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Why I’m Quitting Social Media

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We are told to love ourselves, but we all have the ability to construct our lives and stage illusions of who we are – especially on social media. This doesn’t always match what we feel inside. 

It’s easy to blame social media for this problem but it goes deeper than that. We are afraid to be ourselves because we don’t think we’re good enough. But on the inside, we have stories, inspirations, passions, that we have almost an obligation to share. We should all be sharing these to be authentic, to connect with others who feel the same way. Instead, we share to impress.

I’ve noticed recently a lot of targeted ads on social media about young 20-somethings who quit their jobs and make money documenting their travel and leading completely frivolous and useless lives. But it is important to learn that this doesn’t make you more interesting. It doesn’t make you a better person. It’s not giving back meaningfully to society. The inspiring people are the ones who are honest about their insecurities and are open about their stories. This isn’t confined to social media either, this is adaptable in all areas of our lives.

I am still anxious about things I did years ago and worry about what people think of me. Even on this blog, I sometimes worry that my writing can come across to readers as some pseudo-intellectual dribble. But nowadays I am more able to accept myself as ‘good enough’ and feel comfortable with who I am. Knowing that I have a small readership on this blog has also helped as a stepping stone, as I find that I am free to be myself, speak my mind, and prattle on and on knowing that few will notice or care.

And I love it.

No pressure at all!

But on occasion, I relapse into old ways (ie. being opinionated online, being depressed by countless profile filters for supporting victims of terror with no meaningful action, counting the acquaintances who are engaged or married or generally comparing my life with others – sad I know, but true). The result is that I end up with self-deprecating and negative thoughts that I have been working to avoid. Like discussing politics or religion, social media is that instigator of anxiety and frustration.

Ultimately, we all want to be loved, valued, and heard.

On social media, people seek love, value and a listening ear from people who … well, really don’t care, unless it includes contributing their own two cents. We’re not connecting with people who are important to us, we’re connecting with strangers who don’t have our best interests at heart and gaining validation from the amount of ‘likes’ or followers we have. And even comments of a positive and supportive nature feel non genuine simply because it’s easier (for example) to rely on a Facebook reminder to wish someone ‘happy birthday’, rather than giving a person a call, hug or even a card. Social media has allowed us to become lazy and take shortcuts. Cancel plans in the last minute. Not respond to plans. Excuse rudeness. I could go on.

If happiness is found through meaningful action, the first step is to eliminate identified causes of unhappiness.

This is my new resolve. To quit social media indefinitely in order to dedicate more time to myself, build close relationships and seek purpose in this world.

What do I think will happen if I went off the grid?

This is not a new concept, but eventually I hope I will find myself in a better place mentally. I hope it will eliminate the anxiety I often feel when interacting online, and learn to become authentic and happier within myself by comparing my own past as a measure of how successful I have become.

I’ve already quit Twitter a year ago with positive results. Initially I had withdrawals, but eventually the addiction for it wore off. Really, how was I contributing anything by retweeting a celebrity, or attempting (poorly) to be witty in less than 140 characters?

How will I document the process?

I am journalling more frequently offline, but I would like to use T27R as a means of recording some aspects of how I use my time more productively and tackling issues around self-development.

How this will turn out is unknown and part of the excitement of the journey. Who knows? Maybe this will lead The 27 Resolve to new territory! Maybe you won’t hear from me for another 6 months because I’ll love my non-digital life! Maybe I may fail and fall back into social media after a week! Who cares? I’ll reflect on that if and when I’ve come to that, and when I’ve learned something valuable to share!

Have you quit social media before? How did it change your life? Was this for the better or worse? I want to know your thoughts.

 

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Purpose

Developing a Growth Strategy

I went into this blog venture with a particular goal in mind (to discover my purpose) with only a hazy idea of how I was going to achieve it. (At least I thought it was something to be ‘achieved’ at the time). I figured that if I invested into something I’m really passionate about, I’d eventually discover my purpose and then I could tick off that box. Well-intentioned, but somewhat naive. It’s funny how 8 months down the line you end up with a totally different mindset. I haven’t really strayed from my main intention, but I’ve certainly ended up with different results and conclusions.

