I have been guilty like millions of others of consistently and mindlessly scrolling through social media. We have an addiction to our phones, iPads and laptops and it’s seriously an issue. From old school phone calls, emails, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and whatever other applications people are using. We message, we post, we tag, we comment, we like, we share, we respond and the list goes on.
Of course they are a way to stay in touch with family and friends particularly those at a distance and also a great tool for businesses and getting messages out there. I enjoy posting and tagging others in amusing memes but I have made a conscious decision to reduce my usage. I was shocked when checking my usage, just how much time I was actually wasting. I am no longer in the habit of checking my phone upon waking up and now wait until after I have completed my morning “rituals”. I have only recently gone back on facebook after a year of mostly being disconnected and honestly in that year I really did not miss it so may consider doing that again!
If we are all truthful with ourselves we would realise that a good majority of the time spent scrolling absentmindedly through social media is just another form of addiction and most definitely a distraction. If we are in the company of people whom we care about and enjoy being with, why would we spend so much time on social media? I admit to doing this a lot prior to my marriage ending but if I’m with people I want to be with, I’m not interested in continually picking up my phone and sitting on it for long periods of time. I may post something or respond to anything important but certainly not sit there scrolling or chatting to other people. I’m sure there are people who sit on social media for hours at a time and that’s most definitely a huge distraction from maybe life, feelings, relationships or anything else bothering them. Recent isolation has probably also increased usage.
People can create any life they want to portray on social media, some accurate and real and sadly some inaccurate or even fake. It has become a tool for some people to compete with others. It can cause those who are insecure more insecurities as they watch other people’s “perfect” life unfold on facebook or instagram thinking that everyone is so much “happier” than them. Comparison is the thief of joy. Never compare your reality to someone’s highlight reel.
So what is it that we are doing on social media for so much time? What are we distracting ourselves from? I have been an offender of this in the past but I really am making a concerted effort to disconnect more and reconnect with myself and the world. I’m spending more time in nature, at the beach and just outdoors in the fresh-air and I feel much more present, connected to the universe and healthier for it. I will still post and enjoy the benefits of social media but the length of time I spend on there will be significantly reduced.
I read an article recently about a man in the US who went off the grid a few months ago, living in a cabin in the woods. He only resurfaced last week and was naturally shocked to find the world was facing a pandemic and the US is rioting! Imagine his surprise and confusion hearing all the conspiracy theories of COVID and the fact that in 2020 racism is still disappointingly alive and well. He must also be wondering the stupidity of some people with the worldwide shortage of toilet paper and the ludicrous cost of sanitiser. I applaud his strength and commitment shutting himself off from the world, not sure what he did to entertain himself but he’s probably learnt a heap about himself and is now a lot more spiritual and grounded. He’s also probably contemplating running straight back to that cabin!!
My favourite social media quote is: “Don’t let instagram fool you. There are people with only a few likes, who have plenty of friends. People who have a heap of likes who are as lonely as f*ck. Couples who look so happy together, yet are as miserable as hell. People who don’t post pics of themselves and their partner but are in beautiful relationships. People who know each other very well but appear as strangers. People who are up to their neck in debt yet live lavish instagram lives. Remember, this is not real life. Appearances are just that, appearances…”
Of course everyone will do as they please, however, it really is healthy and freeing to disconnect a little more. We don’t always need to be distracted or always looking for something to distract our thoughts and if we do, it’s probably time to ascertain what it is either missing or wrong in our lives that we need to mindlessly scroll through social media for hours on end. Look at it as a spiritual vacation, switch off more and you will be surprised what you learn about yourself. Nourishment for the soul.
Unplug yourself, even if just for a bit. Offline is the new luxury.