I have a love/hate relationship with social media, but after months of being consumed by my feeds and feeling discouraged by other people’s highlight reels, I decided that it was time to take a much-needed break from the digital realm. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
I stopped comparing myself to other people. This one is probably a given, but when I stepped away from social media, I had no false reality to compare my life to. I started to appreciate my own daily routines and accepted my lifestyle as being unique and special in its own way. I was able to see myself more clearly and stopped picking myself apart due to what I was seeing online. Ultimately, I was able to boost the self-love that had been lacking in my life for a long time. I realized that just because I wasn’t floating around on a yacht in the middle of the Caribbean didn’t mean I wasn’t an exciting, worthwhile human being with a lot to offer the world.
I started focusing on my own experiences. With no social media to distract me, I was able to fully immerse myself in my outings and activities. I was never worried about capturing a picture to post on my feed or documenting my location for an Instagram story. I was able to live in the moment and genuinely participate in life in ways that helped me create authentic, happy memories that I’ll never forget. Without the need for a digital copy, I realized that taking part in my own experiences are a lot more interesting than being preoccupied with documenting them.
I stopped trying to impress my followers. If you take a minute to stop and reflect on your intentions, you’d be amazed at how much of your time is spent trying please other people. A lot of the photos I would post online weren’t for me, they were for people I hoped would validate me by liking or commenting on them. Instead of looking to the people closest to me for love and support, I would seek that approval from people I barely knew by monitoring the number of likes that rolled in. When I stopped focusing all my energy on my social feeds, I was able to differentiate what I did for myself versus what I actually did for other people. Stepping away only confirmed that the only person in this world I need to please is myself. Suddenly, I didn’t give a crap what other people thought, and it felt great.
I reconnected with myself. The funny thing about social media is that while it can connect you to other people, it leaves you feeling disconnected from yourself. I was so concerned with everyone else that I wasn’t able to focus on my own life, interests, or relationships. When I unplugged from the online world, I was able to get to the core of what I actually liked and what outlets made me feel at peace. Ultimately, I noticed that I was a lot cooler than I gave myself credit for and I didn’t need to show that off online.
I did things for the right reasons. I used to feel like I had to go out just so I could post something on social media about my weekend escapades. Even if I felt like sitting home watching a movie and eating ice cream, I’d force myself to hit up the bars because I felt like I was “supposed to.” If I didn’t, I would have intense FOMO. I genuinely believed that if people didn’t see that I was out and about on a Saturday night, they’d think I lived a boring, uninteresting life. After deleting my accounts, I had the peace of mind to realize that I actually wasn’t missing out on anything at all. Doing what I wanted to do and learning to say no helped me establish my own boundaries and stand by my decisions.
I stopped feeling like I was under a microscope. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with putting a halt to sharing every aspect of your life online. Taking myself off the grid allowed me to leave an air of mystery around myself. I loved the fact that no one had any idea where I was or what I was doing because I was actively withholding that information from them. I felt like I had complete control over my life and what I allowed others to see. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was calling all the shots, and this helped boost my confidence to new levels.
I managed my time a lot better. It was extremely refreshing to go to work and not be distracting by what was happening online. I was able to effectively map out my day and complete my tasks with ease. My time management skills improved outside of my job as well. Instead of sitting on my couch hunched over my phone, I pushed myself to get to the gym and use my spare moments to feel better both physically and mentally. Instead of laying in bed and checking my notifications in the morning, I was able to wake up at a decent time and organize my life before I left the house. Making the extra effort to take care of my physical self definitely aided in improving my outlook.
I saw things from a different perspective. After deleting my social media accounts, I was able to see the world for what it really is, which is imperfect. Everyone is so focused on sharing their highlight reels, best angles, and happiest moments that we sometimes forget that daily struggles are a real thing that real people go through. I learned that it’s OK to not have everything together 100% of the time. That mindset helped me recognize the low moments so I could appreciate the high moments when they came around. Ultimately, I was able to find a silver lining in situations I otherwise wouldn’t be able to before.
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