I debated between calling this Social Media Overload or the expectations one. I actually was going to make it two posts, and almost did, but the two are so closely connected, I decided it was too hard to keep them separate. Besides, I’m sure you are hoping I stop rambling at SOME point.
We all know that little ding on our phones. The one that says we got a new Facebook or Instagram notification, a text, or – what else does everyone use? Snapchat, that’s right.
And then there is this thing call FOMO. I have it pretty badly. It stands for Fear of Missing Out, in case you are lucky enough not to know what it is. Every place I look there is social media bombarding me with all the things I might be missing out on.
I look at all these feeds, scroll through them, watch people’s lives via the version they present, hear so many opinions that half the time I don’t know what to think or believe anymore, and essentially get information overload on other people’s lives along with news.
Here’s the thing my brain technically knows, but it is hard to truly understand. Photographs are supposed to capture a moment. But they don’t. They capture an ideal. Families pose for photographs. Scenery is only captured when it is beautiful, not when it is ugly (unless we are going for the dramatic if a natural disaster has happened). Friends capture photos when they are having fun together. We take pictures of food successes, not disasters. Of houses after we get them clean, not of us sitting on the couch procrastinating beforehand.
I read blogs, see photos, look at news, watch movies, and think “I want that.” I want the perfect house, I want to be the perfect mom, I want to be able to crochet like that, I want to learn all the martial arts, I want to have a perfect answer when something political is discussed, I want to make sure my kids aren’t under socialized or don’t miss out on an opportunity, I need to go out with my friends like that. I should host a party too – everyone else does!
Basically, my standards are too high. And anyone who actually knows me is dropping their jaw right now because I am the queen of there-are-no-standards-too-high. But I am taking all the information overload that we get from the conveniences of today and applying them to myself.
I may no longer fully adhere to the ideal worker, technically, but I take those standards and apply them to myself in my personal life and standards.
One thing this research explained was even though it feels like I should be able to have it all, there is one finite resource – and that is time. I literally cannot fit in exercising, work, devotions and prayer, cleaning, cooking, master classes, writing, taking one or more of the numerous other classes I want to (dancing, martial arts, rock climbing, etc.), and still have leisure time and get enough sleep that I don’t feel exhausted in a single day. Oh, and don’t forget planning for the next social event! But all the information flying at me from social media and modern times tells me I should be able to. And believe me, I try. Until I get tired, and then I curl up on the sofa with my phone and scroll social media and play games while feeling guilty I am not currently working toward my lofty goals.
As Hannah Brencher says, “Social media will always try to convince you that you need to be more, do more, say more, care more— the list goes on and on. Because that’s the world we live in now. We no longer compare ourselves to the kids in class or the group of moms we meet up with on Tuesdays. We can compare ourselves to people everywhere at all times of the day. It never ends. And it will never be “enough” because someone will always have more, do more, be more, care more, and say more than you. It’s a never-ending battle.”
I think the best thing to do for the whole social media overload/expectations (although more on that later), is to disconnect from it. It took far more resolve than I can possibly admit, but I deleted my Facebook app several months ago and I’m pretty sure my content/happiness level went up by like 30 percent. I don’t possess the capacity to delete my Facebook account altogether because I need to be able to go look occasionally or post every now and then, and, really, how else will I know what my family is up to? All excuses, I know. But I still only visit it now when it is a purposeful move. When I actually want to check for something or post a specific status and I find myself on it usually no more than once or twice a week. And if I start scrolling through the feed instead of keeping it to what I went on for, I instantly feel my anxiety level rising.
I hear constantly that social media isn’t real – but it’s hard to actually register that. So I’m trying to work on removing it almost altogether. The other thing I did, was stop Instagram notifications. So, even though I still look at it every day, usually every time I pick up my phone, in fact, at least I do not automatically grab my phone if something happens, because I don’t know that it happened.
I’ll go more into it in the next post, but I realized more than ever that even with those corrections, social media and my phone still takes a lot of my time away from me. But more than that, my expectations both of myself and what I think others expect me to be take so very much of my energy and resources instead of me being able to spend it on what I actually want in life.
P.S. I just ran across this excellent post that’s so much more interesting than mine: http://thedirectiondiva.com/life-unplugged-the-reality-of-10-days-away-from-social-media-by-judy-davis-2/