It was November 2009 when I finally woke up to the fact that I had a debilitating addiction to the internet. I had lost all sense of Self as I prioritized my online activity and the so-called relationships to be of upmost importance. Lost, terrified, and uncertain, I purchased my first journal and took the first steps into uncertainty, willing to change my habits and change myself. I began my journey of awakened consciousness and self-discovery.
I quit. Cold turkey. I left all the news sites, message boards, groups, communities, and whatever social media platforms that were active at the time. (Sodahead and MySpace) I changed passwords to characters I would never remember and deleted accounts, removing everything I knew as an active part of my life. I began the practices of introspection and journaling. I began to heal my life.
With the introduction of Facebook and feeling as if I had overcome my addiction, I crept back in, slowly. One website or platform at a time, I was back in it. Thinking I could handle it and that I’d be different this time around, I once again fell victim to the value system of my Inner Child, believing I had to belong somewhere, and fit in, and be liked and accepted and loved. I have this awareness of my Inner Child today and can see clearly what happened but was unable at the time to define my experience in this way. The patterns of thought and behavior surfaced again and again as I took things personally, compared myself to others and habitually checked in (with hope and fear) more times than I could count.
Over the past thirteen years I continued to struggle and be challenged with the idea of being online. From time to time, I did some detoxing and decluttering, my most recent was back in 2020 when I was off social media platforms for about 4 months. I deleted the FB and IG apps from my phone, the only two social media platforms I used. I took some time out for introspection so I could get clear about my beliefs about social media.
At the four-month mark, I brought the Instagram app back to my phone. I preferred it over Facebook. I began to see and approach the IG app as a bulletin board of sorts. A place where I could post my offerings and share words that might inspire others. The only time I would visit FB was through my computer. I made a promise to myself that the app would never have a place on my phone again.
Everything seemed to be going well, until I felt the struggle, until I began to question once again. When I became curious and got really honest with myself, I understood I was using the IG app as a means to distract myself from what I really and truly wanted to be doing. So, I got curious and honest about that. The truth was, I had a fear of success. I feared my own power and the responsibility that comes with that. If I kept myself distracted, I wouldn’t focus on my excitements because I wouldn’t have time because I needed to post something every day to keep up my online presence. This pattern of behavior kept me small and safe in my comfort zone even though I wasn’t truly comfortable there because I am growing and evolving. Like the nautilus, I have outgrown one chamber and I need to build another. I will no longer try to fit back into the old, smaller chamber of my physical reality.
About three weeks ago I sat here in front of my computer, and I asked out loud, “What do I want to do about social media????” I opened my email and saw a newsletter from friend and fellow Coach, Audrey Holst. In her share she mentioned a book titled Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. With my curiosity peaked, trusting in synchronicity and Divine timing, I researched the book and ordered it. This morning I read half of it.
What I’ve read so far validates everything I’ve been thinking and feeling and sensing about my relationship with the internet and social media platforms. With technology in general. Additionally, Cal’s approach to being a digital minimalist offers me fresh eyes and new tools to use when I feel I want to begin reintroducing technology into my life. Yes. I have stepped away from the noise, clutter, and distractions of many apps and the internet and notifications. I have let go of the minor diversions, distractions, and trivial conveniences. I am intent on rebuilding my relationship with technology from scratch, using my deeply held truths and values as a foundation.
Some of you have reached out to me asking me about my social media presence. Thank you for your inquiry and for noticing I haven’t been there. I don’t know if I’m ever going back on Facebook or Instagram. Right now it’s a, hell no. What I can tell you is that I will continue to send my weekly newsletters because that is the most authentical and exciting way for me to stay connected with you. I am taking every present moment as it comes, breathing in the experience of my passions, values, and truths.
If you have some interest in decluttering your technology and quieting the noise, I am open to having a conversation with you. Please reach out.
I leave you now with a quote from author Cal Newport ….
“The most important resource we posses is the minutes of our life.”
With love and gratitude,
Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.