10 Questions That Will Redefine Your Relationship With Social Media (for the Better)
As a child of the digital age social media has been a great tool for helping me find myself, but somewhere along the way I couldn't help but feel that I was losing myself in the process. Being soft spoken and anxious throughout my formative years, social media was the ideal platform for me to define who I was to the world without straying too far from my comfort zone. Even though I've gained so many lovely friendships and opportunities through the online world, I always wonder if I've missed out on ones that were in front of me while my attention was hungry for the screen. So I decided to dive a bit deeper into mindfulness and redefine my relationship with the internet.
We all want to feel like we're a part of something larger than ourselves and social media gives us an array of opportunities to do it. With our powerful mini-computers at our side almost 24/7, we’re always ready to discover and to connect, but what if we’re missing out on what’s in front of us? The serendipity of life doesn’t happen when our full attention is on our gadgets. Ironically, we’re missing out on the details of life, while responding to our FOMO. It takes effort to mix mindfulness with social media, because for many, mindlessness is a default state of being. When we are aware of why we’re logging on, we can be proactive instead of reactive while engaging authentically. The endless dependency for connection and validation soon become things of the past.
In order to change our relationship with social media we must become aware of why we’re motivated to use it in the first place. When I started to drown in my obsession with Instagram in particular, I realized that I was seeking validation from numbers: followers, likes, etc. Thankfully, I was able to take a step back and realize that my self-worth couldn't be measured through my 'popularity' on any online platform. This was just an illusion. Since my work revolves around social media, it's challenging to completely step away, so taking time off of my personal account has helped me filter all of my energy into what really matters- my business and the community I want to build around it.
By setting boundaries and checking in with our intentions we can become more aware. Here are some key questions that I discovered from Lori Deschene, author of Tiny Buddha that have dramatically helped me in throughout this process:
1. Will sharing this add value to my life and for other people?
2. Can I share this experience later so I can focus on living right now?
3. Am I looking for validation? Is there something I can do to validate myself?
4. Am I procrastinating?
5. Am I bored? Is there something else I can do to feel more purposeful and engaged?
6. Am I feeling lonely? Have I created opportunities for meaningful connection in my day?
7. Am I afraid of missing out? Is it worth missing out on what’s in front of me?
8. Can I use this time to simply be instead of looking for something to do?
9. am I overwhelming myself, trying to catch up? can i let go of yesterday's conversation and join today's instead?
10. Do I just want to have mindless fun for a while?
(Totally valid- just make it a conscious choice)
It's important to note that mindfulness in social media is recognizing and addressing the instinct to use it compulsively. The other side of the equation is choosing to use it consciously to help fulfill all of the needs that we instinctively want to meet- for ourselves and others. Challenge the worries that keep you reacting: FOMO (the fear of missing out), the concern that you're not being heard, or the sneaking suspicion that other people are somehow doing better and you're getting left behind. We're all in the same boat. With the increasing numbers of online tools and the sheer volume of people and information around us- it's hard not to feel overwhelmed.
The good news is: you have the power to use social media as a tool to make a positive impact on your life and the world. But the power lies in your intention. What is yours?