by Julie Landreth
I had to stop the insanity.
Incessantly checking my phone, posting status updates, and mindlessly scrolling through news feeds. Facebook had taken up every free, quiet moment I had.
My relationship with social media
I developed a persistent tic, a relationship with social media which was getting in the way of real life. Whether I was at a stop light or in a waiting room, I filled my time scrolling. Riding shotgun was my cue to tune out and start scrolling. If I was playing Legos with my son, I would eventually find my phone in hand, thumb scrolling. One day he even said, “Mom, I am more important than your phone.” Ouch!
I noticed something was off in my relationships. Social media, Facebook, in particular, was fueling comparison.
I struggled with friendships
I struggled to connect in friendships at a deeper level. However, when I went out and ran into other women they commented about my posts which made me feel like they knew about my life, but they didn’t want to know me.
I felt bad, maybe it was just their way to strike up a conversation, but it left me feeling judged, compared and lonely.
In time, I realized I wouldn’t make meaningful connections unless I changed my approach to Facebook. I needed to be more intentional with what I shared and how I used social media. Removing the app from my phone was a step in the right direction.
I set boundaries for myself by only posting to Facebook through Instagram. As a photographer, I love taking pictures, so I follow accounts which are visually interesting and inspiring to me. Most of which I don’t know personally so there is not much to compare.
If I post a photo it’s for one of four reasons. I either found it super cool and beautiful, it’s a memory I want to be a part of my photo album, it’s something I found funny, or something which could be an encouragement to others.
I’m more engaged
As a result, I found myself more engaged and present with my husband and son. I can just be with them without feeling the need to fill time in the car by scrolling.
Now, I only check Facebook from my laptop, which means I often forget. I am keenly aware of friends and family who gravitate towards their phone. It reminds me that I don’t want to have my face buried in my phone. I want to be present and engaged.
Now when I run into people, they tell me my posts are uplifting and encouraging.
Facebook may not be a problem for you, but ask yourself, “What is competing for my attention?”
Perhaps make one of your resolutions to investigate your own social media patterns. Do you have any thought patterns that don’t serve you well? Do your scrolling habits keep you from fully engaging with those around you?
One Small Win: Set some boundaries for 2017 and feel the freedom of truly experiencing relationships with those around you.
Julie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships – especially in marriage and friendship. She is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage. She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA, through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband.
Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her nine-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her on Instagram: @julielandreth.
10 Ways to Stay Miserable Today…
“I wonder if I can take you out to coffee and pick your brain about writing.”
I get this request at least once a week. (Now I’m thinking if I saved them all up, I could get coffee for free for a month… Picture me twirling the end of my villain mustache with one hand and holding a venti latte with the other.)
I normally turn these requests down. Everything you need to know about writing a book can be found online. Then you need to join a writers group and then go to a conference. I don’t know any other shortcuts. Really. But this was a sister of a dear friend, so of course I said yes.
“I’m writing a book, and I’m just so frustrated with the publishing industry.”
And as she told me all the problems she was having with the book, I asked questions and suggested solutions:
“Why not hire an editor to go over your manuscript?” I asked.
“It’s not ready for anyone else to see!” She shot back.
“You’ve been working on this book for four years. Maybe it’s time to set it aside for a month. Go play with your kids! Get away for a day to Monterey with your husband! Do some normal life!”
“I can’t. Not until this book is sold.”
This woman was not stuck in circumstances. She was stuck in a prison of her own thoughts.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve run into some pretty miserable people. They can’t change their lives, their families are not doing what they want. They keep trying harder and harder, but nothing ever gets better.
At first, I feel sympathy. I get it. It’s so hard to be stuck in a situations that you don’t have a lot of control over. A job loss, a kid crisis, a relationship issue – these are all scary thing that can shut us down for a time.
But circumstances eventually change. Where most of us are stuck is in our own dangerous, limited thinking.
I like to remind myself of the bullies that Cheri Gregory and I talk about in The Cure for the Perfect Life – 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver. When I catch myself saying one of these bad thoughts, I try to capture it as soon as possible and replace it with truth.
Here are a few truths to replace the lies:
When You Tell Yourself…
- “If I want something done right, I’m gonna have to do it myself.”
Replace it with… “It is not all up to me. I can trust other people with their jobs, and I’ll do the best to my ability.”
- “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.”
Replace it with… “Perfect is for people who never get anything done. I’d rather do it 90% right than not at all.”
- “I don’t do angry.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to get angry when things upset me or when some kind of injustice has been done. I can be angry and not act wrongly on that anger. Expressing my anger in a calm manner can help me not to become too stressed.”
- “No fun until my work is done.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to take breaks when I’m working. Sometimes I need a break to clear my mind and refresh myself. Then the job will be done even better when I get back to it.”
- “I’ll rest when I am dead.”
Replace it with… “If I don’t get proper rest, I might be dead sooner than I think. I can’t accomplish everything I want to in one day, and I certainly can’t accomplish it without rest.”
- “I am what I do.”
Replace it with… “I am not defined by my career and areas of service. I am a person with emotions and thoughts and desires, and it’s okay to be me.”
- “I can’t throw it away; I might need it someday.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to let go of things that I’m not using, especially if they are taking up valuable space in my home. It’s okay to get rid of relationships that aren’t beneficial to me because I am worth more than that and something better will come along.”
- “I work better under pressure.”
Replace it with… “I can work better when I start a project early and give myself plenty of time to work out the kinks and get it right.”
- “I got myself into this mess, so I have to get myself out.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to admit that I need help. I am not Superwoman, and I don’t have to know the answers to everything. I will take a deep breath and reach out to someone who can help.”
- “No is a dirty word.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to say no. I can’t do everything. Healthy boundaries will make me a healthier person.”
Which of these lies do you struggle with the most?
Want more tools for replacing faulty thinking with truth?
The Cure for the Perfect Life