I recently stopped using all social media, that’s including Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and yes even Facebook. That might sound extreme to you, maybe it is. I have been thinking about doing this for years though, literally years. I talked myself out of it many times with thoughts like, ‘I’ll miss out on events, I won’t know what my friends and family are up to, people will miss seeing what I’m up to. Yes, I felt obligated to share my life updates with everyone, just like I felt obligated to view theirs. That alone should be a good reason to give it up, if it feels more like an obligation than an enjoyable experience. We have enough obligations in life, we don’t need more time sucked up from us on something so unproductive, especially if it becomes no longer enjoyable.
I will say, there is a lot of good that social media has to offer. It offers a way to connect with the world like never before. It’s so convenient to hop on Facebook or Instagram and see what your friends are doing, it’s even fun to see what total strangers are doing. There are a ton of inspiring and positive messages to be gained from following certain accounts, and it’s hands down the best source of relevant news to you. But there is a darker side to it.
For starters, there’s the comparison trap. Logging on and seeing so and so’s vacation pictures, job announcement, new house, or new baby… you may be having a great day, and then suddenly you feel like you don’t measure up, or you’re missing something. Along with that kind of comparing, There’s the comparing of likes and follows. There’s nothing worse than sharing a picture or post that you feel really good about, but your online community doesn’t validate it. Not that anyone needs validation from anyone, but we all want it right? If you’re someone who gets caught up on things like likes and follows, it can destroy your self worth, because you’ll never have enough. Once you hit 500 followers, now you want 1000… and so on. Not everyone gest caught up with this, but I will admit, sometimes I did, and I recognized immediately how unhealthy it was becoming.
The next reason I ditched these apps, was because I wanted to be more present. I have justified staying plugged in for this long because I thought that was a good way to connect with others. This is true to a point, however, I found that while I was connecting with people online, I was disconnected from my immediate surroundings. Whether I was with my husband, my son, a friend, or even while spending time with God, I would find myself reaching for my phone several times. This causes you to not only miss the moment you’re in, but you’re distracted from both interactions, meaning ultimately less connection. If you’re someone who can set your phone down and leave it be for long periods of time while you enjoy a conversation or some quiet time, then you may not share this struggle. But for those of us that are addicted, yes addicted, to checking on our devices, continuing to do so will only cause more detachment, anxiety, and even depression. There’s something really powerful and freeing about unplugging and allowing yourself to fully be in the present moment, and that’s what cutting out social media entirely has done for me.
Finally, I wanted to take control over how I spend my time. I’m a busy working wife and momma, the last thing I want is to waste my time. As I said, I was literally addicted to checking my social media. I spent way more time than I would ever care to admit mindlessly browsing, taking and editing photos, thinking of captions, and then waiting around to see how my post was received, and respond to comments. Hours and hours of my life were spent on this, hours that I now spend playing with my little boy, writing, in The Word, yoga, reading, and being creative. All things I have always wanted to do, but were always being interrupted by feeling the constant need to check my phone.
This isn’t a post meant to talk you into following my footsteps. If you feel like, for you, the pro’s outweigh the con’s, then I totally respect that. I’m happy for you that you can use these platforms to enhance your life in a positive way. But if you can relate to some of the things I’ve shared, then maybe it’s time to think about taking the plunge and letting it go. I promise it’s not as scary as you think. You don’t have to totally disappear all at once if you don’t feel ready, this progression for me happened over the course of 3 years. First I deleted Twitter in 2016, then Snapchat about a year or so later, Facebook last fall, and finally let go of Instagram last week. I also have chosen to keep my accounts for the sake of looking back at memories, and being able to still receive messages, as not everyone has my phone number. But I no longer actively browse through or post to any of them.
I know this decision is extreme and there will of course be some inconveniences because of it. I do feel very out of the loop, and I have missed multiple events, or heard of them very last minuet. But for me the ability to be free from the bonds of social media are worth it. I honestly feel like I have my life back, no more comparing myself to everyone else, I’m able to enjoy the present moment, and I spend my time a lot more mindfully. All in all I don’t regret my decision whatsoever, I always leave the door open that I may return to it one day, but I don’t see that happening at this point in time. I hope this is helpful and encouraging for you if you’re grappling with the idea of whether or not to totally unplug, and if you’re not it’s at least some insight into why someone might want to make a crazy move like that. Either way thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one.