Step back, switch the camera lens, step to the other side, zoom out – a change in perspective can alter your worldview, but it takes committed action to get there.
My husband and I committed to being off of social media for Lent & each day my eyes are opening wider and wider to the effects it subconsciously has held over me.
I don’t scroll that much … *picks up phone every second she has downtime*
I don’t clean up my photos as much as some people… *blurs out wrinkles in every picture*
I don’t compare myself to others on here… *stares wistfully at photos she wants to replicate*
I am ashamed of how easily I have allowed myself to be moved by this generation of social media. I’m not a college kid – I am a grown, married woman – yet I am spending time glued to a screen, comparing my current life and looks to those of 18 year olds?
Two years back, I made a decision for my social media to no longer be used as a means of personal gain, rather to spread ideas and spark meaningful conversations. I had completely convinced myself that due to this shift, I was no longer under the dark thumb of the “like” monster.
These past couple weeks of stepping back have contradicted the above idea & brought to my attention many unexpected realizations:
- I felt entitled to down time on social media – I’d spend too long scrolling and numbing my brain because it had naturally become such a habit.
- The comparison game is REAL – I had convinced myself I was not comparing my life to those on my news feed, but was desiring to post images that looked a certain way because I felt the need to keep up.
- I was not practicing what I was preaching – I’d be the first person to tell someone else they don’t need to touch up a photo, yet I’d turn around and remove every dark circle under my eyes and wrinkle from my face. How hypocritical.
My husband shared with me how shocking it was for him to watch me clean my face up without a second thought. I had become so comfortable doing it & was mortified to have it brought to my attention, but I was also grateful to have it brought to my attention.
I say none of this to put anyone down – there are some very aesthetically pleasing accounts on social media and it’s wonderful to see the coordinated preset colors & great ways people influence for positive reasons.
I share these thoughts for my own accountability.
If Jeremy and I are blessed enough to have children one day, I don’t want to be a mother who alters her photos but turns around and tells her daughter she doesn’t need to change a thing because she is perfect in God’s eyes. I don’t want to be hypocritical – I want to say those things to our kids and mean it because I am living it out.
On a brighter note, these are the overwhelmingly positive reflections I have experienced since stepping back:
- It’s more fun to update people – when I am not concerned with sharing my present, daily life with the virtual world, I actually have cool updates to share with people when I talk with them.
- Social Media is not a catch up – scrolling through someone’s feed does not equate to an intentional conversation with them. It feels so much better to call someone and honestly hear what is going on their life.
- I have more time throughout the day – amazing, right? By not sitting down to scroll at any point during the day, I have extra pockets of time to accomplish tasks that really bring me joy.
- I’m more present with family and friends – there is no lingering thought in the back of my mind about a photo I just posted. When I am with loved ones, I am fully present and engaged in our conversation and experience together.
- There is no stress – there is freedom from the natural stress associated with “keeping up” in social media. I am way more relaxed on a day-to-day basis.
I do not miss it.
I daydream about getting rid of Instagram permanently, and may very well do that. Social media is not real life. It is a fantasy, virtual world where people get to be the best version of themselves because we can alter it to whatever extent we choose.
Real life is so much more fun and I am happy being healthy & present for the ride.