I took a Facebook break recently.
I’d actually been cutting back for a few weeks before I announced it. And I did that mostly in case a potential client tried to reach me there. I was fine using Facebook for work, but I’d had some friendship breakups and seeing their posts on mutual friends’ pages was rubbing salt in the wounds.
I was also addicted to Facebook (again!) and needed a break.
While on the break, I had some epiphanies as I suddenly had more TIME. The thing I constantly complain about not having enough of. Time for my family, time for the friends I still had, time to work and most of all: Time to dream. I came up with 5 ways social media is killing your dream.
As there are two sides to every argument, I will follow up with a blog detailing five ways you can use social media to further your dream. Social media is a tool. You can use it or get sucked in.
Here are the ways social media is killing your dream:
1. Comparison is the thief of joy.
How many times have you browsed your newsfeed and felt jealousy? Based on whatever stage of life you’re in, you’ll see other people getting the things you want. Whether or not they were even YOURS to have, you can still feel it. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
If you find yourself wondering why someone else has the baby/marriage/career you’re hoping for, take a break. You have plenty to be thankful even if it’s as commonly taken for granted like a roof over your head.
Focus on YOUR path. How far you have come. How far you would like to go. Wanting something is almost more delicious than getting it if you can live in the moment and have faith that what you’re supposed to get will come.
2. Time is the only thing you can never get more of.
Everyone I know is busy. Busy, busy, BUSY. We all wish we had more time to do the things we want and need to. But we don’t realize how much time the innocent-seeming news feed scroll can eat up. They’ve built the site with the purpose of trying to KEEP you there.
It’s like being ADD. You go on to message a friend and suddenly you’re watching videos of baby marmosets being brushed by toothbrushes and seeing photos of Kim Kardashian’s planet-like rear.
I have more time to edit. More time to photograph. More time to talk to clients.
I’ve tried to make it a habit to leave my phone in the kitchen and then cuddle with the kids upstairs. We have the most hilarious conversations and the most loving interactions when I’m actually THERE with them.
I have more time for friends in the real world and when my phone is on silent in my purse, I can truly listen and see their lovely faces. We all do it. We all know we should do it less. You really do have more time than you realize.
3. You lose focus. Focus. FOCUS.
No dream is EASY. It takes CONSTANT nurturing. You have to ground yourself and wave away outside distractions. Distractions breed comparison. That breeds fear. If you lose focus it’s easy to feel like your dream is out of reach.
So focus! Get a check list app. Make time to talk about your hopes and dreams with your partner. Thoughts become words, words become intentions and intentions are powerful things.
4. Emotions are contagious.
It’s shocking when I feel myself in a crappy mood and realize I read no less than 10 doomsday stories about abuse and death. I haven’t watched the news since I realized it affected me after 9/11. I don’t REALLY need to know every intimate detail of every loss.
There are plenty of loved ones in my life who have recently lost someone and I’d rather be able to try to send them love than feel like I’ll never make a difference.
There have been numerous studies that emotions are contagious. And social media is the place where you’re suddenly faced with SO MANY people’s emotions. If you find yourself feeling down and not knowing why, put your phone done.
Take a walk. Cuddle a child or pet. Hug your spouse. Feelings change. Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than the thought, “I want to feel better.”
5. Social media is reality the way reality TV is “reality”
We’ve all seen it. The friend who’s crushed in private but posts happy posts online. The perfect mother who never acknowledges publicly that she hid in the bathroom to pee alone. The professional who’s career is always booming. I do it too. We try to put our best faces forward.
But it’s not reality.
You can never look at someone’s timeline and truly know them. We are all flawed. We all have times we’re sad. We all have things we have failed at.
This is another argument for being careful how you’re spending your time.
I’ve had to scale back my interactions and ask myself: If I had a totally crappy day, would this person listen? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know”, then I really don’t need to spend a ton of time commenting on things. I’ve made so many friends through social media that I’ll continue. But I don’t feel the need to respond to every comment and like and I don’t have to reciprocate unless I really feel I add something to the conversation.
Even the dream process is skewed through the eyes of social media. You don’t see how many times that person failed but kept trying. You don’t see the doubts in their head that their dream might be out of reach. You don’t get a realistic sense of their dream process.
If you admire someone for their dream, reach out to them. Start a conversation. In real life, most dreamers are happy to share the process so you have a realistic expectation of how to achieve your own.