I had been on Facebook for several years and used it to connect with classmates/coworkers, post pics, and share various updates. Although I enjoyed “connecting” with others, it also felt overwhelming trying to like, comment, and keep up everyone’s updates. In the past, I looked at everyone’s pics and felt like I should’ve been doing the same things they were—partying, traveling, or going on dates. I decided to unsubscribe from a lot of people and kept receiving updates from others. I realized that if I wasn’t happy with myself or my life, then I should do something about it instead of feeling envious of people I barely knew.
During the past few years, I focused on discovering myself and developed a relationship with God. I continued posting updates and selfies occasionally on Facebook; I enjoyed seeing people’s updates, pics, and funny comments, but now it was becoming addictive! Whenever those notifications went off, I couldn’t wait to see who liked my post or pic. I would plan to get on Facebook for at least 30 minutes but that would turn into two hours! Sometimes being on Facebook was more entertaining than watching cable TV!
I considered deactivating or deleting my Facebook account but wasn’t sure if I should go that route. I had even deleted the app from my phone and logged out so it would help me stay off the website. This only lasted for a few days (maybe even almost a week) because when I downloaded the app again and logged in, I got sucked back in. I knew I should be doing other things (reading my bible, working on my writing, etc.) but I just couldn’t resist Facebook. Last year, I kept praying and asking God to decrease my desire for Facebook because although it was addictive and entertaining, there were some things that didn’t appeal to me:
- Repetitive posts/memes—No matter how positive or inspirational they were, I was tired of seeing the same posts pop up every few months. I know that seeing something positive at the right moment can be helpful, but the exact same thing over and over again? It loses its effect after a while.
- Chain letter type posts—“Share this post and God will bless you with money” or “You’re a hater/cold-hearted if you ignore this post” which may have been about a deformed child or an attractive child/woman. I hate posts that attempt to instill fear in others and people will pass it along because they’re afraid of being seen as a “bad” person. What law says you have to pass it on? How will they know if you don’t?
- The TMI (too much information) posts—“I’m bored” or “I’m hungry.” Well, go get something to eat or find something to do. Or so-and-so checked in at the mall, restaurant, or school at 3pm. Your stalkers would know just where to find you.
- Constant selfies—Don’t get me wrong, I loved posting selfies but there were some people who posted too many. It just screamed, “Look at me, look at me!”
- Nosy people—I had connected with quite a few people, thinking “Maybe if I connect with them (despite their insults/gossiping, etc.), they’ll see that I’m no different than them). Why did I bother? Since I don’t talk about my life, they thought they’d see it on Facebook. Sorry, I don’t post much, either.
- Validation—I liked seeing comments and likes on my posts and photos (who doesn’t?). Sometimes I would feel disappointed if I made a post and got a small number of likes (especially if I thought I was being witty or insightful). That’s too much wasted energy and we shouldn’t seek validation that way. It’s bad enough that I’ve been in bad relationships due to poor self-esteem; I sought validation from people who were miserable and unable to recognize my value in real life, so why should I be seeking it on Facebook? It’s a false sense of approval. Lots of people might like your status but can still tear you down behind your back.
I deactivated my account around the beginning of January; I did log back in last Friday to check a group that I’d been missing but I deactivated my account again. Since I’ve been off Facebook, I feel a lot better—I feel as if I can focus more and I just feel “free.” My life feels more peaceful and less chaotic without it. I’m working on my writing, reading books again, and reading my Bible. Of course, I could change my settings and delete some people, but staying off of Facebook feels right to me.