Present over Perfect: Stopping the Social Media Obsession

At 8:00  6:00 a.m. every morning I am woken up to sweet baby chatter.  Since I don’t hear any immediate distress, I take a moment to allow myself to wake up.  I reach for my phone and check my social media.

What did I miss while I was asleep? Did anyone like my Facebook post or Instagram photos? Did I get any emails? Are there any big sales I don’t want to miss today?

My social media addiction starts the moment I wake up. From that moment on, I will spend the day waiting for any opportunity I can get to check my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. When I lay my baby down for a nap, I will check my social media.  When I’m laying in bed getting ready to doze off for the night, I will check social media.  When I have any free time, I will check my social media.

Chances are you stumbled upon this blog post while checking your social media.

I’m here to say, it’s time for us to stop the addiction.

No, I’m not talking about locking your phone in a safe and deleting all of your accounts. I’m also not saying to go cold turkey and stop social media altogether. I’m simply saying we need to stop the obsession.

What causes us to be so obsessed with social media?

There has been a big change in society since Instagram and Facebook took over the world.  That is, we all feel the need to be perfect.

We no longer do things for our ourselves, we now do them because it will make a good Instagram photo or get us more likes. We now do things to seek approval of others in order to make ourselves feel popular and liked.

I can remember the days when social media wasn’t around (okay, we had MySpace).  Before, when I took a photo I would take one or two and be done.  I wouldn’t worry about the lighting or if it looked artsy.  I wouldn’t care if it would get the approval of others.  That photo was for me to cherish and that’s it, not 500 + people.  But today, that is all we can think about. Our world revolves around approval.

The other day, I took my son to the park.  This was the first time he sat in the swing and it was a moment that I wanted to remember.  What I remember is not the look of joy on his face as his dad pushed him for the first time, but the amount of time I spent trying to get the perfect photo.  I took over 30 photos. I instructed my husband on what angle to take my photo. Make sure I am smiling, wait don’t get my stomach in it, make sure there is enough light…and so on. I was more worried on how it would look on camera, rather than enjoying the moment.  This is just one of the many moments like this I will never get back.

Before I started this blog, I sat down with my friend and we discussed my hesitation towards a blog launch. I had actually already tried to blog once before.  I created the site and my fear of failure got the best of me. I had so many fears.

What if my Instagram photos are mediocre? How do I get my Instagram photos to look like hers?

What if I don’t get lots of followers?

What if I’m just not creative enough?

What if I write stuff people don’t care about?

I felt insufficient.  I felt that in order to be a popular blogger, you needed to be perfect at all of these things.

Friends, I obsessed over it.  I spent countless hours researching how to make my photos brighter or what hashtags to use in order to get more followers.  I spent more time worrying about my popularity, then I did worrying about my health, my marriage, or my child.  I moved this obsession to the #1 spot on my priority list.  I could not stop my anxiety.

Until… I received a message.

Do you ever feel like God sends you a message right when you need it the most? Like he called you to church that day to sit you down and have a long talk? I felt like a message was directed towards me the other day. The sermon was about worrying and perfectionism.

The pastor said, “Anxiety comes when our primary pursuits are perfection, power, or pleasure.  Peace comes when we’re pursuing our purpose.

I was making myself anxious because of this pursuit of perfection. I came to realize my focus on perfectionism was making me miss out on life.

I’m done trying to achieve perfection.

The reality is, those Instagram stories you see have probably been rehearsed and not done on a whim.  Almost all photos are edited and if you see #nofilter, they are most likely lying.  Those candid photos, aren’t so candid.  Who really has someone following them around all day taking photos of them strolling the street or drinking a cocktail?Who looks presentable all day everyday? Not me.

You know what all of that requires? Time. So much time has been spent worrying and trying to accomplish perfectionism.  At the end of the day, I think to myself:  I should have used that time to open my bible;  I should have given my son more attention;  I should have put my phone down and talked to my husband before bed;  I should have gone outside and walked the dog.

Now listen, I’m not giving up social media and you shouldn’t either.  Social media is great for staying connected with friends and loved ones.  What I’m saying is, I’m giving up being a social media perfectionist.  

The truth is, you probably don’t give a crap about what my kid is wearing or what I ate for lunch.  You’re probably sick of seeing pictures of my kid (although that’s doubtful…he’s pretty cute).  You probably don’t care if the lighting in my photo is too dark or if I have a squinty eye.  If you do care, cool…click that unfollow button now.

The moments I want to share are real and raw.  Not posed and touched up.  I want to live in the moment and not spend an hour trying to take the perfect photo.  I want to remember my day as it was.

So, you will find me blogging and Instagramming on my own time.  Posting pictures when I have a moment (it may be days later). You will find photos that are taken on a phone, not a fancy shmancy camera (I can’t seem to figure mine out).  You will find me focusing on my life and family.  you will find me sharing companies and products that I genuinely love, not because I get anything from it but because I want to share them.

Friends, I challenge you to do the same!

 

 

Tips for freeing yourself from social media obsession:

  • Set a designated time.  Choose a time that you are with family or friends. For example, put your phone away during lunch with friends or at dinner time.  Our family tries (we don’t always succeed) to follow the rule “no phones from dinner time till baby is asleep”.
  • Replace social media time with something more fulfilling:
    • bible study
    • calling a friend
    • You time
    • Family time
    • Learning to cook/bake something new
  • Post real and raw moments, not just the good edited stuff.  You are human after all!

 

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2 thoughts on “Present over Perfect: Stopping the Social Media Obsession

  1. PREACH SISTER!!! Social media and cellphones take us away from being in the present moment, and it breaks my heart when I see a family or my own family fully absorbed into their phones rather than sharing precious time with each other. This was such a much needed post for us all. Thank you for writing it!

    Liked by 1 person

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