At the end of last year (2015), I wanted to make a few changes to my personal facebook usage, and take a break as an experiment. I wanted to see if my life felt any different.
Running an online business meant I was on facebook a lot, and the personal/business lines of my facebook usage were starting to become a little blurred. I had started to feel funny posting personal things on my page, as I knew there were so many people ‘looking’ who I didn’t know very well, or even at all!
You see when I first joined facebook, having as many facebook friends as possible seemed to be the ‘thing’ to do. The more ‘facebook friends’ you have, the more popular you appear, the more connected you are, and I guess the more you believe people will like you.
I find it sad that in today’s society, we base our personal worth on how many ‘friends’, ‘likes’ & ‘comments’ we get.
So, I asked myself who I wanted to stay connected with on my personal facebook page, and came up with the following 3 questions, which dictated my ‘unfriending’ action.
- Would I visit this person if I was in their home town?
- Do I have their mobile phone number?
- Would I invite them into my home?
The unfriending process was challenging and slow at first. I felt like a mean bitch! But then I stopped and reminded myself that this was MY PERSONAL SPACE, and I get to choose who gets privilege to my personal life. After a little while it became easier…and to be honest I even became ruthless!
Eventually (after a good solid few hours), I had my ‘friends list’ down to 335 people…..and it felt GOOOOOOOD!!!! I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders! I scrolled through my news feed and there were posts from people who I actually wanted to see, people who I know and love. Oh it felt good 🙂
After the friends list I went through the ‘facebook groups’ and the ‘pages’ I liked, and stared removing myself from the things that were no longer in alignment with my true self.
And so began my month of facebook detoxing….
I tell ya what, it was hard at first…but it turned out to be the best month EVER!!! I knew I was on facebook a lot, but I didn’t really notice just how much, or more importantly, just how addicted I was, until I didn’t have it. I experienced massive FOMO (fear of missing out!) at first, and noticed how often I mindlessly went to reach for my phone to check social media.
But it wasn’t long until I noticed this beautiful S P A C E that opened up in my life. Little moments that I never had before because I was too busy checking facebook. Little moments to look up and notice the world, smile at a stranger, call a friend, read a book, take some deep breaths, or even nap!
I also felt happier about myself. I didn’t feel the need to do more, be more, or look a certain way. And I’ve felt much more present with the people & environment around me.
Having an online business means that I’m not going to totally go off facebook, but it was a really important lesson for me in social media addiction. And I also understand that it’s not all bad…I have certainly met some amazing people through social media networks, who have become ‘real life’ friends, it’s a great way to share important information and keep up to date with whats going on in the world (because I don’t watch the news!).
My main lesson, and the lesson I want to share today, has been that social media is extremely addictive, and can take us away from R E A L L I F E. It also has the power to make us unhappy, anxious & even depressed. But used in a mindful way, it can also fill our lives (and news feed!) with some inspirational & wonderful people & ideas.
Here’s a list of my personal boundaries with facebook:
- To only be friends with people who I love, respect or who inspire me
- Be mindful of who I follow, and what I post
- To not have the app on my phone.
- To not check facebook in the morning
- To not check facebook (or any screen) at least 1-2 hours before bed
- Check facebook only once in the day, preferably in the early evening
- Turn off notifications – email, phone alerts
Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience, and I encourage YOU to have a month break from social media and see how much your life improves because of it 🙂
Love Ngaire xox