It is hard to believe social media did not exist for the first 37 years of my life. In 2009, after I got several email invitations to join Facebook, I created a profile and did nothing with it for months. When I was on a phone call with one of my best friends from high school, she convinced me to join in the network as she shared her excitement about being reconnected to people we thought we lost track of. At that time, I was pregnant with my daughter and I honestly had a lot of time on my hands to be on the computer. When I signed in to my already existing profile, my ego was very much stroked (in a good way) when I discovered that 60 friend requests were waiting for me! My brain was on absolute stimulus overload as I was getting caught up catching up.
For the first couple of years, I was only able to check Facebook at night because we only had a desktop computer in our spare bedroom. Once we got our laptop, I found myself on the computer more frequently. Once the phone app came out, looking at Facebook was starting to become a toxic habit. Then, I started to notice feeling very poor thoughts about myself when FOMO (fear of missing out) hit me as I saw what everyone else was doing. I also found myself checking to see how many likes or comments I got when I posted anything; thinking that this was a some sort of measure of my self-worth. These feelings often reminded me of how I felt in my youth when I was not popular and trying to please everyone.
As I realized what this habit was doing to me, I recognized my need to make some changes. Just as I changed my habits around food, I needed to take a similar approach with social media. I started to think back to how my life was before Facebook and then I made my list of things I could do with my time instead, like read real books, play music, and do fun things with my family.
As I started to make these simple replacements, I have noticed huge improvements. First, my bond with my children has increased ten-fold. I am honestly embarrassed by the amount of their childhood I missed already due to being distracted by social media. Second, I am growing closer with my husband as we are spending more time interacting with each other instead of being on electronics. In our early days, we played cards, went on hikes, listened to music, and watched movies at home. Third and most importantly, I am starting to feel better about myself on the inside as this restriction from social media is freeing up my time to read self-help books.
I am not going to give social media up completely because it keeps me connected with the blogging community, keeps me in touch with those who live far away, and helps me organize my calendar of events. I just need to make sure my efforts to stay connected to old friends does not cause disconnection with those in my life who are most important.
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