Stop Facebook from Hijacking Your Life [ and your happiness ]

 

It’s a time sucker.

It’s depressing.

It’s annoying.

It’s addictive.

This can apply to almost every social media platform out there. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to talk about the biggest platform in the world.

Facebook, with it’s 1.5 billion users, is hijacking our lives.

First of all, it’s a comparison trap. Except, it’s a terrible comparison.  It’s a filtered, polished, see-what-you’re-permitted-to-see news feed. And that’s ok, because that’s what it’s supposed to be.

One of my favourite people says “technology isn’t good or bad, it simply magnifies what’s already there.” – Carey.

I think that is extra-true online.

Do you battle sadness? Loneliness? Pride? Jealousy? Selfishness? Materialism?

Welcome to being human. I battle more than half of those regularly.

And Facebook can just make all of it worse.

I once gave up facebook for 70 days.  But – I swore I’d never do it again.  Why?  There’s too much good in it.

So – what can we do about it?  Read on.

How I Stop Facebook from Hijacking My Life (and happiness)
…and How You Can, too 🙂

  1. It’s a highlight reel.  Treat it as such.

    Facebook can be such a comparison trap when it becomes anything more than what it is.  Highlights.

    When you start to long for someone else’s life because of what’s online, watch out.

    You see their big diamond ring, but you don’t know their struggles. You see their smiles, but you don’t know their pain.  You see their nice car, but you don’t know their fears.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everyone has a story.  Facebook is never the whole story, and that’s ok. It’s not meant to be!

    When we treat Facebook as the highlight reel it’s supposed to be, we get out of the ridiculous comparison trap that does nothing but lie to and injure us.

  2. Be Real

    One of my Facebook friends started something called #TruthThursday and I love it! In fact, sometimes I copy her! Some of you might even know her.

    She shares real, honest thoughts and challenges from her life. It brings people together, sparks meaningful conversation and blows up the comparison trap.

    At whatever level you’re comfortable with, be real.  Be real with the intention of supporting and encouraging others.

    It’s a breath of fresh air.

  3. Spread good.

    Facebook is a great opportunity to spread good around. It’s so so easy.

    What makes you smile?  What makes you laugh?

    Inspires you?  Gives you hope?

    What is just plain awesome?

    Spread it! Share it! Encourage it!

    It might just brighten someone else’s day, too.

  4. Celebrate others.

    It’s never been easier to publicly celebrate someone.  What better way to step outside our self-box than putting the spotlight on someone deserving?

    My favourite people to see online are people constantly leaving positive comments for others.  There are two people in particular that make me think “I want to be more like them!” just because of how they encourage people online.

    See someone doing something thoughtful? Celebrate them!

    Thankful for the kind gesture of a friend? Celebrate them!

    Did someone you love just reach a major goal? Celebrate them!

    “No thanks, I’ve had enough encouragement.” said no one, ever.

  5. Stay out of the Debates.

    The # of times someone changes their mind based on a heated debate thread about some hot issue = 0.

    Don’t waste your time, emotional energy or mental space debating.

    Debates are better in the context of in-person conversations when you can actually try to understand one another.

    Debates on Facebook are just annoying.

    That doesn’t mean we all need to keep our opinion under our hat.

    Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean you can’t share your perspective, but no one can hear your tone of voice.  Try to write extra-thoughtfully and extra-graciously to defuse debate and prompt conversation.

    And if you don’t have anything nice to say…

  6. Give it Boundaries.

    One night I was sitting in the dark on my bed. The white glow of my phone lit up my face. I was staring… scrolling… aimlessly. I still needed to brush my teeth.  But I was sooo tired, I could not… stop…. staring.  It was like I was frozen.  Justin even asked what I was doing, and my reply? “Can’t… stop… scrolling…”

    Sometimes it easier to stare at my phone than it is to face life.

    You probably don’t need convincing that – without boundaries – Facebook can easily bleed into and hijack important areas of life.

    Sleep.  Work.  Family.  Faith.  Personal growth.

    So – give it what it needs.  Boundaries.  Experiment – what works for you?

