Social Media. To join or not to join. It's a battle we all face, some less and some more. If you love art, beauty, and community, you may find yourself torn, like me. It can be a tool for so much good in our world, if used well. Full of inspiration and expansion for the mind, it often shows us what we can aspire to, what beauty is beyond our current environment, and what ways we can develop and grow. Along with these gifts, social channels can also distract... incredibly. How do we know what's best?
Let me address one topic first. I for one have never been an advocate for the idea that social media is the cause of unhealthy comparison. Instead, I firmly believe this type of comparison wells up from inside an already hurting soul. Comparison, in and of itself, is the natural way we humans expand. It can be light. It can be healthy. It can be used to grow us beyond what we are originally given by our parents. If a channel like Instagram is bringing up pain or confusion or dissatisfaction, instead of blaming the platform, begin to look inward and behind. Why do you feel you have to be the same or better than those you see? Can you admire and praise someone else without lowering your own self-worth? If not, why is that? Take a deep dive into your heart and pay attention to your mind's driving thoughts. Consider the originators of those thoughts, the voices from your past that still dominate your perspective and approach to life. Were they healthy? Were they always right? If you're finding yourself struggling with unhealthy comparison, I'd highly encourage you to find support outside of a digital community. Make sure you feel loved, valued, and respected, prior to joining or at least expecting these affirmations from a digital platform like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
After you can confirm that you are in a healthy whole place, ready to see digital platforms as a way to grow and be inspired, then begin to consider the other issue, distraction. Personally, this is the aspect that hits me the hardest. I'll have a beautiful morning routine and day plan, be moving along well when suddenly I get a notification and check in on a post from one of my favorites... you know what happens next. Thirty minutes later I come up for air and I'm shocked at the time that's flown by! Seriously though... I can't live like this. It's far too disruptive to my productivity. I also notice that it seems to take me into an almost dream-like state, kinda similar to a movie or really intriguing book. It's a bit hypnotic, in my opinion. Have you experienced this?
Now, I know I can turn the notifications off. I can time myself. I can leave my phone in the other room. Believe me, I've tried them all. The thing is, I need my phone volume on to be reached and well let's be honest most of my tools and daily work are often done on my phone! Instead of throwing it all out and choosing to live in the pre-cell phone era, I'm instead choosing to find balance. Moderation. Discipline, if you will. I believe extremism in areas like this will only separate me from the world, a world I care about and wish to know.
So how do we find balance? Well, I'm not going to pretend I have it all figured out, but a few of the habits I've begun to form are starting to ease the controversy of distraction and reduce the impact on my everyday. Here are a few of my recent helpful endeavors...
- When you feel the desire to disconnect, do it. Wait for inspiration or true desire to interact and peruse to return before going on.
- Have a reason for going on. ie wanting to watch your friends' stories, check in on your favorite Instagram accounts or brands, posting. Avoid lingering mindlessly to pass the time.
- Keep your phone on airplane mode until you have set your priorities and schedule for the day. This will provide further motivation to fight the urge to linger. If you're determined, wait until lunchtime to hop onto social channels.
- Keep your phone in the same room, but place it somewhere that's not easy to reach from where you're sitting or standing. Avoid setting it on the desk, counter, or table where you work.
- Make a game of it. See how many days in a row you can go spending only 15min on social channels. It feels sooo good to still be connected, but not have it dominate your time.
- If you post regularly, choose a specific time in your day that you'll post. Save your story, image, caption, etc for that time. Honor it.
- Turn your phone on airplane mode an hour before you go to bed (still working on this one...).
How do you brave this world of constant interaction and stimulation? What are your tactics for finding balance? I'd love to hear :).
À votre santé!