I left all forms of social media a few years ago. I deleted (not just deactivated) my Facebook account. Twitter, gone. LinkedIn, gone. Etc, etc, etc. My part time job, and at times full time job, of being a constantly plugged-in social media participant ended.
I needed a break from the silence filler, the busy hum of my own narcissism, and worst of all the Comparison Game. Everyone – and I mean everyone – had a better life than I did. Better fashion, happier relationships, sweeter cars, more exciting jobs, and they obviously ate the most brilliant food ever created by the looks of their photos.
I struggled with the thought of leaving all of it behind. I wondered what would happen to me and if the world as I knew it would crumble. It was a brave move to make on my part, especially because my dream is to someday be a speaker and a writer (which, ironically, I was at that point). How else am I supposed to gain a following and grow in popularity without these apps?!
Nonetheless, I clicked delete on it all.
Despite many concerns for my mental health as I made this choice, my friends and I were still able to continue our friendships; I still got invited to events and I didn’t experience an astronomical shift in the universe that I assumed would happen.
The biggest question I got was not a genuinely curious “why did you go off of social media?”... The resounding question was “why did you unfriend me?”
My choice to pull the Facebook and social media IV drip out of my arm wasn’t because I was trying to make a statement to anyone. It had nothing to do with anyone other then myself.
I needed the break.
I needed the silence.
I needed to know it was okay to be me without an outward facing audience telling me how much they liked my photo or status update.
Over the past three years I have been grateful for that decision I made even though it flies in the face of cultural norms. That part has been the hardest pill to swallow, actually. Going with the norm is easier and would have required less of me. However, the break gave me margin to explore who I am, what I am about, and I have learned to accept myself without anyone else’s commentary or opinions. I have been able to push through my biggest fear that I am not enough as I am. Not Sarah + anything. Just me.
Turns out I like myself a lot (most days). I recently reengaged certain social media apps but my interest in them is so minimal that I can't be bothered by it. It simply isn’t a value to me. I’m sure at some point in my career as a communicator I’ll be required to have all the bells and whistles of whatever the new media demands are, but I’m hoping to hire someone to take care of that for me.
I’m happy with me. And I’m glad to turn off my iPhone tonight and enjoy the present moment of what’s happening around me with no photos or updates to prove I had a great time.