Around the end of the Christmas holiday I made a big decision in this technological world.
I deleted all my Facebook friends.
You know how when God wants you to do something but you don’t (or willfully so) pick up on it? That would be me. I had the idea of a big Facebook cleanse or deletion a long time ago. And for months it has come back up in my face over and over again. Friends have deleted, or stopped logging on.
Over Christmas I had a conversation with my mother. You know those? Conversations? Sitting next to someone? Yep. That.
I said “If I delete my Facebook friends, how will I have any social time?”
She said “You know what? You won’t for months at a time or weeks. When I was raising you and your grandmother raised me our social was playgroups, church, volunteering, talking to the neighbor over the fence, talking to our spouse. That was it. Sometimes we didn’t see another adult for weeks, but instead we read a book, did a craft, cleaned, engaged with our kids. You have to make a choice. Friends and spending all the time there, or your kids.”
This was the truth! We don’t need social media. We are just used to it, addicted to it. This conversation (the 5th time this idea had come up into my life) sparked me to say “Ok God. I get it.” and that evening I deleted everyone.
There was a vacuum. I was so tempted to log back on. But I just got busy to keep my mind away. And like any addict the pull is weaker over time. The impulse fades to something really easy to fight. It got hard again when I had grief come up in my life, but I powered through.
That may seem radical, but I needed something radical. Here are some things I gained.
I have generalized anxiety disorder. There are studies out there that prove that social media produces a level of background anxiety in its users. An impulse to check their phone or screen. Since I already have anxiety disorder, removing social media really dropped the level. I still get my usual triggers for anxiety spirals but they are more manageable without the social media anxiety in the background.
the end of yelling
Well not the total end, we are still a WIP breaking hard-wired cycles, and when I’m exhausted it’s very difficult, BUT I yell less because guess what I am doing more of? Connecting with my kids. A stronger connection. A true connection. (not a I’m in the room but I am on my phone connection. ahem). The connection has turned into them listening to me more when I ask them to do something and cooperating with team cleanup. #worthit.
I have a schedule now and I am not a schedule person. When I do my work now I get more done in an hour than ever before. Deep work means I can focus on one thing at a time and be totally immersed in it without the Facebook pull breaking my concentration. I don’t procrastinate as much. I’m still reworking my routines to be better.
a clean house
If you don’t have social media to procrastinate with then you have time to clean. How many hours are sucked out of your day by social media? I am actually working through the Konmari method with intention and guess what? It’s working. Things are shifting. I just hit paper and installed a new filing system for both house and small business. I have NEVER been this EFFECTIVELY organized in my life!
Even though I hardly see friends outside of family because, well, everyone is super busy,my loneliness has melted away. Weird isn’t it? I figure this is because I am not seeing the things that people are going and doing with mutual friends and I’m not invited to. I’m not seeing all the cool stuff people are doing with their families because they live close by. I’m not seeing all the neat places people are going. My want to interact with people and call them up and say “Hey, let’s do coffee!” or text and say “How’s it going?” is higher and that is a deeper boost than the small short-lived “happy feeling” boost you get from Facebook.
I have a small social well, and it used to get used up by being on Facebook. Now I have MORE face to face visits (like 1 every 2-3 months or so) with friends because I have the energy to do so. I have the energy to take a risk and be vulnerable. With vulnerability comes strength and assurance. Things I feel we have lost being so tied to social media. REAL chats with friends happen much less than they used to.
Consequently I am less depressed. Perspective is a funny thing.
I’ve already saved some money in the budget. Not having Facebook makes you less inclined to “keep up with the Joneses”. Why? Well you don’t see it unless you want to. There are no MLM party invites, business ads. I’m more than willing to help a person out, but before it was OUTSIDE our budget and that’s just not sustainable. With it coming up less in my day I can intentionally purchase. Plan to purchase. And with home school curriculum ramping up..uff dah do we need to keep it at thrift store level for clothing. You feel me right?
When I do give of my time, or money, I now do it with intention. I now totally invest in one project, or person, or volunteer opportunity, within my budget, outside my self-care. I had developed compassion burnout with my kids, which is never good, because all my compassion was being used online, or in situations that I was sucked into online. I felt like I HAD to help. I don’t. My husband says (we are anglophiles) “You are less tetchy.” I like being less tetchy and more present for the people I love.
See the compassion suck I talked about in the last paragraph? Yeah well I’m a doormat. I always have been. Without Facebook I am able to start setting boundaries. I’m starting at home before I venture out. This has affected my business life too. I now have gotten serious and have contracts, because I now believe, that I am WORTH a wage. I no longer give away my hours for free as an artisan. It had affected my family life, my mood, and my ability to function. Mother Teresa says “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” and I am doing THAT first. Working from the first drop in the water and eventually adding ripples. Cutting Facebook was the first step.
You remember how Grandma said “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all?” Well Facebook seems to have forgotten that. The era of grace has gone out the window. Facebook for me became a deluge of religious, political, and creedo arguments in my newsfeed. Lots of shock factor stuff. Pictures of aborted babies, dead children, threats against different religions, races and political groups, etc. I can now choose how I engage in world news. And my understanding and intelligence about the topics at hand are greater because I have time to read about different viewpoints and listen to podcasts from different sides. Time to learn about the historical background of some of these places, read up on my own religion, engage in a passive way before forming a complete opinion or feeling like I’m called to respond right now.
Leaving Facebook behind I have more time for my number one man. Jesus Christ. I am digging into the scriptures and lessons with my Familia group. Listening to pray as you Go daily. Learning Gregorian music from Traditional Catholic Living blog. And enjoying Catechesis studies with my kids. We finally found a parish home and are getting our son baptized asap. Making space for faith is bringing us HOME. My husband is praying novenas with me, and that’s nothing short of a miracle.
i still use it…selectively
I am still on there. I like to subscribe to pages for places around town and get information about their events that are going on. It reduces the paper clutter from a newsletter they could be mailing me. I also have home school groups for the authors of the curriculums I’m using. An invaluable resource for when you can’t figure something out, or they post errata files. Those errata files are not available outside Facebook. I have business groups for suppliers, like the old forums, where I can ask about a certain dye problem or fabric issue. I also run a nature group on there and need to interact with people.
I encourage you to take a long look at how you use social media, what it is doing to impact your life, how you are managing your time, and what you could gain from walking away or managing your time with it better.