Why I Had to Quit Facebook. ~ Monique Minahan

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Maybe you’ve felt the urge to disconnect from social media at some point, but felt like you just couldn’t do it?

I’ve been feeling this desire to quit Facebook for some time now, but kept pushing it away as an unrealistic suggestion.

How could I even consider that? Actually deleting my Facebook account?

Still, the idea kept nagging at me, so I asked myself: What do I want to do with my life? Does Facebook help me do that?

After admitting it was a major distraction from what I really want my attention to focus on, my mind started to quickly throw out reasons why I couldn’t possibly quit. Even then, I still could not deny that Facebook was not contributing to my most authentic, true life.

In fact, it was taking me away from it.

While it doesn’t take my body anywhere, it takes my mind away. It clutters my mind with status updates and product ads I can live without. The friends I’d like to keep, but it’s become a matter of diminishing return in a way.

While on its face Facebook appears to be all about connection, as the name implies, it’s a superficial connection. You’re getting the face people choose to show you as opposed to their heart and soul. As one of my friends responded when I complained she wasn’t on Facebook and couldn’t be my “friend,” “I’m not your Facebook friend. I’m your real friend.”

Life is too short for artificial connections. I want authentic connections.

A study out of Harvard analyzed the social media phenomena and gave some credence to the concept that updating our Facebook status stimulates the same reward centers in our brains as sex or food. The study found that “upwards of 80% of posts to social media sites (such as Twitter) consist simply of announcements about one’s own immediate experiences.”

Diving deeper into the importance and motivation for self-disclosure, results revealed that participants would even give up money in order to speak about themselves. The results were magnified when the factor of having an “audience” was included.

The researchers concluded that brain regions associated with both “intrinsic value” as well as “reward value” were stimulated by such communication about one’s self.

So if you feel “addicted” to social media, you’re not alone.

I’ve started to see it as an empty addiction, and more importantly, a distraction from the beauty of real life. The dissatisfaction of not receiving enough “likes” or the focus on capturing every moment so we can post it or Tweet it seems to me to diminish present-moment awareness and the deep fulfillment and peace present in the simplest aspects of our lives.

In our age of more is better and information overload, we are told simple is not enough. Our senses are so used to being overstimulated that we can almost miss the beauty in a bee buzzing, a flower opening, or a clear beautiful laugh.

I get caught up in the rat race of daily life just like we all do, and I have to work hard at re-centering, reconnecting and remembering my true essence, my true purpose, and the absolute fleeting, brief, unpredictable nature of life.

The words of Leo Babauta put it plainly: “I quit Facebook because I wanted to live deliberately.”

His words borrow a phrase from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Here’s to living deliberately and to fronting the essential facts of life.

It’s been 24 hours since I deleted my Facebook account, and I feel lighter already. I’ve had one or two unconscious moments of starting to mindlessly look for the Facebook button.

Catching myself, I feel relieved it’s not there anymore, allowing me to truly live a more mindful, more complete, and less distracted life. I feel freed up to put my full attention on the slowness of a sunset, the connection of a real hug, the smell of garlic in a pan, and the steady rhythm of a heartbeat.

Instead of trying to capture and freeze-frame all of life’s moments, I intend to relish them completely.

To live deliberately, fully, and with as little distraction and regret as possible.

Like elephant journal on Facebook.


Ed: Bryonie Wise

Source: socialmediatoolcoach.com via I’m on Pinterest


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anonymous Jul 23, 2014 9:32pm

For those of us who are caregivers, social media is a blessing. We stay connected to our friends and family, some of whom live out of state. It works well for me. I just wish there weren't privacy issues. All-and-all, it's a good thing.

anonymous Mar 7, 2014 3:05pm

You can create whatever you want including meaningful communication on Facebook. It takes intentionality but I think just because you weren't able to create it yourself does not mean it cannot be done. As for myself, I live in Colorado and my friends are spread throughout the country and it's impossible to call everybody to get caught up so Facebook takes care of that need. Then I am selective of what is being posted on my FB page. Mostly spiritual posts and positive news feeds keep me buzzing and light on my feet. It certainly works for me!

anonymous Dec 31, 2013 8:17pm

Just found this post via the elephant's list of the best 108 blogs of 2013. How timely as I just deactivated my Facebook account a few days ago. I do enjoy Facebook, but unlike too many of my social media friends, don't see it as a way to stay in touch — not in real touch. Mostly, it was the distracting quality you mentioned. Just "checking Facebook" could end up taking too many precious minutes — so many links to follow, pictures to look at, statuses to like. I'm deactivating for an indefinite period so that I can focus on the next phase of my life. And then I may go back to it. Or not. Funny that we are all having this conversation at all, when you think about it.

anonymous Aug 18, 2013 6:18pm

I deleted my Facebook account fifteen months ago. It has done a great deal to encourage our society to become hyper-dependent on hit-and-run conversations, where snippets of ideas and information have replaced genuine dialogue and interpretable mannerisms. The human connection is all but lost. My wife's family won't even host family reunions anymore because they can simply facebook the event. My uncle refuses to email out photos because family members can simply check out his facebook page – nothing says "I'm really going out of my way here!" like that sort of sentiment.

