just over a month ago, i told y’all that i’d be taking a break from social media. for one whole month (except for one day to post for a friend’s birthday) i deleted all social media apps from my phone and avoided scrolling, liking, and posting. i expected this to be a life-changing, earth-shattering event. i expected to end the month as a newer and freer person, one with no desire whatsoever to post anything again. i expected all my insecurities and fears to miraculously disappear. imagine my surprise when i ended the month feeling exactly the same as i had before. imagine my disappointment when i realized i was still anxious and insecure and feeling inadequate.
in the first couple weeks, i fought the temptation to re-download instagram “just to see” what everyone else was up to. i just wanted to “make sure” nothing new had happened while i was away. after that feeling of missing out on literally everything all the time, after getting past that constant need to feel connected and informed, i expected an overwhelming peace. i didn’t get it. yes, that one temptation, that one vice, was gone, but i still had a whole heap of other things to deal with in my life. i felt just as overwhelmed and insecure as before, only for reasons other than those in my instagram feed. i naively expected giving up social media to solve all my problems. so needless to say, when july 31st rolled around, i was disheartened.
so i re-downloaded all my apps, posted a couple of times, and life went on. wait. let me say that again. life. went. on. even though the apps were back on my phone, i didn’t find myself opening them up to mindlessly scroll. i found myself opening my ibooks app to read one of my new books, just as i’d been doing for the last month. i posted multiple times in the first couple of days, but i didn’t obsessively edit and color correct my photos after choosing the perfect one out of 500. i threw filters on the photos that made me the happiest, the ones that best captured the memory, and posted without looking to see if it was “prime posting time.” i turned off my notifications because instead of waiting impatiently to count every new like, i found myself annoyed by the screen lighting up because it interfered with the quality time i was spending with the people i love.
friends, let me tell you this. something miraculous did happen this past month. it may not have been the huge, life-altering epiphany i was expecting, but perhaps it was something so much better. without realizing it, i learned to live in the moment. my insecurities are still here. i’m still a flawed person, but those are not things i have the power to change. i do have the power to change how i let these things affect me. now that i have the apps back on my phone, i do occasionally find myself scrolling and comparing and becoming jealous, but i now recognize when it’s happening, and i have the ability to move on and do something more productive with my time.
so no, i did not find the cure for every insecurity. i did not become an amazing new person who loves myself unconditionally. but i did learn how to find joy in every moment i draw breath. i learned that you don’t have to know everything about everyone all the time. i learned the beauty in surprise and the way someone’s eyes light up when they get to tell you something in person instead of knowing you already saw their post last week. i learned how amazing it can be to take pictures for yourself rather than to try and find the lighting, background, pose, etc. that will get you the most likes. i stopped and smelled the roses. and i discovered just how beautiful this one life we have can be.