Like many of us, my full-time job mostly involves working at a computer. Checking Facebook at any spare moment throughout the day became part of my daily routine. During each "visit," I'd spend a significant amount of time scrolling through my entire newsfeed in order to catch up with the last post I had read during my previous break.
Why? I'm not really sure. It had gotten to the point where I was checking Facebook on my phone or computer about every half-hour or so, sometimes so often that I did not even have an update to read in my feed. Facebook became my go to hobby, a source of comfort. Facebook was always there for me, so I always used it.
Like an addiction, using Facebook provided me with a sense of instant gratification. For a second, it broke up my banal work routine and made me feel good. But oh so quickly it left me feeling unsatisfied, jealous and annoyed, though somehow also craving that not-really-rewarding feeling of checking Facebook again.
When I got to thinking about the question of why this cycle was happening to me, I realized that I was "addicted" to sizing up my life and experiences against those of others. Comparing myself to others was the habit that followed after reading every update: in every case, I told myself that I either had a better life or worse life.
If someone was worse off, I felt great and on top of the world, but if someone was doing something seemingly cooler or more fun than what I was, I felt bad about myself, automatically engaged in negative and shameful thinking, sometimes even depressed. I felt frustrated. There was so much I wanted to do in order to "keep up," but my negative thinking was keeping me from doing any of it.
I knew I deserved so much more for myself, and wanted more. Yet I stood still while the world moved around me. With my Facebook addiction, I was living through the computer screen, completely out of touch with the present, and ignoring my own dreams and desires.
So I made a change, and made the conscious decision to be open and ready to try anything. I began by practicing silence, journaling, reading lots of self-help books. I gave up meat, meditated and practiced yoga. Finally, I gave up social media. It felt hard at first, like quitting smoking, trying to ignore the urges and realizing the frequency of them.
Without Facebook, I felt a sense of clarity and connection with my desires. I buckled down, became a certified RYT200 yoga instructor and created an inspirational blog. I prioritized my life and put my well-being on the top of the list along with my passion for travel, culture and growth.
If you're feeling lost, frustrated and just plain bad about yourself, going on a Facebook detox for at least a month is a sure way to find clarity and really connect with your own desires and dreams. Here are five important things I gained from letting go of Facebook …
This one is obvious, but nevertheless extremely powerful. Once you give up Facebook, it will no longer be a time waster in your life. You will no longer have an excuse to put off what you have been wanting to do and will now have more time to do it without the distraction of Facebook.
2. Stronger Connections
You will no longer be able to post or read updates, so you will start to connect to people using other methods. You will quickly realize who you really care about and those that care about you. Those that care will find ways to contact you. You will start to build more solid and authentic relationships.
Because you will rid yourself of outside influence, and the compulsion to compare yourself to others, you can and will do things because you want to, rather than because someone else did it. You will find a deeper satisfaction in being the driving force for the decisions you are making in your life. Plus, say goodbye to the constant presence of negative emotions like jealousy, shame or regret.
If you are that person who constantly posts a Facebook status about all the cool things you are doing, or the funny things you have to say, then your Facebook detox will prevent you from feeding your ego. Each post, like, or friend request boosts your ego, building your false sense of self, taking yourself further away from what really matters. In the process, you'll find connection and satisfaction in more authentic, sustainable ways.
All in all, removing yourself from Facebook or social media will provide a reminder of what really matters to you in your life. You will find the clarity and connection with the things and people you want and desire in your life.
Photo courtesy of the author.