Three Things Social Media Is Stealing From You
As incredibly fun it is to add a filter to your picture, write a funny caption, and watch all your friends share in the liking of this moment in time, it’s also incredibly pointless. (Sorry I’m starting this article like ripping off a band aid.) I believe social media started with a pure heart, and though there are some good things it can be used for, like anything else, without moderation it turns bad really quick. The problem then seems obvious, there is no moderation.
In case you’ve never taken a step back and examined your usage of social media and the affects it is taking on you, I’m going to take you there today, don’t you worry! ;)
Three Things Social Media Is Stealing From You
ONE // TIME
I get it, you just got off work, you’ve been thinking all day and all you want to do is just sit or lay horizontal and mindlessly scroll. You like to see what everyone has been up to, it’s nice to check in on your friends, and it’s fun to update about your day. But now it’s been 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30, and you haven’t started dinner yet but you are starving. So you go to heat something up quick. But now you have to pee so you quickly grab your phone before wandering off to the bathroom. A three minute pee takes about 10 minutes. Your dinner is ready so you pull up your computer and start scrolling, mindlessly eating, and “liking” as you go. Dinner ends but you’re still stuck there, checking updates, and watching videos that have been shared. After over two hours of being home all you’ve really done is eaten dinner.
I’m not even poking fun at you, I’m describing what happens to me. We are all guilty of it and “victims” of it. We get up from that table and think “How have I been home for x amount time already?!”
The minute you give in to grabbing your phone or computer and starting the scroll is the minute you give away at least fifteen of your minutes. There is no important “checking in” that needs to be done. If your close friend had something important happen she would text you. Instead you are mindlessly checking on things that don’t need to be checked on.
On a small scale you are trading time that could be spent getting your to do list done or even spending time with real life friends for a small computer giving you updates about other’s lives. On a big scale you are giving your time that could be used towards your goals, dreams and/or ambitions to watch other people post about theirs.
Set it down.
Turn it off.
Go to pee in peace from now on!
TWO // CONTENTMENT
If you have time to look through other people’s life updates you have time to think about how unhappy you are with yours. People who are throughly content and enjoying their own life don’t spend time staring down at others. However, if these people were to start watching others posts and updates they might just start to feel like their life isn’t measuring up.
You’ve probably heard the quote before but I’m putting it here anyways: “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.”
I do not post a picture of my husband and I arguing with a hashtag of “Our fifth fight this week!” because, well, that is just weird. No instead I choose to focus on the celebrations of our marriage and post pictures when I’m feeling loved or grateful for him.
It is not a bad thing to only share the positive of your life. That makes sense. Social media is essentially an online scrapbook, you don’t put fights in a scrapbook, you put vacations in a scrapbook. But it becomes a problem when the people viewing the online scrapbook think this is the whole story. Thus, that quote was born.
When you watch someone go on a trip or get a new car or house you start to look at your life and compare the two. “Why are they in Hawaii when I’m stuck behind a computer all day?” “Why can’t I live like that?” This is breeding ground for discontentment, jealousy, and bitterness. You no longer see the good in your life, the silver lining of what you are doing or the big picture of what you are working towards. Instead you just see that “so-and-so doesn’t have to work and gets to stay home with her kids all day!”
With social media it’s an easy valley to fall into but hard mountain to climb out of.
THREE // YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
This one is more subtle and you wouldn’t really think of social media affecting your relationships in any way. But in reality social media is such a part of our lives that it slips into our relationships without even noticing it. Whether it’s comparing your significant other to “so-and-so who was surprised with flowers by her husband!”, or it’s constantly checking your updates while you are out to dinner or spending time with friends. We are giving social media our attention when we should be giving attention to those closest to us. We are looking at everyone else’s lives and relationships and wanting ones just like them, completely forgetting about how blessed we are with the people in our life!
Being connected to your phone the way we are now only really started when their was more to do on it than just calling someone. Now that we can check in on what EVERYONE else is doing on a Friday night we tend to do that instead of our own Friday night plans.
With so many people on these platforms we can easily peruse social media for other relationships or “satisfactions” when ours in real life isn’t making the cut. Which is ultimately a road for destruction for all relationships.
It catches our attention and keeps it, making it hard for anyone else to do the same.
In the end social media, like many other things, is not inherently “bad”. It’s what we do with these things that makes them harmful to our life. Use it for sharing fun memories, or keeping up with your long distance family, but don’t overuse it. If I’m being honest, I think it is time for a little break, to get back to why we originally liked social media in the first place.
Deactivate the accounts and take a breather.
Remember what you used to do before checking your phone. Remember how you used to connect with people before you “wrote on their wall”, and do that! Get back to basics for a little bit to remind you what your own life is like and what you want out of it in the future, without telling everyone else about it.
I wish you the best of luck!