...Thinking about a New Year’s Resolution to spend less time on social media? Here is one millennial’s take on why she ditched Facebook ― and never looked back.
It’s been a full three years since I deleted my Facebook account. Not just suspended it temporarily, but deleted the whole thing.
I’ve heard people say they love Facebook. I do believe that it can be a positive experience or “tool” for staying in touch. We all have different personalities, and different life experiences that we bring to the table. For me, Facebook amplified my personal insecurities.
When I used to be on Facebook, I found that signing in and checking my news feed – or looking up certain people to read their status or view their pictures – became an addiction.
“I used to sign in and view Facebook as an escape from something I didn’t want to be doing or feeling in the moment.”
I used to sign in and view Facebook as an escape from something I didn’t want to be doing or feeling in the moment. Viewing all of the pictures and updates on Facebook felt like a momentary “sugar rush,” and inevitably, was followed by a sort of “crash” after I’d sign off and resume whatever else I was doing.
I found that there were certain people – mostly women friends of mine, but occasionally ex-boyfriends, too – whose lives I became increasingly interested in, and who I more or less tracked by looking them up to see what was “new” with them.
The problem for me was that I was always comparing myself to these people, and in many cases they were people who didn’t even play a significant role in my daily or personal life anymore.
And yet I would become emotional inside, reading about their latest joy, triumph, or romantic relationship, and I would either feel bad about myself and my position in comparison to their own -– or I would feel “satisfied” that I wasn’t in their shoes. I observed my thoughts during these times and realized I was jealous and judgmental of others.
Now, to a certain degree, comparing ourselves to people in the world around us is human nature.
“Even as I started to realize that my behavior wasn’t healthy and that I didn’t feel good, I told myself that 'everyone is on Facebook, everyone does this.'”
But when it became an intense, daily (usually multiple times a day) experience for me on Facebook, I understood that it wasn’t healthy. Even as I started to realize that my behavior wasn’t healthy and that I didn’t feel good, I told myself that “everyone is on Facebook, everyone does this,” (not true – there are plenty of people who are not on Facebook, as I have found in the three years since deleting my account).
Occasionally, I would find myself gleaning something positive from Facebook, such as inspiration from another person, or a tid-bit of information that I found useful.
But on the whole, I would sign off and feel inadequate.
I remember having several poignant conversations with friends, mentors, and family about my desire to leave Facebook. I thought hard about what it would mean to erase my 1000+ contacts or “friends” I had on Facebook. I also didn’t want to let go of the thrill of posting my own pictures online, hoping that people were impressed with me, and checking how many “likes” I had gotten.
In the end, I decided it was healthy for me to delete my account. And I was right.
After I deleted my account, I still had a strong desire to sign in and check up on people for about 2 months, since it had become a daily habit. So I replaced Facebook urges with visits to “POPSUGAR” and “US Weekly” online websites as a sort of interim drug as I weaned myself off of Facebook. Celebrity gossip provided a similar, substitute sugar rush. I joined Twitter, which allowed me to post occasional photos, but where my focus was largely on reading news articles, rather than looking people up.
Slowly, I also learned how to do mindful activities when those old urges to sign into Facebook arose.
“Releasing “Facebook” allowed me to let go of all the superfluous attachments to people and concepts that I had been holding on to.”
For example, getting up from my desk for a drink of water, or even taking a walk around the block. Calling a friend. Reading an inspirational page from the book I carried around in my purse. Or staring out the window and taking deep breaths for 2-3 minutes, placing my hands on my thighs and my feet on the ground.
Not being on Facebook has had a profound effect on my daily life, and how I see myself.
I feel more confident and mature.
Releasing “Facebook” allowed me to let go of all the superfluous attachments to people and concepts that I had been holding on to. It allowed me to connect to myself, and ultimately, to God, in a more meaningful, slow, and grounded way. And I felt happier in other areas of my life, too. I wasn’t comparing myself to other people and feeling inadequate on a daily basis. I felt blessed and grateful for what I did have, instead.
Shortly thereafter, I met my future husband and also started practicing yoga on a regular basis.
Some wonderful life changes were thus able to manifest in my life once I cut out the excess rubbish.
To read Kristen’s personal blog visit: A Sparkly Bit of Everything