Confronting My Addiction to My Phone
There is an overwhelming feeling that washes through me when it comes to the platform that is social media. Two feelings actually. Scratch that—three vastly different feelings.
The first is inspiration, the second is comparison, and the last is anxiety.
Now, I would be lying to you if I said that when I mindlessly click into these apps on a daily basis that that was the order in which these feelings flood my energy.
As a performer, I have very recently been sitting with this word and this feeling…inspiration. Trying to get clear with myself and ask myself WHY am I inspired by someone? By something I see or hear? When I think back to my own training and college years and imagine this word during that season of my life, I feel sort of gross. Icky. Disingenuous, almost. While so many moments of college were wildly inspiring, sure, way more of those moments were saturated by competition, internal comparison, and a fear that I would never be as “fierce” as someone else I “admired” at the time. However, as I have gotten older and further away from that negative self-talk and environment, I have found that talent is actually never what we are inspired by, it’s a persons humanity. Inspiration boils out of us when we see ourselves in another, when we understand how hard they must be working and commend them for it, when we relate to their strife, when we yearn to know them more- to me this is inspiration. When I loose myself in a moment just to see myself reflected back at me in the end, to teach me, to change me, to be wholly undone.
So…when it comes to clicking into an app, This is my number one aim and goal when communing with this beast called social media. I LOVE to find new people, ideas, art, design, food or just joy and laughter that makes me feel seen, teaches me something I need to learn or open my eyes to, or simply just laugh at another’s willingness to tease themselves. This part I love. It’s rooted in connection, the number one feeling we all daily seek: belonging.
Next, is COMPARISON.
A very long time ago I heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy” and that REALLY struck me, deeply.
As much as that thought has stayed with me over the years I am human, and the human condition is to compare. It’s taught to us, trained into us from a very early age.
“Sweetie, those are the good kids and those are the bad kids. I want you to spend time with the good kids.”
We compare brands until we find what’s best for us.
We compare benefits before we choose a career path.
We evaluate who can get us where we want to go faster before making a choice to engage or start conversations.
We see our new relationship before us and compare them to our last, and ourselves to an old ideal of who we used to be that we no longer are, yet often can’t seem to shake either.
Our whole lives are built off of “this or that”?
Now, don’t get me wrong - there is a LOT of simple and regular things in our day to day that we should, and have to do this with to survive, sure. BUT, when it comes to people, and relationships, life milestones and desired expectations, and above all else…our feelings, we must lean into joy and abundance within these matters before we compare our own daily, every-changing truth to another persons highlight reel.
Recently I have had to listen to my thought patterns as they start to stray to “why don’t I have that yet?” “I am jealous of that.” “I could do that better.” “I work just as hard as them.” - the list is endless because we are not ACTUALLY connecting with that person whose picture we just double tapped. We are not actually getting to know their truest heart or let them see ours, we are curating a transient encounter. Then when the encounter doesn’t fill us up in the way we had hoped that it would, we are really disappointed and start to feel even worse about who we are, where we are at, what we are chasing and pursuing in our lives - and so much more.
Give yourself permission to take a break. Remember that behind every smile we see is a person, flawed and frantic, JUST. LIKE. YOU.
And lastly, is ANXIETY.
So, I think this goes without saying, but social media can cause a LOT of anxiety.
We are addicted to this machine that gives us a temporary high of importance, of belonging, of worthiness, of ego stroking, of butterflies, of what we believe is authentic connection.
Lately, I have found that social media has been cussing me more harm than good lately because of how much I MISS HUMANS! Like holy shit balls! I miss people so MUCH!
I miss going out. I miss dinner parties. I miss gathering. I miss the anticipation in connecting with another soul.
So…social media was ALL we had for two years. For this I am so thankful! It allowed me to have many-a-zoom cocktail party, take voice lessons virtually, interview friends on a live, or just DM late at night with an old friend. It can be a HUGE tool and blessing. 100%!
But now as we start to slooooowly come out of this panoramic I am finding I need to make new, and healthy boundaries with my phone.
It’s not so much that I need to break up with it or take it to couples therapy, it’s just I needed to give myself permission to put it down and trust that I wasn’t actually “missing anything” at all.
I don’t know where you are at today, but I wanted to share my current frustration with myself and the socials because I think this is a subject that we often tell ourselves what we want to hear in order to keep it in our lives the way we want it - it is an addictive crutch to an extent - so we must come at it with the right mindset.
Some days, when it’s giving me anxiety, I have to totally log off mentally and detach myself, this always makes me feel better.
Other days when I feel great and really just want to be online to see what others are up to and cheer them on for the amazing things they are doing!
But for real, it’s ALL easier said than done. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Turn off all of your notifications. Turn off your ringer and text tone. Remember that not to long ago we didn’t have these “connection” machines. If there is an emergency…the person will call back… and you will see that they did…on your phone…when you pick it up….in 15-30 seconds from right now.
We are not missing anything when we are not online and thumbs-a-scrolling, cus in fact we are missing everything happening in front of us. The little moments. The quietest parts of our lives that make us the nuances that we are.
I am making a promise to myself today, and perhaps you wish to join me, and that is…
I am going to see this tool for what it is, but create better boundaries surrounding it so it’s not so all-consuming. I ALSO am not going to be hard on myself when I fail at this at first, because changing a habit is really fucking hard. I want to seek to find way more inspiration in my day-to-day than my anxious tendencies. Awareness is the first step.
This may seem silly to you, or you may wildly connect to this and want to chat more about it. Either way, I would encourage you to watch a little movie called: The Social Dilemma, cus if you haven’t, you will think about all of this stuff in COMPLETELY different light once you’re done.
Let us seek out the truest form of belonging we can find, in real time, with the ones we love and the ones we will love someday.
Let us quiet the voice of comparison within us and turn, instead, to the truths we know about ourselves and others too.
Let us feel every edge of the anxiety when it comes, but spend our time building resilience muscles so that when the flood's waves of panic ensue we are better equipped to float through them instead of our former drowning torment.
I love y’all so much!
Be well, be kind and be brave!
Thanks for joining me again.