Every morning at 8 a.m., my alarm goes off, I roll over, and the first thing I do is check my Snapchat only to open a bunch of pictures of the top of someone's head, or the wall, or — my favorite — a black screen. This is something we're all guilty of, myself included. We all know that social media is becoming an addiction amongst us, so why do we still use them in an unhealthy way? Why are our friendships defined by who has the longest streak? Why are our perceptions of others based on the most perfectly posed presentations of people? Why is our self-worth dependent on the number of double taps or shares or comments?
My world used to revolve around social media.
Every time I posted a picture on Instagram, I would constantly refresh to see how many likes I had accumulated. The worst part about that is I would get upset if I didn't get any likes in the seconds between each refresh.
If I got bored or had some downtime between classes, I would spend hours just scrolling through the same posts, hoping to find something different.
So much of my life was wrapped up in the superficiality of social media posts to the point where I no longer knew who I was. I would see pictures of my friends who ended up at the same college and feel left out, I would see girls from high school joining sororities, I would see people looking so stunning and having so much fun, and I let that be the thing that influenced how I felt.
Social media consumed me. It made me forget all the wonderful things I have in my life. It made me value a photo opportunity more than just enjoying the moment for what it is. Let me tell you that a moment is no less valuable just because it isn't visually appealing.
I've recently started using the Screen Time feature on my iPhone. I set a two hour per day limit on my social media usage, and when that time is up, I can no longer open the apps. Since then, I've been spending more time face-to-face with the people I care about. I've reconnected with old hobbies. I feel less stressed. I stopped comparing myself to others. I learned to be happy with myself.
I limit my social media usage because all the time I've spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram is time I could've spent going for a walk and enjoying the warmth of Spring.
I limit my social media usage because I value face-to-face interaction. I value hugs and laughter and all the other things you can't get from a screen.
I limit my social media usage because it hurts my feelings when other people are on their phones when I'm trying to talk to them so how can it be right that I do that to someone else?
I think about how dependent on social media we have become, and it makes me so grateful that the sun is too bright to see our phone screens outside and that the mountains raise too high to have good cell service. I'm grateful that my friends make me laugh so hard that I don't even think to check my phone.
So, I challenge you to separate yourself from your social media. Even if it's just for a day. See how your life changes.