I deleted IG along with most other social media apps from my phone almost 2 weeks ago and only reinstalled a few days into January. I discovered a few things that I wanted to share with you as this was a great lesson and there are parallels to be drawn to other situations in life.
Early on, I noticed a lot of urges to ‘just take a peek’ or ‘log in from your laptop’. I tried to justify and bargain with myself as to why I needed to log in.
I questioned those urges – did I really need to check my feed? Am I avoiding something else by wanting to log in?
Turns out, it was both.
100% there was FOMO involved here – knowing I was on the outside and not seeing what’s going on. Feeling like an outsider isn’t great, especially when that brings up shit I’ll need to work with my therapist on… In the moment of noticing this, I was asking myself if I was truly missing out on important things though:
The people on there that I truly want to hear from? I either have other ways of communicating with them (as friends do) or I get emails from them because I want to hear what they have to say. So am I really missing out? No.
The bigger observation for me over these 12 days though? These apps are one ginormous distraction machine. I know I know, no surprises here. What did surprise me though is just how much I personally used it to distract myself from what was actually going on.
Mindless scrolling had become such a habit, my brain wasn’t really used to being present. To just be. It wanted to be numbed, to be distracted so I didn’t need to think about things or worry.
In the end, I decided to surf those urges – to notice them, name what’s going on and also reminding myself why I chose to take time off. Reminding myself I’ll be able to contact people in other ways if I need to. Reminding myself that I love whodunnit shows so Inspector Morse deserves to get my full attention 😆
Slight joke aside though – that last bit is the important bit: shit will get uncomfortable and your brain will try to tell you to NOT choose the discomfort, the unknown. It will try to negotiate to maintain the status quo of safety and knowing what’s going on to protect you (that what it’s meant to do).
The 3 lessons I promised in the title?
- Start small and focus on one change or task at a time. You don’t have to do it all first time – work your way up to it, let your brain get used to the new thing 🙂
- Curiosity is your friend. Approach the discomfort like a scientist and see what it feels like, asking yourself why it’s coming up for you. What is behind that?
- You don’t always have to accept what your brain is telling you at face value. You can choose to stay in that discomfort and you can talk back – imagine a merger negotiation or heck, bargaining at a flea market stall (this is something you learn more about in my free Inner Critic workbook too)