my Facebook cleanse...

This blog post was originally written and posted on May 16, 2013 when my daughter (now 9) was only 3 years old on a retired blog but it was one of the most popular posts I ever wrote and still relevant so I wanted to migrate it over to this blog.

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So over the last, say, three years.. I’ve been living with a monster.

No, not Analeigh.  (or even Tim, for that matter) hah!

Ever since I brought home my daughter, I have felt like Facebook turned into a necessary evil that existed in my life.

Okay, let’s be honest. It was sucking my time, distracting my thoughts and ruining my good intentions.

There. I said it.

But, over the course of the last year and a half, I started to take responsibility for putting facebook in its proper place, as a tool and a fun social utility and not as an every waking moment must know whats going on at all times thing. I had to break the addiction before I went insane.

Some of you may be kind of confused, like “whoa, chill.. it’s just Facebook!” but the problem wasn’t Facebook’s fault. It was within me. You see, I have a very sensitive soul, believe it or not, and Facebook, for me, caused what I call – information overload. I could get on Facebook at any given hour and be completely rocked by any number of rants, raves and general TMI moments.

My discontentment came in the form of status updates showing off someone’s new house/car/shoes/camera/vacation/whatever.

My self-worth struggles surfaced over a tagged photo of an old client, who had someone new take their portraits.

I experienced general disgust and lingering sadness when someone pokes at the political fires and creates a whole thread of ignorance and hate.

Even in an innocent “yay my two week old is sleeping all night!” or “it’s date night!” post from a mom friend left me feeling like a failure.

And I am not one who quickly kicks feelings like these..

I hope someone out there is saying “Amen!” right now.. but in case you still don’t get it, I will break it down even more.

Too much information is not a good thing. 

I felt bombarded by everyone and everything. My mind raced as I scrolled and scrolled through pages of things that I didn’t need to know or even want to know.. but was addicted to reading.

It came to me through a lot of praying and thinking that maybe not knowing what everyone else was doing all the time was not such a bad thing. That discontentment is not of my nature and that I could kick it if I tried and that God wanted more for me than an overwhelmed soul.

Because of my sensitivities, I decided I needed to be off Facebook.. but I knew that because I use Facebook for my business and love it for that, that just signing off and never getting back on was not a smart decision. So, what was a girl to do?

I started with deleting the FB app off my iPhone… it made logging in more difficult and the page clunkier to maneuver . thus squashing my desire to even bother.

Then about 6 months ago, I began the long and grueling process of hiding my entire news feed. (what!? you can do that?!) yes, you can! But, you must do it one by one until every single person and page you like is hidden. It takes FOREVER when you have 1,973 friends and like hundreds of pages. So, I thought back to when I had to block all other photographers off my Facebook over two years ago and remembered how much it helped to focus on what I was doing rather than comparing. (you can read THIS blog post about comparison if you’d like)

So, I started with removing the things that created the most unrest in me.. like political posters, pages that discussed parenting.. then I went to people I felt like I didn’t really know that well and then finally when I was comfortable and starting to enjoy my time and energy being spent away from Facebook, I took away everyone. Yes. Even you! (sorry!) I blocked my best friends and my loving husband too. I was ruthless but I really needed to have a clean break to wean myself from the habit of seeing a post, clicking the link and following the rabbit hole into the abyss that is FB.

When I got on Facebook the only thing I saw was my own posts.

And at the risk of sounding completely self-centered… I totally honesty LOVED IT.

I would get together with friends and someone would say “did you see such and such on facebook?!” and I felt so totally, utterly, beautifully out of the loop. In a strange way feeling disconnected made me feel like I existed in the world of the living again and the only information about anything I had was given to me directly and purposefully.

By being “disconnected”, I was reconnecting.

Over the last 6 months, my friendships are fewer but they are richer. We spend time texting directly and see each other more. It’s like Facebook was making my relationships exist only online and I am grateful to have broken the illusion that I was being “social” even though I felt like I never saw anyone.

My mind is calmer and happier, and a lot less bogged down. I can focus on my job when it is required that I sit at a computer and not feel distracted. I work smarter and faster and have so much more time to do whatever the heck I want. (like loosing 10 lbs at the gym and yoga, because I no longer have the “im too busy” excuse!!)

My daughter is happier. Yes, I still use the computer a lot for work and sometimes she has to deal with that since I work from home.. but in the last few months, I haven’t had her walk over and shut my computer because she wants my attention. Even if that was the ONLY benefit of weaning myself off FB.. I would have done it anyway.

Very recently, I started the participating againon Facebook.. but I feel like I am much more purposeful and direct with it. If I think of someone and wonder how they are, I go check out their page and post something.. maybe text them and say hey.. ask them for a playdate or dinner. And, it is glorious when they respond to me in a real, true way and we SEE each other as opposed to typing to one another.

If you are still reading this, Kudos! I assume that you maybe have struggled with the same negative energy in your life that FB can bring.. and I am here to tell you, it’s not scary out here in the world of the living, breathing and not scrolling endlessly.

Don’t be scared to say no to the things in your life that cause you distraction.. the gift of a clear mind and a purposeful life are waiting for you and I have never been happier!