Evaluating Social Media {Tool 25}

I could title this blog post: Preaching to the Choir. Only I’m not going to preach. I’m just going to share my struggle and what I’ve learned and hope it encourages you, while reminding me what is true.

One of the worst things keeping me in survival mode is the desire to escape reality. It feels so good to zone out of life. Pretend the pile of dishes on the counter or the three screeching children don’t exist, just for the next 5 minutes while I scroll through Facebook.

But escaping reality traps us in a world that doesn’t really matter, where nothing phenomenal is accomplished. And it truly only hurts us. I’ve tried numbing my feelings by escaping for a long time. I still do it. But when we numb the hard, and when we give in to self-indulgence, we lose the joy of accomplishment and ultimately numb the joyful emotions as well.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself for your “why” behind your social media usage? Honestly asked yourself what your purpose in using social media is? Maybe it’s not an escape for you, but it’s because you like to compare yourself to others. Or maybe you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t get on.

For me, I stay on Facebook because I genuinely do like connecting with people. So when I’m tempted to just aimlessly scroll through, I remind myself of my purpose, and try to actually interact with others. At least in a perfect world, I’d do this. But having this as a goal helps me do better at times.

IMG_2130I’ve tried so many different methods of breaking my addiction to social media. I sometimes delete the apps off my phone. This I find works for me if I have a set time that I plan to reinstall them. Otherwise I find myself reinstalling them before I’ve actually had much of a break. Currently I’ve unfollowed everyone from Instagram except for people I know in person and a handful of others. That was 400+ authors, designers, public personalities, etc, I unfollowed to give me less options for long stretches of scrolling. I stay on Instagram to share my heart and have an online presence but also because I genuinely love seeing into other people’s lives and stories.

There are ways to cut back. There are ways to help you remember what is important. I heard once that you get a surge of dopamine to your brain when you view social media. The person saying it mentioned that she’d rather get dopamine from things that matter, like watching her children’s faces, holding her spouse’s hand, feeling the fresh sunshine on her face. And I agree.

So what’s our purpose on social media? It is taking up more time than it should be? Is it distracting us from reality? How can we reign it in? How can we focus on what matters most? Is it helping or hurting our journey to freedom? How can we let it go?

Resources:
Book – Hands Free Life  by Rachel Macy Stafford
Blog post – How to have a Social Media Free Weekend Cultivate What Matters

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