Earlier today I was down the rabbit hole that is social media and Andrew silently handed me a section of the New York Times. It was folded over to an article entitled, “Don’t let Facebook make your miserable.” I see you Universe, I see you.
It is official now. Scholars have analyzed the data and confirmed what we already knew in our hearts. Social media is making us miserable. -Seth Stephens-Davidowitz*
While we rationally and logically can understand that social media is often simply a highlight reel, somehow the act of scrolling erases logic from our minds. We take each image and caption at face value and are left feeling like EVERYONE else has a magical, adventurous, abundant life full of perfectly styled meals, Hollywood level lighting, epic vacations, fancy clothes, and amazing parties – but us.
And I’m right there with you. During a coaching call with a social media coach (yep, it’s a thing.) I said that I didn’t live an exciting enough life for Instagram. I remember saying, “I get up, go to work, get home, watch tv, and go to bed.” She replied with, “So does everyone else. They just stage the perfect selfie on their walk into the office or post their avocado toast too.”
Her truthbomb was the reframe that I needed. And it was a pivot-point for how I approach social media. Here’s how I stopped letting social media make me miserable:
I used to hide behind a perfectly curated, hand-selected feed. I’ve committed to being real. Which for me, right now, means sharing much more about my health struggles. Does a handful of supplements and medications make the most gorgeous image? Probably not but it is the truest? Absolutely. I also use Facebook live and Instagram stories more since they can’t be edited, filtered or staged. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my coordinated Instagram feed. I just worry less about the images being perfect and more about the captions being meaningful and representative of my real life.
I’ll admit – this one is so much harder than getting real. But I am constantly working on it. I strive for offline time every single day. Most of the time it’s Andrew who has to remind me to close the computer and put down the phone and even though it might annoy me in the moment, I am never sorry for the offline time. Set a tech bedtime and power all of your devices down at a certain time. Read, connect with your partner, connect with yourself, and LIVE your life. Another tool I love is to leave my phone at phone (or at least in the car) when I go out. That way I am present in the moment and not distracting myself trying to capture evidence of the moment.
Unfriend + unfollow
This one is HUGE – and so hard for the people pleasers in the room. On a very regular basis I go through all of my accounts and unfriend and unfollow people. I want my feed to inspire, uplift, support, and encourage me. I don’t want it to trigger me. So if anything or anyone feels misaligned, I remove them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still care about them IRL. But in the cyberword, I need a break. It isn’t always easy. Especially since I have an online business. Often times, as I unfollow people, they unfollow me. But my emotional and spiritual health are so much more important than followers.
Don’t obsess over likes and followers
Playing the social media game (yes, it’s a game) is exhausting + soul crushing. Whenever I catch myself obsessively checking to see how many likes a post has received or how many followers I have, I put the phone down + walk away. [This happens more than I care to admit.] I usually say this prayer – I am here only to be truly helpful – before posting anything. It helps me check my ego at the door and remember that it’s not about me. And it’s not about likes. And it’s not about followers. It’s about serving. Sharing. Connecting.
*Stephens-Davidowitz, S. (2017, May 07). Don’t let Facebook make you miserable. New York Times. p. SR12.