    No phone after 9pm?  No Facebook in the office?  No phones at the dinner table?

    Justin and I are always experimenting with this, we’d love to hear what you do!

  7. Keep Dirty Laundry in the Basket.

    No one wants to see your dirty underwear, so keep it in the laundry basket.

    Cryptic, angry messages to anonymous people who ‘know who they are’ is not helpful to you or anyone else.  It will only fuel your anger, confuse people and it’s just unhealthy.

    If you have an issue with someone, go to them thoughtfully and directly.  Unfortunately we can’t delve into all the healthiest ways to deal with conflict issues right now, but Facebook just isn’t the place for it.

    Airing dirty laundry on Facebook is a lot of things, but it isn’t helpful.

Let’s hear from you!

Any unspoken Facebook rules missing here? What drives you nuts or what do you love about it?

How Facebook (or any other social media spot) make your life richer?

 

Sarah

Sarah according to Justin – brings a kindness, compassion and empathy to every conversation she finds herself in. She has a remarkable gift for reaching out and leaving others better than when she met them. She’s also a devoted, patient, and loving wife and mother with a passion for seeing God’s love realized in this world.

10 Comments

  1. Vanessa Black April 10, 2017

    I loved the blog today and I’m so happy that you wrote on this subject!! I often found myself aimlessly scroll. It was an addiction. Every waking moment on Facebook. So I ended up removing it from my phone. I have to be intentional when I go on it. And let me tell you, I get so much more done!

    1. Sarah April 10, 2017

      Vanessa that’s a great tip! Deleting the app! Good boundary – thanks for sharing that 🙂

  2. Dave stege April 10, 2017

    Great Blog..It is Soooo addicting..I often find myself scrolling..Need to set some boundaries as well..Never really thought about it till I read the blog..I could totally relate..Gonna turn the page and set some boundaries..Thanks for an excellent read..

    1. Sarah April 10, 2017

      Dave, that’s awesome! Feel free to do some experimenting… I’ve tried all different kinds of ways to set boundaries with facebook, depending on the season I’m in! Let me know what works for you? 🙂

  3. Tor Dow April 10, 2017

    This was great! I mindlessly scroll through Facebook too and I hate it! I often think of deleting it, but it’s so easy to stay in touch and see people who live so far from me. Having downtime from it is good though!! Thanks for posting!!!! xo

    1. Sarah April 11, 2017

      So true, Tor, I get it! <3

  4. Flemming Jayne April 11, 2017

    I often “can’t…stop….scrolling…” and the times I notice it, it ends up scaring my and I exit right away. Sometimes I laugh at myself and other times I want to chuck my phone, either way, I continue to practice Facebook boundaries daily.

    1. Sarah April 12, 2017

      I can relate to both of those things, Jayne! haha… ‘other times I want to chuck my phone’

  5. Bob Black April 12, 2017

    I remember the comments of an African who was visiting us in North America. He wasn’t condemning but almost envious when he said. “You have the luxury in North America of pre-occupying your time on things that aren’t important. Every day for us is a life and death struggle. We don’t have that luxury.” I don’t have a problem with Social Media but there is an endless list of distractions in North America that can consume your time- TV, Sports, Recreational Activities, Video Games. The biggest problem with all these things is they can be “Noise” which hinders you from seeing or hearing the important. I remember as a boy one time I was swimming in a pool with a friend. He started to drown and grabbed on to me and was taking me down with him. I yelled to my Dad who was sitting talking to friends on the side of the pool. There was so much noise around the pool, however, that he couldn’t hear me. He couldn’t hear his own son drowning. That is the problem with noise- You can’t hear or see the important including God. I had to scream above the noise for my Dad to hear me and save me.

    1. Sarah April 12, 2017

      Wow, Bob thank you for sharing that. The insight from your friend visiting from Africa is really powerful… we get so used to our ‘first world problems’ and can’t see past the noise, as you call it. What an important reminder… your story is a really vivid illustration of what we can miss when we let the noise overtake us. Wow, thank you again for sharing.

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