Put down your phone. Move away from your desk. Close out of everything. Take deep inhales and exhales. When we’re cyberstalking, we’re very much in our heads. Our thoughts are racing, going over the past, future-tripping, amplifying those questions. Breathing brings us back to the present moment and into our bodies immediately.
2. Observe what’s happening in your body. It’s important to identify how cyberstalking makes us feel physically. Just be curious about what you experience in your body–tight chest? upset stomach? crying? do you get really hot? When you can call out and name those sensations, they have less power over you. Those sensations are also your body’s loving way of telling you that something’s wrong, that cyberstalking doesn’t align with you.
3. Speak to yourself with so much love and compassion. Cyberstalking is a form of self-harm. If it causes you pain in any way, it’s self-harm. But don’t make yourself feel bad for doing it. The way out of the physical and emotional turmoil that cyberstalking causes is to be very sweet and compassionate with yourself. Say to yourself, in your mind, out loud, or in your journal, “I love you. It’s okay that I just cyberstalked. I’m human. I’m safe. I’m being brave by acknowledging this and taking steps to feel peaceful. I will have everything I want in life. I love you.” Talk to yourself like you’re consoling a child or your best friend.
4. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I truly loved myself?” Ask this before, during, and after the cybsertalking.
5. Make it harder to cyberstalk. This means unfollowing/unfriending/blocking people. If you can’t do it yourself, have a friend go into your accounts and do it for you (totally did this). Make it hard to see what people are posting.
6. Do something that makes you feel powerful. When we cyberstalk, feelings of inferiority, self-deprecation, and anxiety come up. We feel like those people are living this great life and we’re just at home cyberstalking. We also feel like that we’ll never get what WE want in our lives. But actually, we are very powerful people. We have the power to create really fulfilling lives for ourselves. Remind yourself of your power. Crank up Beyonce. Go to a hard fitness class and rock it. Try something new. Getting out of our comfort zone totally makes us feel powerful. Flirt with that barista. Put on a hot outfit and go out with your friends.
7. Out yourself to people who make you feel safe. Cyberstalking can make us feel ashamed (reminder: it’s okay, you’re human, and you’re doing great). One way to prevent that shame from overcoming you is to tell someone that you did it–someone you feel very safe with–your mom, best best friend, therapist, etc. Just getting it out in the open that you’re human, were having a vulnerable moment, and searched for answers online makes you feel powerful. You’re owning your behavior and taking responsibility for it. You’ll get support from another person AND feel more powerful. Win win.
I know the feeling of ickiness that cyberstalking produces intimately. You are not wrong or bad for engaging in that behavior, but it is self-harming. It takes you out of all of the awesome things you’re doing/could be doing in your own life. Lean on my steps to help you.