My Social Media Cleanse

I did it! I finally did it! Well, I think I’ve done it! I’ve moved one step closer to a life of happiness. I’ve sworn up and down that social media does play mental and emotional games with my well being at times. So two weeks ago after what seemed like one of the most intense Pride weekends I’ve ever had, I decided to deactivate Facebook and stay off of social media for good. I think I’ve managed to do this practice several times in my life and these cleanses last for a few weeks, and then I’m back scrolling my feed exposing myself to a lot of falsities that social media seems to play host to. It’s this slow-acting poison that doesn’t present itself right away, but eventually, our minds are eaten from the inside out to expose a life full of self-loathing.

These days, my feed is filled with politics, gym selfies, and viral videos. All three drag me in deep, and then I realize after this neverending scroll, I’ve wasted 45 minutes of my life on posts that hold no weight on what’s going on in my reality. I thoroughly enjoy seeing success amongst my Facebook friends and how they’re accomplishing their dreams, but there’s a fine line where that enjoyment becomes unhealthy behavior. I’ve longed to have what others are experiencing on Facebook or wanting to be at parties that others are posting about and that behavior can create false realities in my head of what’s attainable and what’s really within reach.

I’ve understood for a long time that it’s all a facade, a mirage to hide some of the most difficult times in one’s life. I used to do that, hoping my happy post about how great life was would hide the fact that I was struggling so much on the inside. I think for most of us, we look for approval or reassurance from the ones who matter the least … aka our thousands of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers. I know I used to do that, posting a shirtless photo hoping for this many likes and that many comments. I felt a rush of adrenaline and then I’d scurry off to the gym to have what felt like a more intense workout because I felt validated by those online.

This is what I’ve noticed in the past two weeks of being off social media: I’ve had to motivate myself, validate myself, and look in the mirror at myself and say I’m good enough, sometimes just to pull myself out of bed and get my day started. When we don’t have anything to compare our lives to, good or bad, we seem to require more motivation from ourselves and others physically present in our lives. It’s so easy for a quick comment on social media to bring a smile to my face, but seemingly more difficult when the task to smile is put solely on myself.

I admit it’s been hard to smile these past few weeks. From my depression and anxiety to figuring out where I want to go in life, getting motivated is quite difficult these days. When social media was part of my life, it was significantly easier, but now I’m realizing that I’m in charge of making myself happy and pulling myself together to tackle the world around me, even on the days when all I feel like doing is lying in a dark room.

If all of us could, for one day, take a break from our social influences and take time to find the beauty and happiness for ourselves, I do believe this world would be a happier place. I know I’ve been forced to find beauty and happiness within myself in the absence of social influences, and that makes me happy.