From Wednesday 15 – Monday 20 March, I enforced a social media blackout upon myself. It started out just as an experiment – could I stay off social media for five days? How would I feel about it?
I’m that girl that’s always attached to her phone. When you’re suffering from such crippling acute anxiety as I am, it’s easy to find an escape from the world through a quick scroll on Instagram. But often social media makes me jealous. Jealous of everyone else and their lives. Jealous that they have a solid friendship group that loves and supports them. I know that what we all post on this platforms is a curated version of our reality, but I still can’t help but feel inferior.
So I quit cold turkey. I just got rid of it one evening – gone.
Here are the three lessons I learnt from avoiding social media for five days:
My Profiles Aren’t Me
What I post isn’t me. What I like and comment on and share isn’t me. I am me; my social media profiles are not. My existence is not defined by whether I write a status, or post on Instagram. My worth isn’t created by my online presence, and my internet network (or lack thereof) is not what defines me.
I am more than my Instagram, and I am more than my 500 Facebook friends. These things are tiny, near-meaningless extensions of my existence that really, truly, don’t matter. I will continue to post pictures of shit that makes me happy, cool sunsets that I see, or of places that I went (for more of that, go to my @adventurousannabel Instagram). Whether I get 10 likes or 100, I don’t change.
FOMO Isn’t Real
I didn’t log onto anything for five days, and guess what? I didn’t give a fuck. I wasn’t worried about what party I wasn’t invited to, or what festival I wasn’t getting ready for, or what brunch I wasn’t able to have. When you’re not watching what everyone else is doing, you realise that you don’t care.
FOMO isn’t a thing! Social media tells you it’s a thing, and we shouldn’t believe everything we see on social media.
When I forgot that everyone else is trying to pretend they’re having a great time (in reality, they probably want to be in bed, just like I am at this moment), I wasn’t worried about the fact that I wasn’t living the life that 20-somethings are “supposed” to live.
Social Media Doesn’t Make Me Happy
I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss the endless scrolling and the choking feeling that I wasn’t good enough. I only re-downloaded my accounts so that I had somewhere to put my visual diary. In the days since, I’ve been scrolling and liking, but for no reason at all. It’s a habit.
I don’t really care what anyone else is doing; if I want to know what my friends are up to, I can ask them. I don’t really care what some “Insta Famous” girl is peddling on her account, or how much money she’s been paid to say what she’s saying. Seeing these pictures, getting jealous of other people’s lives and wishing I looked like them doesn’t make me happy. I’m just not going to care anymore.
Always remember that social media is not reality. Your profiles do not define you, and how many followers you have is not equal to how much you are worth.