I’m still passionate about feminism and will write about it occasionally, but part of my development to discover my purpose, I’ve been getting more involved in self-improvement books, youtube channels and courses. I’ve been setting goals and challenging myself to work on my flaws and bring out the best in myself and others.

People become better when around those who demand more. In the same way, people become better when they demand more of themselves.

What I have learned though, is that making a statement or goal doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve it. It’s not about the motivation – it’s about the follow through. We often get excited about a goal to begin with, but quickly lose steam when we realise the arduousness of our commitments. And if you don’t have a plan or set of smaller goals in place, it’s much, much harder to accomplish.

I needed to ask myself what routines I will set in place in order to make sure I am following through on my goals, and how will I reflect on my progress and hold myself accountable? But firstly, I needed to clearly and broadly identify my overall goal. This was it:

“My intention is to become the best version of myself possible. To lead a life worth writing down. To be happy. To be someone who lights up any room she enters and whom people find hard to forget. To be irresistible to everyone I meet because I have something special to give to this world.” s.j.o

Yes it’s cheesy, but it’s honest!

Having concluded that discovering my purpose was less about a final goal and more about the process, I wrote this intention based on how I wanted to perceive myself. I didn’t give a time frame for this. If I had said ‘within a year’, I know that I would relax and put it on the back-burner. If I had said ‘by next week’, I know it wouldn’t have been achievable. Realistically, I would need to develop a growth strategy, and this requires short, achievable time frames and steps. (It’s all about the process…)

The same method can work for you too, regardless of how big or small your goal or goals are.

Starting with an intention is the first step. Make it as open as you like. It helps to imagine the best version of yourself possible: the person you want to become. It doesn’t matter if you want to simply be more positive, or become a famous youtuber, it could even be one around dating and improving your mindset in love. Write it down.

After this, you need to identify steps (mini-goals) that you will need to follow through and change in your short-term routine in order to meet your intention in the long-term. Some of these may be hard to do, some of them maybe even embarrassing to admit (although this can be a totally private venture) – but if you want to become the person you describe in your intention, only you can make that happen through deliberate changes to your daily life. Fate will not revolve things to work your way. You have to make the conscious decision to change.

One of my goals towards my intention is to greet people with a smile and look them in the eye. In addition if I know them: greeting them by their name. This is a simple and easy goal, but it’s one a lot of us don’t actually do. This simple action can build and strengthen relationships between strangers, colleagues and good friends! It shows that you have an interest in that person simply through acknowledgement.

It is important that you do this regularly and make specific – SMART – goals, so that they are achievable. I also encourage you to write down the purpose of each goal to specifically remind you of its benefit.

S – specific, significant

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

For example: Perhaps your intention (in a nutshell) is to reinvent your look. Part of this could be weight loss or toning. So one of your goals could be: “4-5 times a week, I will get up earlier to go for a brisk 40 minute walk.”  Purpose: “This will improve my health and general well-being over the long term and tone my legs and stomach”.

I designed two charts to track how I was meeting my goals weekly and daily, so that I could keep a visual record of progress. I have made these available to download for free. These can be used individually or together! I recommend using the daily growth strategy primarily because focusing on 2-3 goals is proven to be more achievable than aiming for 10+ and spreading yourself too thin. The checklist on the weekly growth strategy should not force you to aim for ALL of your goals EVERY day, but rather give you a range to pick and choose from.

Download them here and here– and try them out!

They also include daily gratitudes and forgiveness lists. These are important in general for our mental well being, and being able of letting go hurts, or comparing our lives with others.

For those people who may be setting goals based on appearances, I strongly suggest taking photos to track development. Not only to feel proud of your achievements when they are met, but change takes time, and it’s often frustrating and easy to give up when the results don’t appear fast enough. So keep a record! You may be surprised.

Happy goal setting!

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