Monday, November 23, 2015

On Quitting Facebook

The fact that I am writing this post, feels a little bit odd. The fact that we've come to a point that quitting a social media platform how carries a long drawn out decision process. And that we have to inform our friends and relatives of it, like it is some huge life choice. 

About a year and a half ago I used the Catholic Lenten season to quit Facebook for a period of 40 days. It was something I really wanted to try and I thought the added pressure of Lent would give me more motivation to stop using it. It was pretty hard. I actually had to put a website blocker on my home and work computers to stop me from actually logging in. It was as much of a habit as it was anything else. 

Over the past year or so I've begun trying to use certain features in Facebook to make it into the experience I want, without all the rest. I spent the time unfollowing every last friend I have, so that I didn't see any unwanted updates in my news feed. I went through and unfriended all the hundreds of people that I had one late night conversation with at a college party. Or the person that I met just once, but wanted to learn more about. I've only accepted friend requests from people that I actually can call friends. Ultimately, I could not silence my desire to remove the addiction from my life completly. 

Over the past several weeks I've been turning inward and doing a ton of self-discovery because of it. With all the self-love I've had brewing over the past weeks, I finally feel ready to say I don't need Facebook anymore. With the changes I've been trying to make in my life, I don't need the habit of checking it either. 

Now what does Facebook have to do with self-love, turning inward, and self-discovery? 

I feel like we are conditioned to get a lot of our self-worth from what other people think about us. Facebook can offer the perfect display of this. When we put a photo out there, we get many likes, and slowly we begin to feel better and better about ourselves due to the amount of likes and feedback we get. But what I am finding is that I no longer want to draw my self-worth from who likes or loves me or what people think about me. It's becoming so clear that if we base our happiness on external factors we will remain a victim. Instead I am working on attaining all my self-worth from inside of me. I want to love and accept myself so much, that all the love I get from others is just nothing but a huge bonus. 

My opinions about Facebook:
1. It's a wonderful tool for bringing people of the world together. For retaining friendships that might not be retained otherwise. For getting information out quickly. In some cases, it can even support revolutions. 
2. It has become a tool for cyber harassment. Now with social media, certain victims of bulling are not even safe from it at home. With Facebook and other social media platforms, people can harass others behind the safe wall of their computer. 
3. It can make us feel like crap about our own lives. With the exception of a pessimistic few, most of us only put our good life stories out there for people to see. Pictures of weekends away, amazing life events, glorious once-in-a-lifetime vacations. With social media, it's become easier than ever before to witness exactly what it is that other people have that you don't. For the easily envious among us, this doesn't do much to stop this when all that is shown is the beautiful side of everyone's lives. 
 4. It overly inflates our own egos. We want to put one of our best photos up as our profile picture, because we want people to see us exactly how we want to be portrayed. We take endless selfies with our chin in just the right position for maximum sexiness. We post all our own high points and look back over and over to see how many likes we get. 
5. I think Facebook can be good at drawing out the things that we are unhappy with in ourselves and the inadequacies that we feel within our own lives. 
6. For a tool that was designed to bring us closer together, I think it's taken us farther apart. Due to email, texting, and other social media platforms, some of us actually have difficult times having face-to-face relations with people. 

Whereas I feel I am not the most guilty among us to do some of the above mentioned things, I definitely feel that I'm not a stranger to them. I need this lifestyle change to keep me on the path of self-discovery that I'm so excitedly on. I need the ability to prove a couple things to myself. I will stay that today, I felt a great sense of calm in my decision and I wasn't even thinking twice, even with some opposing words from a friend. I felt an odd sense of freedom, like come chain would be releasing me. I think that says a lot about my feelings toward Facebook. I'm excited to see how I will feel in the coming weeks and months, and to see if I even will miss it.