Let’s get real with this whole social media thing. Because everybody has a very different perspective on the value of social media in our society. Is it beneficial? Is it negative? Is it disconnecting our youth? Does it promote self-awareness? There are many different answers to these questions, all which are very relative. But I think it’s very funny that regardless of your personal view on the various platforms, almost every person seems to use some form of social media. Even the ones who hate on it. And that’s because nobody wants to really feel left behind. People want to know what’s going on in the world, with their community, with celebrities, and even more so, they want to highlight what’s going on in their own lives. I for one, love social media for many reasons. I love the networking aspect of it, building a community, promoting your brand, and connecting with others. And of course I love creating aesthetically appealing content that people can be inspired by. BUT, there does come a point, even for me, when the app has gots-to-go. For real. And that’s because it can become really overwhelming and damaging very quickly.
But how do we know when our love for social media has turned into an addiction? How do we know when the apps are distracting us from our God given purpose? And at what point are we able to properly identify that social media is doing more damage than good?
Here’s 4 Signs That It’s Time To Delete the App and Redirect Your Focus!
Mindless & Aimless Scrolling
Sometimes I find myself in such a place of addiction to Instagram, that as soon as I unlock my phone I click on the app just out of habit. Even when my intentions were to call someone or open another app, I find myself on Instagram. It’s real tragic. At that point, it’s become a mindless habit of mine. And we do this all the time, we scroll when we’re tired, in class, at the table, and even in a room full of people. Scrolling disconnects us from building relationships, handling our responsibilities, and being in a creative state. We have big dreams and yet we’re scrolling our lives away looking at what somebody else is doing. In these moments social media has become a distraction. No longer are we being intentional with our use of the app, it’s become mindless and habitual. And it becomes even more dangerous when we begin to mask our feelings in an app. I know I’ve had moments where I’m fresh off of having a breakdown, filled with anger, or feeling anxiety, and what am I doing? Scrolling. Honestly, like my friend Brynn would say, “it’s real wack”. Because how is it benefiting me? How is it helping my mental health? Fueling my purpose? Or allowing me to reflect and analyze my feelings? It’s just not. It’s that simple. And in those moments, I have to make the not so easy decision, to not just delete social media, but to reflect. I have to be honest with myself and refocus on my self-awareness, purpose, and relationship with God.
When Social Media = Gossiping
Okay you guys, I believe that this point is critical. Gossiping for one, is something that we all struggle with. We gossip at work, through social media, and at school. We even have tv shows geared for gossiping (Ex: E! News) And no matter how small or large it seems, gossip is gossip. And I truly believe that how we speak about others is only a reflection of how we see ourselves. And unfortunately, the accessibility we have to other people’s lives through social media only makes us do it more. We scroll through social media just to talk poorly about others, comment on what they’re doing, critic how they look and what they say. This has become so common that we forget the damage that it is doing. We forget that people are still people. And we do this even more with celebrities. Let us not forget that everybody is going through their own struggles. Everybody is hard at work, trying to find their identity. And EVERYBODY needs grace. So whenever you find yourself on social media just to make comments and critics about other people’s lives, use that as an opportunity to ask God to reveal the truths that lie in your heart. Living a life of gossip, brings no glory to God, and is only hurting us in the end.
Social Media For Breakfast
Ahhhh, I know I know. This is a habit that can be hard to break. But one thing I’ve learned over time, is that how we start our day is extremely important. The first thing we do in the morning needs to be something that is going to fill us with positivity, motivation, and joy. See I’ve found that the problem with social media is that it can be TOO open and accessible. We don’t really understand what we’re truly opening ourselves up to. Whether that be: gossip, complaining, depressing news, or greed. We open ourselves up to negativity, stress, and anxiety before the day even starts. And, not to mention the morning battle we already have with ourselves. We’ve all had those mornings where we wake up and the FIRST thing we think about is our to-do list and in an instant we become stressed out and overwhelmed. But even on days like that, we have to make a choice. So no matter where you get your joy from: meditating, reading, praying, daily affirmations, or journaling, vow to not think about anything or anybody else until you’ve got your morning fill of joy. Ditch the social media and choose God, choose you, choose your happiness! It’s a true discipline that has taken me a long time to truly develop, but when I say that it makes all the difference in the world, I truly mean it.
The Comparison Trap
This one is really hard because we don’t really want to admit when we are comparing ourselves to others. And not just that, sometimes we allow ourselves to get so deep into comparison that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. What started off as just scrolling, turns into seeing somebody achieve/have something that you desire, like start a business. Now you find yourself in a place of feeling purposeless. And once we get trapped in comparison, it’s hard to get out. People on social media love to show off their accomplishments, material things, relationships, etc. And at some point, it can become hard to see others with the things that you want and not think, well what about me? But, what I’ve learned is that comparing yourself to others is not only unwise, according to scripture (2 Corinthians 10:12), but that comparison is truly a trap. I highly recommend the devotional The Comparison Trap by Sandra Stanley. It really goes deep into this idea of comparison trapping us and our growth. I think it’s important to recognize when we feel ourselves falling into comparison, and learn how to make the decision to remove things in our life that cause us to compare. Even if that includes, our beloved social media apps.
“It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time”
Let me close off by saying that all of these things have taken time for me to be able to recognize. It is not easy to disconnect yourself and then really reflect on who you are. Realizing your true self, even the not so nice parts, is very hard. But I believe that it takes true self-awareness, to recognize, admit, and then take action. It takes true self-control to delete social media for necessary periods of time. I truly believe that self-awareness is one of the keys to finding your identity, developing self-control, and fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. Remember that anything in life can be used to help you or hurt you. And social media is no different, but hopefully through this I’ve helped you develop the discernment to know the difference. For me, these are just a few of the things that God has revealed to me over time, but for you it could be different. But I truly believe that if we continue to seek God and to dig deeper in our own self-awareness that we can become our true, best selves. With or without social media.