Hello my name is Eliza and I’m a digital addict.
It’s been two weeks now and I haven’t been on Facebook or Instagram (only to post my blogs). I’ve been to no meetings and I don’t have a sponsor to sit beside me.
I’ve seen no pictures of good looking meals, no oiled up, perfectly lit, adequately angled fitness shots and no memes about hating Mondays. I’ve missed out on seeing holiday snaps in places I wish I was and I’ve not kept up with birthdays and followed up with an impersonal texted happy birthday wish.
I’ll be honest. I can’t say it’s easy and I do have incredible FOMO but I can say I have noticed some changes and hard realisations in my days (and nights) through forgoing the scroll.
My detox was off to a very shaky start. It began during a week of an international soccer tournament for my son in Canberra. What better excuse to post pics, get likes and make me feel like a fantastically awesome and capable parent right? I mean who WOULDN’T want to see photos of boys they don’t know, in a place they don’t recognise with me- a windswept, frost bitten soccer mum as proud as punch?
It was also my triplet girls’ 14th birthday during this week. Again, what better opportunity to show off my beautiful girls, how far they’d come and what a great job I’d done at raising them? A few posts (like on the hour) on my Facebook pages- both business and personal, as well as a gazillion pics on Insta- business, private and the dog’s account should surely have made the world a better place! I would have checked many times for many likes and possibly new followers. It would have made me feel so special. So accomplished and so validated.
That’s the thing.
The thing that keeps (kept?) me hooked. The VALIDATION.
I slowly but very surely slipped into thriving on and then expecting approval for everything I posted. Whether it was a photo of scones I’d made, or how cute my dog is or a well thought out written piece on how to fix the world’s woes, I wanted acceptance. I ached for the proof that I was a good person enriching the lives of those around me. I wanted the numbers and the comments and interaction were just the cherry on the top!
In the old days, a.k.a ‘the days pre-smartphone’ we regular folk got our thrills various ways. Dopamine, the ‘feel good chemical’ was released in our brains when we saw a great comedy show, or when we ate hot donuts at the Royal Show, or when we caught up with our friends socially and in the flesh at the Malls Balls at four o’clock after school on a Friday!
Now? Our community- instead of meeting outside Sportsgirl, is on social media. The invention of smartphones allows us to carry our social interaction in our pocket or the palm of our hands. Our ‘conversations’ are instant and convenience is taken for granted. We see our post get a ‘like’, then another, and another and you guessed it. Dopamine. Addiction. Easy.
How the hell did I let this happen?
Since when did I need to be endorsed for putting on some make up, looking fit in the right lighting or taking the dog for a walk? Who really gives a shit besides me and the people I love?
If I sound a little pissed off- I am!
I’m pissed that I let my happiness, esteem and self worth reduce to the opinions of others who don’t really even know me- the REAL me!
I’m pissed that so many of my precious minutes were sucked into a void of scrolling. Aimless scrolling. Judging others simply on that perfect picture they’d posted on a beach somewhere or on the people they supposedly knew on Facebook.
But the bright side? There should ALWAYS be a bright side. Is that I’m aware. I’ve zoomed in to find my sense of integrity again. I’ve had time to think about what matters to me. I’ve realised that until I validate MYSELF through MY values, MY beliefs and MY beautiful self worth, I can’t go ‘there’. I can’t rely on social media to fulfil my day and make me happy.
I’m learning to find happiness in the moment. I’m working with clients, spending time with the family, walking in the rain and fostering a lamb. But that’s a story for another day!
My detox continues…..and I’ll keep you informed with the good, the bad and the poorly lit.
Tell me, how do YOU find validation?