It's amazing how much time I have left in life,…after I quit Facebook: 2 hours a day (14 hours a week: 728 hours a year) at minimum.

Now, I actually get things done, spend time with family, work on things at home for work (and vice versa), and genuinely am not inundated with all the nonsensical drama, postings, harassments, and all the other stuff that comes with social media.

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 9:32am

I completely trashed my Facebook page about 4 months ago and unfriended and unliked everything and everybody. I keep thinking it is a discussion group, but it is just people basically blurting out comments and pictures and links. But I went back to my Facebook page and now use it almost solely for Yoga connections, Yoga workshop information, Yoga blogs and articles, and all things Iyengar Yoga. And animal videos… Ed S.

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 9:16am

Bravo! I have never joined Facebook and actually, lost a REAL friend because of it, because I refused to conform, because it made her feel self conscious when I presented my reasons for not joining in a coherent manner. While I see the benefit for promoting causes and good work, there are too many social aspects that are just adding fuel to the fire for an already superficial, materialistic, and ego-centric society where bullying and suicide are growing at exponential rates because of things like Facebook. I have to stop now, because it's making me angry talking about all of the harm Facebook has done.

anonymous May 28, 2013 9:21am

I cannot stand Facebook. I am happy to actually live a real life. I do not have to read about other people's lives and status updates. I do not care to have anyone "friend" or "unfriend" me. I find it to be superficial and very immature – Myspace was my last social networking avoidance. With all of negative comments, I do see some good with long distance friendships, charity work and healthy communication as being more than possible. I just do not see Facebook as the provider to that role. Greed factor = Facebook.

anonymous May 25, 2013 11:43am

I deactivate my Facebook account for months at a time. I've been a musician for 30 years so It's been great to keep in touch with all the great artists I've worked with plus the music lovers and old friends. But, sometimes, I just disappear. Then after a few months I come back and say hello to the FB world.

anonymous May 25, 2013 8:47am

Part 2

My rule for myself on FB is that I don't share anything that I don't want the whole world to know. I marvel at the ways in which we can reach out to people in various corners of the world this way. I am not into the drama that exhibits itself on some folks pages, but that is more about the people involved than the medium itself. For me, what you read on my Facebook page is a window into my world…authentic, what you see is what you get. I encourage exchange of ideas and people are welcome to post on my page as long as it is not racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or endorsing violence. Another perspective from a grateful FB friend(:

    anonymous May 25, 2013 10:09am

    Thanks Edie! These are great points… lots of people find FB helps them move in the direction they want to go. Everyone will have a different "distraction" in their lives, and that's the more important question to ask probably: What is keeping me from living my most authentic life. Many thanks for your thoughts!

anonymous May 25, 2013 8:47am

I am also an Elephant Journal columnist and have found Facebook to be a primary way of spreading the Elephant love so that more folks know about it(: I am a consummate connector and networker, enjoying bringing people together. I have made amazing friends on Facebook, even if we may never meet in person. We have seen each other through joys and sorrows, prayers offered to each other, referrals made for each other. Last weekend I visited a now face to face friend who I initially 'met' via FB a year or so ago. Such a delightful reunion of kindred spirits. We likely would not have crossed each other's paths without the phenom of Facebook.

anonymous May 24, 2013 6:00pm

I quit Facebook in January! I have opened it back up for a day to announce that I was leaving the US. Overall though, I feel better for having let it go. Good for you for letting go! :0)

anonymous May 24, 2013 5:54pm

This post was fabulous! If I had a nickel for each time I quit Facebook only to join again after short time I would be pretty well off. But, I am happy to say that I quit for good about 5 months ago and haven't looked back since. I haven't missed it and if anything I've realized who were my "true" friends as those are the people that still email, text and call me.
What you say is to true, I only wish that everyone else on the social community took a step back to get some perspective. They would quickly learn there is nothing authentic about Facebook whatsoever. People share only what they want and more often than not it's a glorified version of their lives. On the other hand there are those select few who use it to bully others and share negative opinions in a nonproductive outlet.
Kudos to you… I haven't missed it and I haven't wanted to go back once!!

anonymous May 24, 2013 1:12pm

I just had to share this 😛
Kidding… I've made a point of not friending anybody that wouldn't recognise me if we walked past each other in the street, and have found quite a few old friendships rekindled all over the world. That said, I hear you.

anonymous May 24, 2013 12:50pm

For similar reasons to yours I resisted joining Facebook for years. I hated all that 'Friend"-ing & "Like"-ing rubbish. It's all so Junior High School! Then my wife joined and I finally gave in a few months back and joined. Wish I had trusted my initial instincts.

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Monique Minahan

You won’t find Mo on Facebook, but you will find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. She’s a believer in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. She happily writes for Intentblog.com and is currently experiencing the magic of teaching yoga. Read more of her wild ideas at mindfulmo.com.