It has officially been a month since I made the decision to step away from my Facebook profile. I did not trust myself to simply walk away from the site cold turkey. In an effort to make my self control stronger I deleted all of my friends before I stepped away. I knew that the urge to peek into other people's lives would pop up and I would give in eventually. I was afraid that such a situation would bring me back into the cyber world once again. With no friends there really is not much pull to the site.
Having the time away has been amazing for my emotional and mental well being. At first I could not put my finger on why I was so strongly motivated to leave the site and so relieved once it was finished. I just knew I felt 100 times better and that was enough for me initially. It was not until a few weeks later that the reason suddenly struck me.
I was no longer being affected by other peoples emotional highs and lows.
You know how it goes, you are scanning your feed and see that someone is going through a difficult time. Maybe their baby was born prematurely or their family member died unexpectedly. Just seeing what they are going through breaks your heart. You are then carrying that sadness around with you all day.
At least I was.
I would get so depressed and upset over something that had absolutely nothing to do with my life. Day after day after day. If it was not my friends personal stories it was ones they were sharing about children killed by their parents or lost in the woods and dying from starvation. I just felt like I was constantly being barraged by all of these heart breaking situations. I would look at my kids as they slept and burst into tears thinking about how horrible it would be if something like that happened in our family.
This was obviously not healthy.
It was not all horrible stories obviously. There was also the staged for Facebook photos of how amazing their lives were or the new car/vacation/clothes/jewelry they had just purchased. Nothing felt real anymore. Where is the sink full of dirty dishes? Or the laundry hamper overflowing with poopy underwear because their kid suddenly regressed in potty training? Was I the only one that did not have a perfect home? Perfect kids? A perfect husband? I knew in my head that their lives were not perfect and that the pictures were more than likely staged but it still lead me to self doubt and self deprecation.
I recently read a financial book addressed towards 20 somethings as they enter the real world. Yes, I know I am far from 20 years old but I am always interested in reading new financial books. Anyways, the book had an entire section on not allowing social media to negatively affect your spending habits. It is really easy to see someone else has a new car and then start to envy them for their purchase. Suddenly our 5 year old, paid for in cash, car is not good enough anymore. Or do not forget all of those lovely adds that pop up on your feed based on things you searched on other sites. I don't know about you but I find that extremely creepy. I do NOT like being tracked and marketed towards. I feel like I am being stalked!
I know these things that affected my life via Facebook are not going to be pertinent to everyone who uses social media. These are the things that were affecting me however. Things that I could not clearly see until I cut the cord so to speak. I do still have my blog facebook page up and running at this time. That is a bit different for me. I am able to post a picture of what I want to share and then walk away. There is no feed to look at or interact with. If someone decides to leave a comment I am happy to chat with them during the day. Since it is so removed from the things that were upsetting me I think I will keep it running at least for the time being.
So, one month of facebook freedom under my belt. I am happy to say there will be many more months to come!