I have a confession to make….
I took a break from social media and my life suddenly become richer, fuller, and way better. I was late to the party to begin with as far as social media was concerned. While I consider myself a techy girl, I honestly didn’t want to fraternize with anyone I barely spoke to in 30 years. When anyone would ask why I am not on Facebook, Insta, or Twitter, I would politely say I am way too busy to be on social media. But as it turns out, when my daughter was making her way towards her first prom, I found myself wanting to share this beautiful experience. So I created a rudimentary Facebook profile and posted my first pictures of my daughter. Within hours scores of friend requests and loving comments from friends and family poured in, and it was in that moment that I was hooked, and the allure of the gratuitous likes, the tasty comments, and how are you doing, miss you, had me checking my feed like a junkie strung out on dope. I had not really considered how much of a welcome distraction it would become from my everyday life. I just liked the idea of socializing and feeling a sense of community without the real commitment of lengthy pleasantries and actual face to face encounters.
In grammar and high school I had always been a bit of a social butterfly and truly tried to be everyone’s friend, mostly. But when I moved away from my hometown shortly after graduating high school, I slowly lost touch with most of my close friends, and soon after my parent’s separation, that would include much of my relatives. Most of the friendships I forged after leaving my hometown, were from work, and a small number of people I met in my new town.
For a long time after I left Carteret, I didn’t want to know or see many of the people who were part of my story. I know it sounds cliche but I left so much of myself behind when I left my hometown. There was so much pain associated with some of those memories and I just didn’t want to think or feel them anymore. When I lost my mother suddenly at the age of 21, all of that changed and I knew I had to face my truth and deal with it like an adult, like my Mom would have wanted me to. So I entered into Psychotherapy and have been a willing participant (most days) in my healing. I can honestly say for the years I have spent in therapy have been some my most soulful, spiritual, healing moments I have ever experienced.
It was in that healing, that I realized that I had not been honest with myself, not purposely, but in all my glory and cockiness of believing I was whole, I still was not so. I was still fragile, guided by ego, seeking approval, wanting to feel special, needing the accolades, judging myself against the lives of others, feeling empty. All of this was because of the idea I had deluded myself into believing, that I wasn’t good enough, successful enough, or loved enough, because so and so was getting her partner to say this, and do that, or I’d see someone on another lavish vacation, and I wished it could be me in some exotic country. This notion of social media, and this “cyber insanity”of keeping up with the Jones’ took a toll on me, emotionally, physically, and right down to my soul. I was depleted from all of it and decided that I didn’t want to continue this way.
Now before anyone misconstrues what I am saying, and hits the unfriend button, let me stress that I am not anti-social media. I believe it is an effective way to stay connected and share your life, and your story, with family and friends. What I am referring to here, is the downside of social media and how it can affect you in ways you hadn’t anticipated, and why taking a break from social media every now and again can be a new awakening on your spiritual journey.
How do you know when it’s time to take a break from social media?
For me, I knew it was time to take a break from social media when it became mundane and a chore to weed through my feed a few times a day. For a long time I looked forward to hearing about the good things that were happening with my friends and family, rejoicing in their triumphs and touch-tone moments, lending support, encouragement when someone needed it, even shedding a tear when someone lost a parent, a spouse, a child. It made me feel like I was being a friend and part of a close knit family. But there started to come a time where I began to feel isolated and disconnected from some of my Facebook friends and family, and it became painful to feel like a stranger on the outside looking in. It became almost intrusive for me to be on Facebook, so disconnected and so detached from this cyber reality, and while I was sincere when I liked and commented on someone’s page, I found that I was feeling connected to only a handful of friends and family whom I felt were always my true blue. My “tribe” aka “the gang” knows who they are and I love you all to pieces!!! Everyone else I began to feel like, was completely full of shit and I didn’t want to part of their hypocrisy any longer.
What happens when you take a break from social media?
When you make the decision to take a break from social media, you begin to see just how much time was being devoted to checking in, checking out, scanning feeds, and sharing memes. Here is a list of what I begin doing to fill the time spent on social media.
- I began to meditate more, especially in the wee small hours of morning, that in addition to Yoga, really helped to keep me grounded.
- I was interacting with people in my everyday life in a more meaningful and purposeful way. I also became more present in my life with less distractions truly listening to what others were saying. Something I hadn’t done in a really long time. I am sad to say.
