I've decided to take a break from social media for a while.
I'm ashamed to say it, but I try to be as transparent as possible here, so I'll just say it. Because bringing truth out into the light is scary and ugly sometimes, but you can't see anything properly in the dark.
This is what my husband said to me in the car yesterday:
"I want my wife back."
He said this because lately I have been obsessing over photos, spending way more minutes than I should taking and choosing and editing photos, scrolling through hundreds of other people's photos, hash tagging photos, coming up with just the right words for captions underneath photos, commenting and liking other people's photos, checking and checking and checking how many people have liked or commented on my photos aaaannnnd analyzing the amount of people who have decided to follow my little grid of photos. And, as you can imagine, all this with the photos takes up a huge amount of time and energy and emotion.
Time and energy and emotion that gets taken away from my husband and my daughters and just my real life as a whole.
I've rationalized that it's my way of expressing myself, my outlet for relaxation. I've even thought of it as a way of gaining recognition when I spend most of my days feeling very much invisible to the world.
But I will continue with my brutal honesty, I'm miserable because of the amount of myself I am giving to a phone screen. And so, so weary.
And yet, my husband had to practically make me stop. Because even though it is torture, it is an addictive kind of torture. Even though it has been poison, it is just my kind of poison.
Ever since I can remember, I have struggled so much with this desperate need to feel accepted and valued. I know a lot of people have this need, but mine is especially acute. And here is this perfect breeding ground for my particular insecurity in the form of Facebook and Instagram. Here is where I can see just how accepted I am. Here is where I can tangibly grasp how much I am valued. Here is where I seem to be able to control this with comments and followers. Here is where I am able to hide behind pretty photos instead of dealing with the reasons why I feel like I desperately need to.
To tally up my worth this way is completely inaccurate and skewed and twisted. We all know this. I guess it's a little harder to actually believe because I keep falling for the trick.
As pathetic as it sounds, I've allowed social media to rule me. I've given it the power to lift me up in happiness. And I've permitted it to drag me through the dirt of discouragement.
I believe that there is a way to use social media in a healthy way. To maintain authenticity while striving to capture the beauty in life while at the same time remembering this isn't where our value in life comes from. To honor God and others and ourselves in what we share. To celebrate others' uniquely captured beauty instead of comparing it to ours. To be encouraged and to build up in community instead of tearing either ourselves or another down in feelings of inadequacy.
I just haven't figured it out yet.
And that's why I need some time away to clear my head. To figure out if it's at all possible for me to do this.
I'm also going to use this time to get down on the floor and play more with Evie, to listen a little more attentively to my husband when he's telling me one of his stories, to make a bigger dent in my "to-read" pile and to spend more time cultivating my real live friendships. Maybe I'll even finish that adult coloring book I haven't worked on in months.
I don't think I'll be gone forever, I just need to regain a proper perspective on things. I need to learn again how to hear God's voice of truth in my life without the clutter of social media affecting my listening. I need to learn how to make Him the only one I worship.
So for a while I won't be using Facebook or Instagram. I'll still post here because it's good for me to write about life and what I'm going through and what I'm learning, and I think (I hope!) that can be encouraging to read, as well. I'm just not going to proactively promote each post, and I also won't check to see how many people are reading each post.
If you have any thoughts, insights, perspectives on how to use social media healthily, I would greatly welcome them! Feel free to post in the comment section.