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Unplugging from Social Media

Emily Dean

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While all of the social tools I loved were connecting me with so many wonderful people I wouldn’t otherwise have met, the bad outweighed the good. My digital connectedness was pulling me further and further away from my own life, away from the ability to be present.

A month ago, I logged out of my personal social media accounts, deleted apps from my phone, and took one, long, deep breath.

I had thought a lot about going social-media-dark for a long time, but on April 1, I finally mustered up some courage and committed to a year away from social media. And here’s why: The self-imposed pressure of measuring up to what I saw online to display a perfect life that really was incapable of happening behind closed doors became too overbearing, too daunting, and too impossible. Instead of living fully present in each daily, gifted moment, I wasted time comparing my life to the feed I couldn’t stop scrolling through. All of that collided to breed a vicious giant of jealousy and discontent in my life that not only robbed me of joy but also of creativity.

It’s not that social media was the culprit of creating mess in my life, it was simply my unhealthy interaction with it.

For a while I tried to mute that mess in my life, pretend it wasn’t there, act as if social media hadn’t really actually had that big of an impact on my emotional health. But, of course, nothing changed.

Something had to give.

So I dug a little deeper, looked past the symptoms to the cause, and there it was—social media. While all of the social tools I loved were connecting me with so many wonderful people I wouldn’t otherwise have met, the bad outweighed the good. My digital connectedness was pulling me further and further away from my own life, away from the ability to be present.

And now, a little over a month in, I find myself wondering why I was ever on social media to begin with.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve experienced a release in my spirit, a slow unfurling of my very soul, and I can feel my being finally unclenching itself and stretching out like a child after a lazy Sunday afternoon nap in the sun.

In a sense, an awakening is taking place, and in the deep void that social media left, gratitude has begun to trickle in and smooth out the edges. In the hours I had previously wasted watching other people live their lives, I have found a new appreciation for living my own. I read more books. I’ve made a habit of baking bread and inviting people around my table. I journal more fragments of poetry. I’ve cracked open old cookbooks and tried new recipes. I sit on the porch with my hands empty, eyes closed, and I simply listen.  

If you’re anything like me, you might feel some of those same feelings every now and then. Perhaps other people’s social media portrayals make you feel like your marriage, your parenthood, your career, or your general life are just not shiny enough, not flawless enough, not meaningful enough. And when social media shows us greener grass every single day, it’s a little too easy to become dissatisfied, sad, and even depressed.

And I wonder if perhaps you don’t also wish for a release and a replenishment of gratitude.

Social media, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It only becomes a destructive tool when we fashion it in a way that feeds our discontentment. So I encourage you, if social media has taken over your life a little too much, start by taking a few small steps toward reclaiming a centered soul and a refreshed mind. Simple steps like setting a daily scroll limit, aiming for one tech-free hour every night, or turning off push notifications are all easy ways to begin clearing the digital clutter and quieting the noise long enough to realize just how much true goodness is in your life.

Friend, I encourage you, start today to create margin and fight for gratitude in your life. Because, social media aside, the gifts we have right in front of us will only exist for a season. Better to savor them than to glaze over them. For all too soon, they too will be gone.


 

Article by Angelina Danae | Photography by LaRue Photography