I was toying with the idea of quitting social media. Noticing that I was spending my mornings waking up habitually checking and “liking: random pics and posts from friends, acquaintances and strangers.
I grew up being a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) kind of kid and adult too. I’d stay up late and say yes to everything because I didn’t want to miss out. So my transition and gradual process of letting social media go required a mindset change. If I didn’t know what events I was missing out on then it wouldn’t effect me and I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out, right? It’s quite logical. I guess it’s not as simple as that when it’s become a habit and possibly even an addiction.
At the moment, I’m not sure yet whether this is going to be permanent or whether I’ll just check in once in a while.
My Social Media Addiction
I felt the need to like every persons’ post or pic , sometimes with the occasional comment of inspiration, encouragement, or acknowledgment of their post. I felt a social responsibility to do so. Otherwise I’d be a “bad” virtual if I didn’t.
But scrolling becomes endless and infinite …where and where do you stop? 3 hours later and I’m still scrolling!! (Well maybe not that long but long enough).
Deciding to Quit
I’ve tried a few times but I would sneakily check and see what my virtual friends were up to .
I would delete the app then reinstall it. I would strategically place my social media apps 7 screens back in my phone not on my main home screen. But I still swiped and checked. As a result I developed a new habit. An extra step to my social media addiction.
I’m Almost There
Something changed in my mindset. I don’t know what but one day I woke up and I remembered sighing, like a sigh of letting go and one of embrace and relief at the same time.
I guess I was just ready.
I don’t miss it at all.
I used to but I have an ambivalent feeling towards it now.
I don’t crave it like I used to.
I don’t mind that I don’t know what’s happening in each of my friends’ lives, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about them. It just means that I don’t feel the need to know everything about everyone all the time.
My Life Now with Minimal Social Media
- I sleep better
- My head isn’t foggy. It’s clear.
- I get less anxious (and what I’ve come to realise is that I developed a subtle unhealthy comparisonist “disorder” (I don’t as actually know if it’s a disorder or not but it sure feels good to not have it)
- I spend more time now writing and exploring, I started sketching more again too
- I am ok to not have to share every photo I take or take photos to share
- I am connecting face to face with my friends more and making new friends off line
- I no long am addicted to the likes and validation that those likes gave me
- I’m still in the early stages of “quitting” and so far no withdrawals or adverse side effects. If anything it’s all positive
I guess I struggled with the idea of quitting because of my blog and connections I had made online but I came to the conclusion that if my “audience” wanted to connect with me they could email me or do so through my blog but also that I was demonstrating and inspiring my audience to live life in the real world and be mindful.
So, do I have a social responsibility to stay constantly connected? I don’t know but what I do know, is that my well-being is much better being in the real world.
Experience life through your own eyes not a screen
Be in the moment
I only check once a week now and I am happy with that. If I miss something , well I’ve missed it and its ok because I didn’t know about it to begin with. I didn’t know what I didn’t know!
With all that has been happening in my life of late and in the past few years I’m more about being in the moment and “it is what it is!”
Here’s an interesting fact to finish on:
***By the time you’ve finished one video, there will be 1,000 more added to the website. If you assume the same growth rate for the past 10 years and assume that no more video would be uploaded until you stop watching, it would take you 60,000 years of non-stop watching to watch each and every video on YouTube.