Have you ever felt bombarded or overwhelmed by social media notifications and a constant view of peoples lives? Feeling on the outside of things all the time? Is your life not measuring up to what you are seeing from your friends on social media? Are you constantly scrolling through social media, trying to keep up? And then left wondering why you do this?
So I said goodbye. I said goodbye to Facebook, Instagram, and snapchat. I said goodbye to comparing myself to what people let me see about them in their public feed. I said goodbye to a false sense of friendship and intimacy that social media brought me. Goodbye to fear of judgement and not feeling like I am enough. I said goodbye to all my social media.
I have a friend who, for as long as I can remember, has not had social media. I could not imagine my life without social media at this time. The only way she finds out things about my life is if I tell her. To me it was inconvenient that she didn’t have Facebook because I wanted to see what was going on in her life, but I didn’t necessarily want to ask. I did not want to be asked about my life. Social Media was a way for me to know about other peoples lives, and feel close to that person, without actually having a relationship with them. For someone like myself who has a great fear of intimacy, this was a perfect set up for me. I am realizing more and more about how it was so easy for me to feel close to people I didn’t even know because I saw the pictures and updates that they decided to share.
That friend who doesn’t have social media, is now my best friend. She has been for years. She invested time into her friendships. She got to know me on a level no one else has. She knows who I am, not just what I did on the weekend. She has this true interest in peoples lives when she listens to their story.
She inspired me.
So many times I’d talk with her about leaving it all behind. Yet, never feeling ready to actually take the step into the unknown world (literally…) of no social media. After my two month stay at a rehab centre in Tennessee, I decided it was time. I spent 65 days without it, so how about I go into 2017 without social media.
On January 4th 2017, I hit the deactivate button on all my accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, and I’m sure there are other accounts that I can’t think of right now, and they are all gone. January 4th 2018, I can reactive them if I so choose. For the first month or so, and sometimes even still, I thought I would for sure get them back. I went through a social media withdrawal. I had some serious FOMO. I believe my stress level was heightened, which actually caused headaches. I had become so addicted to checking my social media account, that being away from it actually affected my health. YIKES!
Although, as the FOMO fades away and the withdrawal period comes to a close, I can appreciate what this social media cleanse has done for me. I spend so much less time comparing myself to people on the internet. Doing so has increased my self esteem, and I have began to fall in love with myself and who I am. I am able to spend more time one-on-one with people, having real, intimate friendships vs the false sense of friendship I accepted before. Now that I do not spend my free time scrolling through social media, I have so much more time for hobbies and focusing on the things in my life that matter.
I have time to spend with God, and learn about who He says I am. The noise of social media clouds Gods voice. I kept myself so distracted, choosing social media over the Lord all the time. I have much more clarity on what is important in my life now. Anything that gets in the way of my time with the Lord needs to change.
Social media is not bad. Actually, I have seen it many times used in good ways. For me, I was not using social media in a healthy way. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in moderation are not bad. When it becomes something that is distracting you from your present life, it may be something you want to reevaluate and wonder why it is so important to you.
I said I could never live without social media and that was the very reason I had to get rid of it. I do not need social media in my life. It was a tool I used to not feel lonely. I do not have that tool anymore. Today, when I feel lonely, I can call or text a close friend. I now have friendships I can completely rely on. I love them so much, and know that I have someone to lean on when life gets hard. There is much less fear is being vulnerable because there is real trust and closeness in the friendship.
It is a two way street as well. I am able to be present and loving with them, without distraction. I enjoy getting together with my friends face-to-face and hear about their lives, good and bad. I use to have a fear that if we weren’t always talking, that the friendship would die. That fear is gone because in real friendships there is confidence that we are there for each other and will continue to be there for each other. There is a practice of healthy communication and a sense of peace that allows me to feel secure.
I love the freedom of not having social media. My hope for you is that you will give it a try, in whatever way that looks for you.