“Distracted from distraction by distraction”
Dear future self,
At some point towards the end of 2017, you came to the realisation that social media was slowly becoming an issue for you. You used these platforms every single day without fail and to be completely honest, you weren’t using them in a healthy way. Do you agree?
Social media had become your default brain space. Whenever you were in between tasks, or even tabs, your brain would say “What’s happening on Snapchat?” or “Has anyone followed or unfollowed you on Instagram?”. The truth is, the platforms weren’t the problem; you were. You weren’t using them in a way that was benefiting you so you decided to remove them from your everyday life.
Here are the three main reasons why.
You worried more about what other people thought of you than what you thought of you.
With Instagram, you always felt like you lived a double life. You had one account for the old you, the one your friends and family knew about, and another account for the new you. The Lydia that was on a journey of self discovery and documenting it for others to be encouraged. You were happy for the rest of the world to see this new you but not your friends and family. Why? Because they knew the old you and you weren’t quite sure what they would think of this new journey you were on. So you switched between lives and Instagram made this so easy for you. With two taps on your phone, you could be the old Lydia one minute and the new Lydia the next. Unfortunately, some of the people you were trying to hide from found your new account and you panicked. You had nothing to hide but for some reason you felt the need to. You didn’t want to be judged for your attempt at evolving even though you had spent so many months trying to not be that person. The kind of person that cares more about what people think of you than what you think of you. But that’s what Instagram is about; what other people think, right? I didn’t want you to be in that environment. I didn’t want you to feel like you needed other peoples validation to do what you wanted to do.
You focused more on what you portray to be real instead of what was real.
You see, those pink hearts floating above your head aren’t real. That flower head band covering your unlaid lace frontal isn’t real. Your skin isn’t that smooth or that light. Your eyes aren’t that colour. I could go on and on but you get the point. None of those things were real. None of those things were you, they were a filtered version of you. But for some reason you felt the need to use them every time you took a picture or a video of yourself. You preferred that version of you over the real you. Granted, the Snapchat filters are entertaining to use but let’s be honest, you weren’t using them for entertainment. You were using them as a way to gloss up your reality and give the illusion that things were “perfect”. That you were “perfect”. But you’re not. Your skin breaks out sometimes, you have a few acne marks, your eyebrows are barely there and your forehead is always beaming like the sun. You know what that makes you? Human. And if a platform makes you feel you need to use a filter or only share the best parts of you then it’s not for you. I want you to focus on what is real to you. I want you to feel comfortable about every part of you without any filter (that goes for make-up too but we’ll save that for another pep talk).
You spent more time watching someone else fulfil their dreams instead of working on yours.
YouTube has long been your go to place for everything. From movies and music videos, to DIY’s, reviews and hair tutorials. If you wanted to know how to do something you’d start there. YouTube is amazing I can’t lie, however, it was also one of your biggest distractions. From the channels you were subscribed to, to the videos you searched for or recently watched, everything you saw or that was suggested to you was curated for your particular interest – and your particular distraction. You are in a place of growth and development and platforms like YouTube were only feeding you what you already had, what you already knew and what would distract you from your reality. You stopped experiencing and learning new things because everything that was being shown to you was on something you had already seen a million times. The temptation to watch one video after another of your favourite YouTubers was too good to pass when YouTube recommended it to you. So you’d spend time clicking on one video after another. Time you could have been using to work on your goals. I didn’t want you to waste your time any more. I wanted you to work on your own goals instead of distracting yourself with someone else.
Social media should be there to serve you, your needs and your growth. When you start to feel like it’s taking away from you more that it’s giving to you, its time to leave it alone. That’s why you kept your blog and Twitter account.
Aside from your love for writing, you experienced a lot of growth and encouragement whilst using these two platforms. Your blog and Twitter account have so far proven to be more constructive than disruptive. They don’t interrupt your mental space because the stream of tweets and blog posts are impossible to follow. Nothing on your feed is ranked by likes or comments or followers etc. It’s all about communication, creativity and expression. That’s what you need to be focusing your energy and time on — your communication, your creativity and your expression. I want you to breath more of your own air and any platform that allows you to do that without question or pressure is one to keep around.
Your time and energy is too precious to be wasted.
I do hope your relationship with social media changes positively over time and that you learn how to use them for your good, but there is no rush. Its better to utilise one or two platform that positively contribute to your life than to juggle them all and loose focus. Don’t worry about missing out on what other people are doing at the risk of missing out on yourself.
So future self, if you’re reading this, use this new found time wisely. Learn more about yourself and the life you want to live, Learn about the people in your real life and about the world that you live in. Make and share more unfiltered memories. Let everything that is in your life have a purpose that benefits you first. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It’s been a few days since you stopped using these apps so if you feel the urge to add them back, I hope you keep in mind why you removed them in the first place.
I’m curious to see what goals you will achieve now that some of the distractions are out of the way.
Till next time.
P.S: 3 posts in less than 2 weeks? Girl, 2018 is off to a great start! I think writing to you has made this blogging thing a lot easier for me and I hope it’s working for you too.