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.