3 Reasons to Consider a Social Media Break
Well, sweet friends, here we are – already almost a week into 2017. It seems surreal! Want to know what else seems surreal? It’s been a month since I’ve published anything on this little space. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the amazing community of blogging friends I’m building, I’ve missed an avenue to pour my heart into, and I’ve missed connecting with like-hearted souls who make this journey so vivid and bright.
I haven’t signed off of social media completely over this month. I’ve just been trying to take a step back and really think about what my intentions have been, where my heart is at, and what direction to go next. I had to take some time to really think about what my habits with social media and navigating the blogging world had come to and what the outcomes of them were. I really don’t believe these things are inherently bad at all – they are fantastic tools to grow and learn and connect! I am so thankful for them and so value them still.
But to be honest, I think I really needed to take a teeny tiny break. And this social media break has been really great for my heart for 3 main reasons (you might want to consider it too!):
1. I Was Losing Sight of My Passion
If you’ve ever blogged for any span of time and tried to look to the left or to the right to see what’s buzzing in the blogosphere around you, it becomes clear pretty quick that there are infinite resources and infinite types of advice available. The deeper you dig into the world of trying to figure out what this is all about or how to be the best you that you can be at it.. you will always find there is more to uncover.
Do this, not that. Write like this, promote like that. Word your titles like this, make your ever-so-pinnable feature images look like that. More to learn. More suggestions to mull over. More advice to sort through. More comparison that creeps in.
At the beginning of December, I just found myself feeling so tired and so out of sync with my relationship with the Lord. I found that it was harder in the mornings to not gravitate toward social media or to browse Pinterest instead of seeking His heart in those quite moments. I realized that most of my free time was found sitting on my laptop. All of it was spent looking at blog year-end reports and reader surveys, or trying to sort through new coding tricks or Lightroom and photography strategies.
I would spend so much time drooling at blog after blog of these women I so admired and hoping that this would leave me feeling inspired. Instead.. it made me feel less than, and so unsure that my little corner of the internet was even worth the upkeep.
It was rough, friends. Comparison is tough on the heart. It was making my lose sight of what my passion was – to write and to encourage. To connect and to grow. To be brave enough to express my heart and inviting enough to give others the freedom to do so, also. This is why I write. This is why I love this little space – it was never created to compare. If I only ever hold it up to the standard of someone else, I will never be pleased. Comparison is a hunger that will never be satisfied.
2. I Found Myself Looking For Authentic Life on a News Feed
Beyond the blogging side of things, I found myself really wrapped up in social media overall. I was realizing that my first instinct with a free moment was to click on Instagram or pull up Facebook and start scrolling away. I became so intrigued with the lives that people would portray on their news feed that I really started to struggle for contentment with my own.
The heart of looking at social media was to connect with people and get a glimpse into their lives, but the result of it was that I was developing insecurity with my own life. Insecurity in my appearance, my job, my home, my relationships – anything at all! And I found myself frustrated that my reality didn’t seem to fit the bill. I kept feeling uneasily tempted to try to make it so – take the right picture or post the right thing. Instagram was even making me feel a little uneasy about how glamorous my Starbucks drink seemed compared to the Instragram norm! Umm. What?
I found myself looking for the authentic life of others on a news feed instead of setting my phone down and looking around me. There is so much more joy and value to be found in learning to cherish and vibrantly love the life you’re given and let that shine through you! I want my life to be sincere and genuine. Setting down my phone for a while and learning to stop, to think, to pray, to observe and to appreciate the little things brought my heart so much joy. I kept pausing to think “This is what life is and this is beautiful. Capture this. Cherish this.” It helped me to remember that life is to be breathed in instead of controlled. It is to be appreciated instead of manipulated. It is a gift given to me by a good, good Father. And I want heart and hands wide open.
3. I Forgot that Who I am Matters Beyond Who I think Others Want Me To Be
Taking a month off of being so active on social media allowed me time to remember who I am. And remember that the heart of who I am matters so much more than who I think others want me to be!
Without intentionally thinking about it, I can so easily look at the social media profiles or blogs of others and think “If only I was like this, I would be more content.” or “If only I could get my blog to be like this/be as focused as they are/learn to be creative like them then I would be more successful in this.” If I let my thoughts wander, then they often begin to adopt the ideology that differences only reflect my shortcomings.
But the truth is that they are only just that – differences. We are all so different. On the internet and beyond it. We have different passions, skin colors, body types, values, histories, and futures. But the difference between you and me is what draws us closer together, not what tears us apart. The difference between you and me is why we need one another and why we add value to the life of each other, and that is something so surpassingly beautiful beyond trying to fit someone else’s mold.
I hope you all had an amazing holiday season and have jumped right into the New Year with expectant hope for what is to come and a refreshed heart to take on a new beginning. Thank you for sticking by my side while I took a little break! I hope that this post encourages you to take inventory of your relationship with social media and to not be afraid to set it down for a while in exchange for a renewed peace. It is so worth it.
What are your best tips for balancing the great benefits of social media without getting to overwhelmed with the comparison game? I would love to hear them down in the comments!