How many times have you said to yourself, I am just going to check Facebook/Instagram really quick? Next thing you know 30 minutes have gone by? Or an hour, or an entire morning! For me, on a weekend morning post-divorce with kids running around — it could have been hours and hours, weeks after weeks, of this garbage skimming my brain. I won’t say sinking into my brain because typically when I was done with a long FB scroll session I’d say to myself, what did did I just read? What did I even learn from that? Nothing would jump out. I wouldn’t remember what I’d even read. It was simply a dazed and a glazed way to suck up my time.
I’d blame it on the desire to go mindless after my break-up. My marriage ended five years ago and scrolling was a way of coping for hours and hours, week after week, balancing the stress of navigating being a single working mom, and handling life without a partner. Recently I was asked about my scrolling habits — when they had actually started. Once I dug deeper inside myself, I got really honest. Peeling my layers about my married life, pre-divorce, I remembered there were times, many many times infact, that I’d look forward to my chill time to scroll Facebook. I remember after a long way of work and little ones, I’d look forward to it. I would see what people were up to. It would make me feel connected. It would be post-finally putting three kids successfully down to sleep, that I could settle in for a nice scroll session, vs. let’s say, a nice sex session. Ugh! Looking back — what I really needed to be doing was connecting with my husband, if even only to talk or hold each other. That was not happening.
There is no question, in a relationship or not, social media can be the ultimate escape. Too tired to relate, too tired to think, too tired to connect intimately, to tired to tinder flirt, but definitely awake enough to sift through random shit to numb out. I was overwhelmed with my to-do list at work, my to-do list running the house, my to-do list to parenting. I consistenly refer to one of my favorite Eckhart Tolle quotes,
what’s in the way is the way…
but, instead of walking one foot infront of the other and getting through those tasks, I’d kind of flop into bed avoiding all of it. Do any of you relate? Does this resonate?
I’m a positive person, so I am called to put a postive thing about social media in here because I am so passionate about it it’s not a choice not to. I recently became part of an incredble forum that is my heart-work. I bring this up because to me being here is time well-spent on Facebook and I only wish it was around 6 years ago so I didn’t feel so isolated back then. The Breakup Project is a quickly growing tribe started earlier this year for those thinking of ending a relationship, going through a divorce, or recovering from a breakup. It’s a wonderful way to connect and heal, turning pain and grief into empowerment and self-love with others in a private supportive group that can serve us in a healthy way.
I have a whole new appreciation for the positive benefits of Facebook because of the private Facebook page “Breakup Project”. For me, I am convinced my hero’s journey let me to this healing group to share me lessons, this is my call. I encourage any reader looking at this join us. We help facilitate the sharing of personal stories, we teach and learn, we inspire and are inspired by one another. This is a space to sit in, this is a community to breathe for ourselves, and for each other. This is oxygen, life’s best kind of medicine. I like to think of people coming slowly into The Breakup Project as a caterpillar, and after staying awhile they cocoon up and break free to soar as a butterfly.The thing is — like most vices we indulge in, the end result wasn’t so great. I’d feel more chaos, more to-do list building up, and have a social media sluggish groogy feeling . Who ever says wow, I just scrolled for 3 hours on facebook and man now I feel amazing! I’m ready to take on the world, fresh and full of energy? I can appreciate that social media can be an effective way to share information quickly- positive or negative news. The social media endless scrolling though… does it serve you?
Whether we are news junkies or prefer to live in a cocoon- these hurricanes and earthquakes and fires are bad news. The earth is angry. However, hours of getting sucked into catastrophe pictures probably isn’t going to lift your psyche up. And when you do stop scrolling and walk back into your life, if your world is not the ideal way you want it to look right now- the hours scrolling probably did nothing to make it better did it? (Life hack hint: watch an Eckhart Tolle you tube instead. Free your mind! Literally. Get present. Oh how his lessons have served me.)
