Studies show that the use of social media may be linked to loneliness, depression and overall feelings of unhappiness.
“I’m thinking of deactivating my Facebook account,” my friend tells me, as we roll out our mats and prepare for our Thursday afternoon yoga class. We have only recently become friends, but we have already established a little Thursday ritual of yoga followed by lunch.
I spent the next hour on my mat fixated on those words—“deactivating Facebook”—and thinking about the effects social media has on me personally.
Yup, you read that correctly, I was not in the moment, nor was I totally zenned out. I was lost in my head, lost in my thoughts. I began thinking about deactivating my Facebook account too, and what that would look like for me. I thought it would be nice to disconnect from social media a little bit, and I don’t really go on all that much anyway…
But oh, wait, I can’t—how would everyone know when it’s my birthday so they could write “Happy Birthday” on my wall? And how would everyone know that I’m in Indonesia doing my super awesome yoga teacher training?
Wow! Halt! Oh My Goodness! Are these really my initial thoughts? As the thoughts continued to pour into my head, I realized that I clearly needed to examine my connection to social media more deeply.
Was I really considering not deactivating my account so people (most of whom I don’t even speak with anyway) could write “Happy Birthday” on my wall? If they were a good friend they would not need to be prompted by Facebook to send me birthday love, they would probably call or text anyway. And why on earth do I need to announce that I’m going to Indonesia for yoga teacher training? I’m not doing it for recognition; I’m doing it for myself.
I began to realize how deep my struggle for approval and validation was rooted.
Was I so desperate to have this validation that I relied on the “likes” of others from social media to determine how amazing my life is? This mini “aha” moment brought me to tears on my mat.
I started to think about the next few months ahead and the things I had planned to better myself and to grow—these are things I am doing for me.
Sometimes I find myself searching for the perfect picture or quote to post online, to share with the world, to inspire others and deep down to validate myself based on the reaction I receive. I started thinking of how many moments I have lost while my face was in my phone, how many times I’ve been taken out of an actual moment to stage a photo.
I admitted to myself that I did not want to be consumed by social media while at my YTT in Indonesia. I want to be in the moment, 100 percent, fully submerged in my surroundings and not thinking, “Oh gotta post that lotus picture with that awesome quote I just heard.”
I decided I needed to do this for me. To connect to myself and to the present moment, the moment I am living in right now. The more I thought about all of this, the more I realized I had to deactivate my Facebook and Instagram too. That’s it, I decided right there on my mat, I’m quitting both!
I was in need of a Social Media Detox.
After yoga I confessed my thoughts and feelings to my friend and I was so relieved to hear that she had similar thoughts and experiences when she first thought of deactivating. I am not alone in this.
I’ve known of my personal struggle with social media for a while but I’ve never met anyone else who did, or at least no one else who was honest and willing to admit it. And here she was, my beautiful friend, sitting in front of me, also battling a similar beast.
Throughout lunch we exchanged our stories and experiences, finding empathy for one another, as we knew the feelings all too well ourselves. I left lunch feeling charged with a magnificent energy, I felt alive. When I got home I literally ran into my house and deactivated my Facebook and deleted the Instagram app from my phone.
I have no idea how long this will last, as I’m not really setting any goals or deadlines for myself. But I will say this: I have found much more happiness in living in the moment than living through social media.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Used with Permission