I did it.
I went ahead and said “goodbye” to Facebook.
For now, at least. At this point, I don’t believe this will be a permanent step. I don’t know whether this will last a week, a month or two or longer… It will simply continue for as long as it takes for me to re-assess my priorities and begin living in a way that will better benefit both me and my family. When something begins to take hold of your mind and influence your actions in such a way as to distract from what is really important – that’s when it’s time to reduce or remove that influence.
Honestly, this step has been a long time coming for me. There have been little red flags building up for a year or two that I should have given heed to much sooner. When I bothered to automatically set a homepage on my browser (I didn’t with my new laptop), it was set to Facebook. I used to spend hours at a time playing the various games found on there. Most of the time when I have a spare minute, I’ll go to my phone, or the iPad, or the laptop, and I will automatically find myself on my Facebook account. I’ll click and scroll and click and scroll and read and watch and – for what?
I’ll do the same when I’m out with friends, spending time at the parents or in-laws, having a meal with my family in a restaurant, or out on a date night with my husband. If there’s a lull in conversation, I automatically find myself reaching for my phone to check Facebook. It’s a compulsion. It’s turning into an addiction. An ugly word, but there it is.
I even found myself doing it during church last Sunday.
And honestly? Probably 95% of the things on there aren’t worth my time, anyway. There’s the scams – “win £100 worth of _____ vouchers”. There’s hundreds of “like/share this if you disagree with ______” pictures, normally with a horrible photo of a beaten child or animal (which both upset and frustrate me in equal measure – you “like” or “share” a picture of something hideous to voice your support against such an act, thus giving it even more attention?!). There’s the swearing, the vulgarity, the showing off, the drama and the no-holds-barred arguments over religion and politics. I’ve had to unsubscribe from certain people in my feed because of the language used or the horribly offensive and crude opinions posted. In short, I’ve been exposed to things I wouldn’t otherwise have been privy to and have felt my spirit be dragged down bit by bit as a result. I’ve ever so slowly felt myself begin to be a little more desensitised to some of the “worldly” rubbish that is carelessly splashed about on its pages.
On the other hand, I’ve joined some wonderful groups on Facebook – one revolving around women in the LDS faith, another is an attachment parenting group where I glean a lot of useful information and support for my parenting choices. I’ve another discussing VBAC facts and opinions (I’m hoping to undergo a VBAC with our second boy due in a few weeks). There are some fabulous women in all three of these groups that I’ve come to like and respect. I’ll miss the discussions and opinions shared in those places. And I will miss keeping up with the little details of the lives of those close to me that I care about and wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to speak to on such a regular basis. I’ve been overjoyed to see pictures of friends newborn babies and shared in their happiness at other positive life events – birthdays, holidays, work promotions, just a plain old good day…
I think Facebook (and other social media) can be a fantastic outlet for bringing people of similar values and interests together, and for promoting ideas and businesses. It’s not all bad. Which is why I’m thinking that this is more of a “see you later” than a “see you, full stop”.
For me, it comes down to this – the way I am using this website at the moment is not healthy. How many other ways could I be spending those spare minutes and hours? I could be nurturing and developing the relationships around me instead of engaging in even more unnecessary time spent clicking through a social news feed. I could be using those few moments (which, if I’m honest, often turn into an hour or more) to engage in prayer, read my scriptures, play with my son, read a book, do some housework, call a friend, prepare a lesson for church, spend some time crafting or developing a talent, writing a letter… The list goes on. So many more uplifting, worthwhile activities that I could spend many more hours involved in if I didn’t constantly have my eyes glued to my social feed.
Hebrews 12:1 says,
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us“.
That scripture really speaks to me with regard to this issue… Stop weighing yourself down with unnecessary burdens. Leave behind anything that is holding you back from being the best you can be. Go ahead and be as productive as you can in your faith and in your life.
So that’s what I’m going to focus on. Being the best I can be. I will actively engage in the things that will help me grow in my faith and in my life. I will re-prioritise. I will choose the best. When I’ve learned to do that – really learned to do that – and I’ve thought of a way to remove as much negative influence as possible from the times I do log on – then I’ll most likely be back.
But for now, for me, this is the right thing to do. And I’m feeling pretty positive about it!