Do you know that companies that design apps for your devices want you to become addicted and keep your attention on what they show you? Do you realize they actually design their apps to pull you in longer? Do you recognize how they are competing for those extra precious minutes of your attention? Remember how you had to click on a video to watch it the past? Now they have the videos automatically play while you scroll by, hoping you will stop. And not just that — once that video ends the next one automatically starts playing and so on and so on to try and keep you there as long as possible! It’s disturbing and it’s so easy to get lulled in — for us, and our children.
It’s so easy to get sucked in as it is — then add….
Ah, just got out of the shower, let us check Facebook for a few minutes.
Ah, at a red light let us breeze through a through instagram photos.
Ah, sitting on toilet now! Going to look at my twitter…and do some acrobatics while wiping myself while trying to not get the phone dirty cause I wouldn’t want put it on the floor because that would be so gross!
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Talk about a time suck!
Unless you are the most extremely introverted person, Facebook will leave you feeling more down, and more alone, then before you looked at it. See the mom’s night out that you were not invited to? See the guys chilling watching the game and you were not aware of it? See all your friend’s high falutin’ vacations that you couldn’t afford to go on? See all these people living bigger, better, prettier, happier lives then you? UGH!
Now there are also inspirers on there right? Women who speak their truth. Men who actually express themselves. A FB group or movement that help you feel a part of something. Someone’s good news. Something funny that makes you legit laugh out loud. It’s not all negative, but it does take time. A lot of it.
Number one time of day that college women feel most bad about themselves? Right after they have been looking at Instagram. The people they see took 20 pictures to get that ever so perfect one that was posted. Most people feel down after seeing a bunch of these.
So we know endlessly scrolling our thumb or finger up or down for hours on end doesn’t serve us. But it is not easy to stop. Especially when we want to avoid our lives and numb out. Especially if we are not strong on our time managment/self-management/efficiency skills. This isn’t exactly an epiphany for you for me is it? I was over it! So done! I just kept thinking Not This, Not This, Not This!
And I’m not going to give you any bullshit like instruct you to delete the Facebook/Instagram app from your phone. I’m not suggesting you download one of those delay apps that exist now. These programs are designed to not allow certain social media apps to open right away when you click on them on your phone. A set amount of time is set for a delayed period on your phone for these apps, it forces a pause by taking time to load and open. I like the concept, a pause. It’s sad though that we need apps like this in our lives.
Control these days is out of control!
When I was separated and getting divorced I lost count of how many times I disabled my account from Facebook. I didn’t want to be public and risk any photos or status updates being used against me. I wouldn’t want people to know I was out. Or, I felt depressed and I wanted to hide. I couldn’t stay off however for very long. It was an addiction. Personally I look at addiction as doing something that we know doesn’t serve us but doing it anyway. I knew it didn’t serve me but sure enough I’d rationalize some important reason to be on. What killed me too was if I chose to be off it and take a break my mother would call me to tell me the latest on Facebook. I’m like mom, I do not need Facebook TMZ.
Social media is not harmless. It has a significant negative impact on our ability to thrive in the economy. These apps are designed to be addictive. When we spend large parts of the day in a state of fragmented attention we can permanently reduce our ability to concentrate. When I learned this I thought oh yes this feels so true unfortunatly. I’ve been a road warrior since the mid- 90’s. I used to love room-service, a bath, and a movie-on-demand at hotels on the rare evening I didn’t have a to do entertain clients for dinner. Once smart phones and social media came out — and ever since, I’ve never turned on tv at a hotel. I would not be able to concentrate. When we see friends potrayals on social medial of their perfect lives, it liekly to cause us to feel inadequate and depressed. The more we used social media the more we are likely to feel lonely. Yet we still climb into bed and self indulge in bringing ourselves down.
Where I am coming from now? Ok here we go.
