I Sh*t My Social Media Pants: By Erin Cummings
Anytime someone announces they are taking a social media break, I normally hear it in a sarcastic Donald Duck kinda voice that makes my ears bleed. Like yeah yeah yeah, you’re cool, we get it. But here I am….I did it, I took a three day social media break. While that might not sound like a lot, as a social media addict it was intense. If I were to describe the intensity, I would say it’s like when a friend tells you they did a juice cleanse and lost 5 pounds, but shit their pants the entire time.
I lost 5 pounds of social media baggage and gained a ton of extra time for other stuff. But I quickly realized how much shit was pouring out of me. At first I just told myself don’t open up the apps, but what I realized was how many times I picked up my phone and went to open my app without even actually wanting to do it, it had become a total habit. You know how you drive to work or school from your house and you get there, but don’t remember a single thing along the way. Yeah, that’s me. I’m checked out from life and hiding in social media, and I don’t know how I got here.
So, I moved my social media icons to a different spot on my phone to throw auto-pilot off on my brain, and it definitely helped. Three days and about 100 moments of me going “damn, I wish I could put this on instagram.” Three days of seeing a friend in person and them saying “did you see on so and so’s instagram that…” and me being like “yeahhhhh I’m taking a break remember?!?!” I’m so obsessed my friends and family could not remember, even my husband forgot that I committed to turning it off.
Let’s use straight data to explain my social media ridiculousness. On the iPhone there is this terribly great feature that shows how much time you spend on your phone……I was averaging 4-6 hours per day on social media. PER DAY. Do you know how much you can do with 4-6 hours?!?! I do and let me tell you the moment I realized how much free time I had, GAME OVER.
I compare my social media detox to the friend with all this shit during juice cleanse because it gave me a little satisfaction and results quickly, but I had a big shitty problem leftover. Why am I so into it, and what am I running away from? It’s pretty common knowledge that social media is literally created and coded for you to become and stay addicted. Now even more so with features and algorithms constantly changing and watching your every move. I realized how dependent I became on it, and how much life it was sucking out of me.
For me social media is a two sided coin. I use instagram as my inspirational app. I follow a ton of photographers, interior designers, yogis, female entrepreneurs and motivational speakers, friends, and oh yeah all my favorite clothing brands. I find it much easier to hide the people I don’t want to see, and I tend to unfollow people a lot quicker. However, the flip side of my inspiration and creativity is judgement. We all have them, people who follow you/you follow that no matter what is posted is watched with a huge eye roll, the ultimate creator of disconnection and breaker of unconditional love. There they are on their couch with a blanket talking into the camera and I’m looking at them and they know I am looking at them but won’t interact and they do the same and it’s status quo, but neither will break the cycle.
Honestly that is most of the shit that came out, all the judgement and shame. Realizing how happy I was not watching it and not letting others influence or add to it. I realized how quickly social media moves me from happiness and fulfillment into anger and judgement, and it just takes a quick flick off my finger. I also realized if I’m in that cycle of stress, I continue to stay in the cycle by checking up on the person/thing that caused me the stress to begin with. “Well what does their social media say?!?!” Social media is a great place to brag, to hide, to stay distracted, to check out, to judge, to hate, and to stay stagnant even though you may be hiding through all of the inspiration and creativity it brings.
So the big question now is not “how do I plug the hole full of shit,” but “how do I stop it at the source?” This means create a whole new relationship with social media and create all new boundaries around it. Give myself designated time to use it, and if I have an eye roll scenario come up tune into myself and figure out the why behind it. Also asking if that person is one I can quietly let go of. Moving forward I can continue to make it funny, sarcastic, creative, and connected content but I have to let go of all of the other stuff. Boundaries do create freedom and sometimes I forget that, because sometimes I'm clearly full of shit.
I challenge you this week to notice your relationship with social media and how it impacts your thinking, your social connections, your connection to yourself, and how you use it to hide….but beware if you choose to do a cleanse, you might end up with a bunch of shit to think about and work through but you may feel 5 pounds lighter.