How to Not Lose Yourself in Social Media

Are you losing yourself in social media?

This topic is very dear to me because as a father, I’m watching how my 3 children live with social media and all their gadgets, which is different from how I was raised.  I limit their exposure however it is still a factor. My oldest son is now 13 and one of his Birthday gifts was an iPhone.  I held off on phones and any social media until 13 (except YouTube)

But first, I have to say that I absolutely see the value in social media. I discover and listen to wonderful human beings that perhaps I wouldn’t have had a chance to get to know if it wasn’t for social media.  I have to acknowledge that I built and maintain my fitness coaching business from social media.  So I know it has value.  I also know it has it’s challenges.

It’s wonderful to keep track and to see people’s results in my line of work, as a fitness coach, their feedback, their day-in, day-out challenges or successes. It helps me see what is needed from me, what I can provide, what is being asked for.

Woman taking selfie at the gym

The Positive Side of Social Media

Social media also helps us keep in touch with events in the world — little, wonderful events, not just the big ones that we are being fed that are often negative, but the good stuff.

There’s a lot of good stuff that is happening and often we are being left out of these good moments when human beings are shining and coming up with great solutions, great actions, or great thoughts.

It’s also a place where you can find a community that perhaps you would not have access to in your neighborhood, where you live, the kind of people around you who perhaps you don’t feel a great affinity with, but now you can reach out and find these people all around the world.

Woman taking photo of a sunset

The Negative Side of Social Media

And in that spirit, I’d like to get into a specific area of social media, where we forget that real life happens when the camera is off.

I see people losing their ability to be by themselves alone and feel, emote, participate, not participate, or witness life by themselves. Instead, it’s “ooh, what a great moment. Let me capture and let me share it.”

It’s as if people feel like they have to be their own reality show — and that can be quite unhealthy.

You don’t have to share every moment of your life. It doesn’t necessarily make you closer to others, and it can definitely harm you if you lose your sense of authenticity – that which is yours to live, to ponder on, to witness, to watch without thinking of a performance-based life.

Living an Authentic Life

In my day-to-day and even on vacation, I see people who are hardly able to spend a moment simply looking. They’re looking through a lens and they’re busy sharing it right away.

They came from miles and miles away to see this view, or to experience a tourist spot (like our favorite, DISNEY!) but they watch it for less than a minute. Within 30 seconds, their phone is out and they’re filming, editing, typing, and walking away from this beautiful experience, without pausing and feeling all this with all their senses and more.

They had to record that moment and it was more important to have it witnessed by others, to have it commented on, rather than being there, just being in that moment.

I see it also in my business; people who think that every moment of their lives has to be shared with everyone.

It’s one thing to share getting through a workout, or drinking a shake, or eating a delicious meal and sharing a challenge that is connected to your business. But you don’t have to share every event of your daughter’s, son’s, uncle’s life. You don’t have to share everything when you get up in the morning.

I think it’s important to pause here and see if you’ve lost yourself in social media; if you’ve lost the ability to truly be intimate with yourself, intimate with the moments in your life, intimate with your partner and your kids. Are you making eye contact and expecting eye contact and a warm human interaction?

You Don’t Need to Share Everything

Sharing everything is not making you more authentic. It’s actually avoiding authenticity of the day-to-day, moment-by-moment life that is yours.

Some of those moments are yours alone to experience; that’s enough. There’s no need to share everything you eat, every thought you have. I think it’s a very subtle thing that’s happening to us all; we underestimate the destructiveness of this behavior.

There are more and more gadgets and tools that, yes, are helpful, but can take away your spirit; you’re never just living your life – you’re the director and producer and actor of your life.

Some people may mistake this for being authentic — “Look, I show everything I go through.”

It’s something that I am seeing more and more of – your ego can fool you into thinking that sharing moments on social media is being real, that it’s “sharing” yourself.

But I think there’s a very tricky line there, and I’m hoping that this post will make you take a beat.

Can you try for six hours to not have your phone on? Or four hours or three hours? Try to live your life without making a “commercial” of it.

Learn to Just “Be”

Not sharing everything that you feel, think or going through — that’s a luxury nowadays. Give yourself that luxury. Give it enough time to see the benefits.

Ask yourself: What are you running from? What is it that you’re NOT filming? That you’re not “proud” of? Not putting on Instagram? Those may be the moments that need your time, attention, and love — for your own sense of well-being.

I hope this brought some perspective on social media taking over our lives. Perhaps we can start establishing healthier boundaries!

I do realize the fact that you are likely reading this from a Social Media post.  I also know that Learning is one of the POWERFUL uses of Social Media and our connection to content!  🙂

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