Today I celebrate one month of being logged off social media.
This, to me, is a most magical milestone. Being the longest time I have gone without the platforms of Facebook and Instagram in five years.
The last time I did a check in was at week one. At that point in my disentanglement (let’s be honest, it is quite the enmeshment) I had not felt or noticed much difference in world other than
The habit of reaching for my phone when there was a lull in activity around me
Missing the opportunity to share a beautiful moment, a quick reflection, a pretty photo
A little FOMO (fear of missing out) around certain accounts and people I loved to hear and see from
As the weeks have gone on I have noticed the deeper levels of influence that social media has had on my life and I imagine there are more layers to go. As a dear friend and I talked about this desire and the courage of logging off (especially as someone who ran a business through social media) she reminded me that it will be a parallel journey of an addict coming off their high. There will be layers that will reveal themselves. There will be moments I want to turn back to it, and not because of authentic and heart centered reasons, but because I I am seeking validation, being seen, or distraction from my reality. There will be moments of FOMO (fear of missing out). Because this social media mindset is a collective one, and it is an addiction on a collective and individual level. This is not a thing of guilt, it just simply is.
So as I am unraveling these layers there are some really magical things starting to take place. The first being that I am experiencing more serenity in my day. Part of this I am sure comes from my presence practices. But I also know that my mind is more at ease now that it isn’t always trying to seek ‘shareable moments’ or create content. I don’t think I realized how much I worried about these things throughout my days- from writing captions, editing images, managing my feeds, cleaning out my photostreams, posting, scheduling, and interacting with others … yikes. So.much.time. And head space. For a couple of weeks I think I still had this tendency to think in terms of those ‘shareable moments’. It felt like my mind was still filtering reality by way of ‘is this interesting to the masses or not?’ even though I wasn’t actively sharing. Once that filter started to dissolve a new level of tranquility has taken its place.
The second layer is the growing ease with writing blog posts. In the beginning I was struggling to write longer articles that had more depth. I was used to filtering and boiling things down to be social-media-3.5-second-attention-span friendly. The whole point of this blog was to dive deeper and explore more through writing but it has taken 4 weeks to feel like I am starting to sink in. The goal is to not heavily self edit in this space and to write from the heart in my own voice and perspective instead of catering to what others may want to hear. This is incredibly liberating. I realized I had been writing in ‘my social media’ voice for a long time- without realizing I had a social media voice to begin with!
The third, and perhaps the most important one to my journey right now, is that the nagging voice of comparison is quieting down to a little whisper. We have all acknowledged at one time or another that we fall into the comparison trap that social media offers but I don’t think I realized how powerful its grip was on my mind until I had stepped back for several weeks. We don’t know what we don’t know and this is how I feel about the ways in which I edited myself to keep up with the hundreds of Jones’ I was following. As the weeks have continued my clarity of who I am has revealed itself more each day, the inessential and the untruths have just started to fall away. These things had no foundation on which to stand and when I took away the source of their creation the flow of comparative and what-if thinking just started to slowly shift. I feel exceptionally grounded right now and a new level of maturation around my purpose, values, and beliefs is manifesting. I also believe this is part of the new tranquility that pervades my day-to-day. So much less noise in my head to cause friction and fractures of who I am as a whole.
If you are interested in learning more about comparison and social media (or life in general) I highly recommend the work of Lucy Sheridan.
These three revelations have had the most profound impact on my emotional and mental well-being by far. I know that logging off social media isn’t right for everyone, at least maybe not in the immediate moment. If you are still working these platforms I do love the soulful work of Katie Brockhurst and her mission to bring social media into the new age. I followed her principles for the final few months I was active and it did change my attitude and perceptions- I just knew that completely logging off was the real medicine required for myself.
So whats next as I dive into month two??
It is hard to say for sure. I know there is still programming that needs rewired as I continue dropping comparison, framing my perspective toward JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) instead of FOMO, and learning to navigate without having active accounts.
I am still not sure when I will be working with the public again in classes and sessions (though it feels sooner rather than later, perhaps around spring equinox) and I don’t know what running a business without social media will look like. It feels a bit daunting but I am also integrating myself into the local community more and I would much rather connect in person and network in the 3D than through the ether. I trust I have been led to do this for a reason and that I will not suffer for this decision to log off. There was life before smart phones and social platforms there certainly is life after, yes?
I will say that being a month in I can confidently say it feels really good to be where I am right now. If you have considered the idea of logging but fear is holding you back- leap anyway! Even if its an extended fast and not a forever decision. See what life unfolds for you when your immediate world is your focus.
I’d love to keep the conversation going- have you experienced a social media fast that gave you new awareness? Perhaps you are thinking of logging off too- what feels like the greatest risk? Sometimes just naming it can make it feel less challenging…