Social Media: The New Addiction?
Can we talk about a secret addiction that I think is on the rise?
One that takes us away from the things that need our attention by tempting us with the avoidance of our own lives. That sabotages our very intentions to accomplish something (anything) that we will later complain we didn’t have time to work on? That causes us to not be present?
It lures us with the…
…and, because it provides an escape from reality, we keep going back for more.
I'll use myself as an example. I have a revolving door of goals & projects I’m always working on. Most recently, my goals require me to sit and write. Undistracted. And, like everyone else, the demands of life often make squeezing out even 20 extra minutes in my day for this activity seem impossible. But the truth is, the time is there - it's just my responsibility to adjust my priorities, which takes a little extra self-discipline.
But here’s the thing. When I do sit down to a dedicated 20 minutes, I find myself drawn to distraction; sometimes, to the scrolling. To the mind numbing that comes with passively looking at other peoples lives (that might not be 100% truthful). It’s this alternate reality that isn’t my own, that I don’t necessarily want – yet I zone out by tuning in.
And I do this because my own mind is full of emotions that I’ve avoided through busyness. So when I catch those 20 minutes, the stress starts to settle in because now I’m actually sitting in thought, and rather than sit with it, feel it, work through it - I make an easy click with my finger and suddenly I’m in another world (not mine) brought to me by social media.
The entire activity is wasteful. It’s frustratingly unproductive and embarrassingly easy to get sucked in.
Yet I do it over and over again.
And every time I get sucked in, I feel icky and guilty and dirty afterwards. Like I’m dripping in other peoples lies and stories, and I need to wash it all off so I can continue on with my day as if it didn’t happen.
I know I'm not alone. I have clients who often complain about their lack of time. About their inability to work towards their own personal goals because their lifestyle is so hectic that it’s nearly impossible to find an extra 30-60 minutes in the day for themselves.
But, is it impossible?
No, it isn’t.
We all find ways to waste time. To avoid what we really ought to be doing, possibly out of fear of commitment or failure or (name that insecurity).
But when it comes to the big Social Media, how much time do you spend surfing and scrolling?
That time spent trolling the social media feeds, is time that we use as filler. It’s time that numbs out our own reality and ultimately limits our own growth.
The workouts and the home cooked meals, the relationships, time spent with family, and the personal development – they can all happen. But, you can’t Snapchat or tweet yourself into better health or a more meaningful relationships.
You’ve got to tune in, to you, in order to make it happen.
So, here’s my thought. My challenge, rather.
Maybe it’s time to be more mindful of exactly what we are doing with our time. Maybe it’s time to wean ourselves off of the social media drug that has us stuck in neutral.
I say we go for less scrolling, and focus on more doing.
That we work towards minimizing the distraction so we can start to give more to ourselves.
Our lives are filled with real shit. It isn’t all pretty and perfect and filled with smiles and puppy dogs that fill our screens. So, in those short spans of time that are so rare and infrequent and precious, let’s give to ourselves.
Let’s do the work that is worth sharing, but let’s not really share it – okay?
Because, like it or not, a “like” doesn’t prove your value. It’s all about what you’ve got going on inside.
And, I think you’re freaking awesome.