My last post Crisis Of Lost Connection was far more popular than I expected, so I wanted to expand on this idea a little. I love social media, Facebook is one of my favorite past times, but it comes with it’s downfalls. All of these things are challenges I have faced regarding social media, and how I have walked through overcoming them.
- The Temptation to Compare
- This has been my BIGGEST struggle logging into social media. We all put our best foot forward, and only post the positive side of our life for the world to see. If I am not careful, my nature is to see everyone else’s strengths and compare them to my weaknesses. Especially with the graduation season that just passed. I dropped out of college with one semester left (I know… people give me flack for this all of the time) in 2015 because I knew it would be what was best for me personally. And honestly, I can look back on this and consider it one of the best choice I have ever made. But when ever I see graduation posts part of me wants to cringe because I never made it that far. Instantly I compare my self to those with degrees and start to think I am less than. This is a downhill slide that will take me deep into a pit of despair if I am not careful. What starts with feeling sorry for myself leads to hating my life choices and second guessing who I am becoming. Had I not quite college that year I never would have met my husband, joined the ministry, or learned to trust God with my future. But when I am in the moment looking at cap and gown pictures I don’t see any of that. My brain gets stuck in a loop of NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The only way for me to combat this loop is to logout for the day, or sometimes even the week, and focus on the positive things that have brought me this far. In all honesty I am so happy with my life, this is beyond anything I could have dreamed for my marriage and my family, but the comparison trap is so tempting and so easy to get lost in. I have to constantly be aware of my thought process when logged into social media. I cannot mindlessly scroll through my news feed or I’ll end up in a place I cannot come back from.
- The Temptation to be “Liked”
- Being liked by others is ingrained into all of us, we have a need to be connected and our brain attempts (not so successfully) to link approval to being connected. Because if they approve of us they must want to connect with us, which is a statement that on the surface appears true, but leads to feeling empty in the long run because genuine connection cannot be found over the internet (more on that in Crisis of Lost Connection). Facebook knows this, that is why they created the “Like” button after all. We want to give people a window into our lives so they can look and be amazed. Why else would we only post the best picture when we took 15 (more like 50 if we are being completely honest) of them? This temptation sucks you in without you ever even realizing it. You post one thing that gets 100+ likes and your brain rushes with feel good endorphins, an actual chemical response. You want to do it again, so your next post has to be just as good. This chemical response becomes addicting, you NEED to have that rush to feel good about yourself, to feel satisfied. It is when you cross this line into NEEDING likes and approval on social media that it becomes dangerous. You find yourself constantly posting and deleting posts that don’t get enough reaction. A lot of times I will find myself constantly thinking about my next post, or trying to take the best picture to share. In these moments I realize I’ve subconsciously lost myself into this need of approval. This is when I go on a posting hiatus. I do not necessarily logout of social media or stop scrolling through my news feed, but I refuse to post anything. These pauses can last anywhere from a week to months. Instead of posting on Facebook, I will write in my journal or pray about whatever it was that I feel I need to share with someone. The key focus here is to re-prioritize where my approval comes from. Just simply taking a break does not do that, I have to consciously remind myself that approval comes from God alone. Each of us redirect our focus in different ways, journaling and prayer have always been my go-to because that is how I process. For others of you it might be worship music, or talking with a friend.
- The Temptation of Time
- Social Media is a good time killer, sitting in a doctor’s office, at the car wash, or waiting on a friend it’s easy to pull out your phone and begin mindlessly scrolling. For this reason I LOVE smart phones, gone are the days I have to carry around heavy books and an i-pod if I were to find myself in a situation where I have to wait and need something to do. However, this is also the danger of smart phones. We miss out on so much when we are just trying to kill time. Instead of sticking our nose into our phones, we could be interacting with the other people around us, or simply watching the world pass. I miss sitting and just people watching sometimes. Using Facebook as a time killer steals moments that you will never get back. When we go to the park as a family and I choose to scroll through my phone instead of watching kids play or talking with my husband, I miss out on that moment and will never get it back. I’m not saying to never use your phone to fill time gaps, but be aware of the things you will miss if you do. Combating this one is hard, because it is almost instinctive to sit down and pull out my phone. The best solution I have found is turning off all notifications so I’m not tempted to look for just a second. But most importantly setting aside time that I do NOT use my phone. When my husband gets home from work we cook dinner and eat as a family. This time is sacred to me, and I refuse to use my phone even if we are just eating cereal. My husband connects best when we are driving in the car, so I have made it a point to not look at my phone while he is driving, that way I don’t miss out on those intimate moments when he opens up.
Social Media is a wonderful tool, I have said before that I love the ability to connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t, and it is a great advertising tool. However it does come with struggles, and can ruin the best of us if we aren’t careful. There are many other downfalls to social media, but these are the few that I have struggled to overcome and have to work to combat regularly. I would love to hear what struggles you face with social media and how you combat. Comment here or shoot me an e-mail.