Now you know and I know that scrolling feeds does not serve us. I will say this though…I do post on a regular basis to Instagram and Facebook to connect and to inspire and be inspired. I post to share my kids pictures with my very spread out family. After a lot of work and five years of some major personal growth as I navigated new chapters in my life post divorce I am in the most authentic self-loving space I have ever walked. I put it all out there in hopes of reaching one person; in hopes of my words being relevant and resonating with someone who needs to read them right at the exact moment they do. Someone who perhaps is looking for the courage to walk through a breakup; or someone recovering from a breakup. Someone who is overwhelmed with life — having to do it all alone. Perhaps someone who is walking out of their denial, and especially someone who is braving the wilderness. Typically when I inspire I am inspired right back. I love the process and feedback. So I post! I post my truth.
So what changed for me?
I don’t scroll anymore. It’s not someting I look forward to, I don’t force myself to avoid it, I just don’t have interest anymore, and I don’t miss it! This has been an incredbly freeing feeling. I am so much more fullfilled with my days. What I had to do was find new passions. Things that moved me, taking my attention by choice so much so that I had to make space in my life for them. Something had to go. I had to find things that required my attention and were more exciting for me and outweighed the draw and desire of endless scrolling.
I sell mutual funds. Relationships are my strength. Being a connector is a passion. Creativity through. That was what was missing. Other than a little amount of creative thinking — my creativity was buried in high-school I think. I never missed it and I never knew it was sitting around waiting for the right time to emerge and blossom. 30 years later she emerged.
Five years exactly after my world blew up and I learned life as I knew it didn’t even really exist, I took a momumental risk. I didn’t realize just how significant a pivitol decision it would be for me, but a year later I can look back and give myself the most gigantic hug of thanks. Because I had a collection of five years of experiences and adventures — painful, joyful, and just plain out of control crazy, I did something it never would have occured to me to do had I not had the last five years I had.
I picked up a pen.
From the first sentance I wrote for Medium I fell in love with the alphabet. And as I wrote I peeled off all my layers, I wrote myself out of denial. I healed with my words. I was left totally exposed, naked on the page — and it was the biggest way I have chosen to show up for myself ever.
I invited creativity into my life. It has been this incredbily significant creative outlet. Similtanesouly I traveled with Eckhart Tolle and truly learned the value of living with presence. I then realized that we are most at truth, most at peace, and most one with love when we are present. And I reazlied that we are most able to be in presence when we are creating. I am so focused and can live in this translike delicious space, free from a monkey-brain and self-doubt and worry when I am creating.
Too much sadness, grief, and anger is too much past, not enough presence. Too much fear, worry, and anxiety is too much future, not enough presence.
To create is to be present.
I picture how I used to must look, like a corpse — barely moving. Laying down on a bed barely moving my thumb scrolling social media. I picture myself in a black and white cartoon movie where the only thing moving is a river of black tar and smoke that are coming out of my phone and dumping an endless stream into my brain. After discovering Medium a year ago, I took so much energy that I had preciously spent in doing everything I could to avoid feeling, to avoid life really and I transferred it to output that served me. I bumped it up to the next level of self- exploration and self-love when I went away this summer on a solo trip.
Now I write and write and write. A creative passion. A healthy passion. A service of love.
Now I do my love-work with The Breakup Project. A creative passion. A healthy passion. A service of love.
Now I spend hours with and hours with these passions a week. No time for scrolling. I will never go back. I could not be happier.
Do you know the now famous YouTube video of Sweet Brown? My hero of a woman saying the now famous “Ain’t no’ body got time for that” line that went viral. Amen Sweet Brown!
What is your passion? What is your art? What is your creative outlet? How do you choose to turn pain into power? Pain in Passion. Find your love-work and say “not this” to scrolling.
RESOURCES included here.(Side note: If you are thinking of ending a relationship, going through a divorce, recovering from a breakup, visit. www.breakupproject.com. Follow at instagram @breakup_project. Join the Private Facebook page: Breakup Project. Like the public Facebook page: The Breakup Project)