- I wasn’t preoccupied with what so-so was doing, or who was liking my posts. I didn’t need to seek approval and found myself becoming my own best friend and freeing myself from the bonds of being a slave to what others thought of me. I can honestly say not one fuck is given any longer, to who likes or doesn’t like me. I have my small circle and I am perfectly content with my people!
- I was pursuing healthier outlets for my anxiety and really found myself enjoying when I was in the kitchen cooking. Not posting to my blog, freed me to enjoy just being in my kitchen making food for my kiddos the way I use to when it was about feeding them and caring for them in the best way I knew how.
- My relationship with my fireman became top priority for us both, and we began to rebuild what we started to lose. We set aside the need to post date nights on social media to prove our love, and began truly enjoying our time. We started to give each other our full attention and put our phones down to talk, laugh and just be present for each other. Once we knew the kiddos were safe where they were suppose to be, we put phones down and focused on being in love. To date, it has been the best part of taking a break from social media by far. **Love you HJM!
- I became a more patient and gentler with my kidlets. I always made family priority, but as my children began to need me less and less I turned to social media to fill that void. Once I was not on social media, I was determined to spend my time making sure the one’s I love knew how much I loved and valued them, and how important and meaningful our time together was. As a result we have spent more days laughing, sharing, talking, then spend on our phones lost in social media. We have all cut down on the cell phone glance when we are together. Be the change you want to see in your world. Words to live by!
- I became infinitely more happier and more satisfied with where I was in my life and all the abundance I had. I became so caught up with all that I was sure I hadn’t accomplished and the failings I felt as a result of constantly comparing myself to others, that it was all consuming and lead to a darkness in me that was some of the worst depression I have ever had, next to my Post Partum, which was hell on earth. But once I cut the cord with social media, I began to feel the funk lift an I was so much happier, and began to see how far I had come, and for the first time in a really long time, began to like the person I had become!
Where do you go from here after your social media purge?
Here is what I learned. After hitting the pause button and doing a total reset, I purged myself mentally, and physically of the things that were causing me great anxiety and not bringing me to my higher purpose. I have unfollowed, blocked and removed people who were toxic to me, and I give no fucks about it, offer no apologies, nor do I care what they or anyone else thinks about me. If you are stalking my page, good for you! Truly, you do what you need to, to feel important in your own life. As for me and my own, we good, thanks for stopping by!
So I will say to anyone who is feeling ambivalent about letting some people go, start small, unfollow, you won’t see their feed, but you aren’t blocking them just yet, and if the need should present itself for whatever the reason, pull the pin and block away! I have been blocked for reasons beyond my comprehension by some and you know what it’s perfectly fine. I have been blocked and then have had someone request me as a friend again, and that will be a big fat Awww Hell NO! Am I being petty, spiteful, bitchy? Probably, but in all honesty if you feel the need to remove me from your list of friends, let’s just part ways and be done at this point. I don’t harbor ill feelings, but our time together is over, and I am truly OK with that, I can promise you! I have a very straightforward, no nonsense approach to toxicity, I get there are people who will never want your happiness, will always talk bad about you and yours, behind your back, and generally will never like you, I get too that I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Why? I’ll never know, because I am sweet and lovable, and everyone who doesn’t see that can bite me, just kidding, (mostly) but in truth, all anyone can ever hope for is that you live your best, most authentic life, that you truly love those who matter, and try to be a genuinely kind and loving person more days than not, and that you are doing your part to be a positive force in the human experience. And on those days, sometimes you will get it right and other times, well not so much. But if you relinquish your ego and let yourself truly shine the way God intended, than you are already doing better than most.
A good friend of mine who recently passed away, always had the best philosophy for life, truly words to live by, he had hundreds of friends on Facebook and had gone through some of the hardest times anyone should ever have gone through, and he never seemed to get thrown by adversity and handled everything with a smile, so I said to him one day, “how do you handle all the people whining and complaining on Facebook at the slightest inconvenience and insignificant bullshit, when you have faced all you have?” and he said to me, “Susie, it’s simple, everyone has something they are going through, to us it is small and a insignificant, but to them it is something, and I just send peace and positive vibes to them, and live and let live!” So that my friends is what I am doing, as my beautiful friend told me I should do! Wisdom beyond words! We will miss you on Facebook and in life!” Until we meet again RIP-MJR.
* Dedicated to Micahel “Rowdy” Rhode a true friend and inspiration to us all! November 24, 1965-August 29, 2019. For more on Mike’s story of inspiration click on the link to read the blog post he is featured in that I did two years ago.
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