A number of people, celebs included, have gone on a social media detox. There are benefits to it, as well as some hiccups. For sure there are lessons to be learned when you do something this drastic (in 21st century standards, of course). Here are some insights from living a year without Facebook and Instagram. Take note: Some of them are best gained by actually disconnecting yourself!
1. We need to be proactive about our happiness, and that's perfectly fine.
For some of us, repeating to ourselves that we are happy or that we are doing well in life doesn’t work. Some of us know when we’re only trying to convince ourselves of something, which ends with us feeling much worse. That’s why it’s important for us to do what we can for our own happiness and sanity. If that means deactivating your Facebook account to be as far away as possible from posts and pictures that trigger negativity, go right ahead. We all have to start somewhere in boosting our spirits. Don’t call yourself weak for being affected by people’s posts. Doing something about it means you're strong enough to take charge of your happiness.
2. Comparing yourself with others can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Theodore Roosevelt has a powerful quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That’s why in relation to #1, getting off social media helps us be happier: We keep ourselves from comparing, since we’re no longer constantly aware of our peers’ successes.
But it must be argued that comparison isn’t entirely a bad thing. It’s not something we must stop doing. And that’s because it can push us to do better and achieve more. It can also make us interested and knowledgeable in things that aren’t in our immediate circle.
It then boils down to how we compare ourselves with others. Do we weigh our career struggles versus our Facebook friends’ travel photos? Because that will definitely make us feel like we’re not doing well in life. But if we’re logical enough to compare similar things, or to take our friends’ posts with a grain of salt (because all those are still projections), we’ll go through our feeds unscathed.
3. Friendships are formed when you make friends; they don’t have to be broken simply because of different or opposing political views.
The heat of the election season may have fizzled (thank goodness), but some of the posts on our feeds are still political. Some of us still fight (or witness others fight) to the death over the current happenings in the government, hence ruining friendships that were once pretty solid. That’s sad. Don’t give me any of the “Would you really want to be friends with someone who doesn’t believe in human dignity?” “Would you really want to be friends with someone who worships an admin that just made the rich richer and the poor poorer?”
While we have every right to disassociate ourselves from people we disagree with, it must be said that there’s more to people than their political ideologies, and more to friendships than having the same political views. Getting off social media will make you generally unaware of their beliefs (and them with yours), so you guys can easily talk about your heartbreaks, gush about your crushes, share stories, hang out and have some laughs, and give each other relationship or career advice—you know, actually be there for each other. Remember when friendship was about that?
Sure, it might be better to remain good friends in spite of opposing political views, but not everyone can live up to that ideal. It’s much easier, if not a baby step, to avoid politics especially if you or the other person is quick to judge or to stereotype. (Yes, it might not be worth being friends with people who might cut you off for having an opinion that isn’t in line with theirs, but while they haven’t done that yet, the right thing to do would be to sustain the relationship and be a friend.)
4. Social media isn’t innately or purely evil.
It has led many of us to do things for the hearts. Some were radical enough to stage or even fake their pictures just so that people will follow them or like their posts. And if they don’t reach the target number, they get upset or jealous of others who do. Social media has also intruded our quality time with our loved ones; our family, friends, or partner might be with us, but we’re glued to our screens instead of doing something together that makes us appreciate the company. And let’s not forget the comparisons we end up doing, and the pressure we put on our partners to step up their posts about us and the relationship—how their post seems to matter more than what they do for you out of love IRL.
Deactivating your social media accounts will really disconnect you from many people. That may be the point of doing the detox, but eventually you’ll want to reach your other friends and you’ll want to hear from them via a platform through which they’ll reply for sure. Social media is and can be good when it connects us to our loved ones, peers, and professionals, or to new ideas or information. Like any other tool, it’s good for you if you use it well.
5. You have so much time for yourself.
All that time you spend stalking, mindlessly scrolling through your feeds, and feeling bad about yourself is time you could have spent doing something you love, developing your skills, or planning your future. That said, if you know your goals and get sidetracked by social media, you’re likely to be more productive and attain them when you deactivate your accounts.
6. There are people who care for you.
And they care about you enough to miss you, because you’re harder to reach without a Facebook account. They might be few, but the point is that they exist—and that’s enough, isn’t it? They will ask you how you are and what you’ve been up to; and if this is done in person, you’ll even see and hear the sincerity in them.
You’ll also find yourself genuinely curious about other people, which some of us don’t feel often anymore because social media lays everything out for us. So for you to ask what your friends are up to on a regular basis, you’ll really feel like you’re connecting with them.
7. Your life is still largely about what makes you happy and fulfilled.
If your happiness mostly depends on what other people think of you and the likes they give your posts, good luck, because when will the numbers be enough? But if it doesn’t or you don’t want it to, just keep doing what you do if in your heart you know you’re on the right track.
Disconnecting yourself from other people will make you realize that you are your best ally and enemy when it comes to achieving your personal goals and desires. Doing a social media detox can help you set our own pace and standards. It’s then important to ask yourself which matters most: getting ahead, having the same pace as others, not being far behind, or the fact that you’re out there running and doing your best?
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