Comparison is the thief of joy
For at least the past 3 years, every time a new year would come around I would always consider unfollowing a bunch of people I no longer actively communicate with in real life on social media. However, each year I go to unfollow people, I tend to find myself unable to do it. For some reason, I would rather continue following them and not care about anything they post, rather than unfollow them and risk the chance of missing out on something.
BUT this is going to be the year that I follow through with a social media purge.
About 6 hours ago, I deleted Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr off of my phone and IPad since those are the sites I find myself using the most often. The first thing I usually do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone, switching between Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and occasionally Timehop. Whenever I would sit down in the dining hall to eat alone, my first instinct was to pull out my phone and see what was going on in the world of social media. I would sit there with a fork in one hand, phone in the other, and almost every other person in the dining hall was doing the same. Although scrolling through posts and liking statuses made the time go by slightly faster, it became more addicting than I’d like to admit. Sometimes I would prefer sitting there alone and looking through my phone, rather than inviting someone to sit with me and have an actual face-to-face conversation with them sitting right in front of me. That’s pretty sad isn’t it? The one thing human beings need is interaction with others, and even though we are “connected” practically 24/7 with people, our actual amount of interaction with other people continues to drop. Some people would even argue that social media helps them feel closer to their friends and family, but I’ve noticed it kind of makes me feel even lonelier.
Being disconnected from the people I follow on social media for more than an hour at a time is almost a foreign concept to me, but I’m determined to make this last. My first goal is to make it through my entire first month of this next semester without giving in and re-downloading the apps.
I would like for this lack of social media to make me look at how I live my life in a different way. Since I first started using Instagram my sophomore year of high school, there’s always seemed to have been ulterior motives behind my posts. At first I was constantly posting pictures, knowing that my ex-boyfriend would see them and I wanted to prove to him how much better I was doing without him. Then I began to think if my sole purpose of posting these photos is to get someone’s attention who doesn’t even care about me, am I really doing any better? Eventually I outgrew that motivation, but I moved onto something else. I wanted to make sure I only posted things that people would “like” and make me feel validated by double tapping on my photos. I wanted to make my life look appealing to others, so I would start planning my days and outfits and trips on what kind of pictures I wanted to take so I could post them. I would even brainstorm about captions on the car rides to every destination. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I found that I was focusing more on how I would portray my adventures online rather than fully living them out and sharing experiences with those around me.
I hope that this little break from social media will force me to stop staring at a screen for most of my day, and also stop investing so much of my time looking at other people’s lives and comparing them to my own. Honestly, I’m finding that by seeing how well my former classmates are doing with their new lives has probably contributed a lot to this feeling of loneliness I’ve had since I’ve gone to college, and I want to change that in the upcoming semester. I want to focus more on things that make me happy and feel inspired, rather than what other people will think of what I decide to put online.
*my fingers are crossed for positive results*