Answer this question honestly. After all, you’re the only one who will know the answers in your own head. You’re also more than welcome to message me your answer.
How many times a day do you pick up your phone without thinking and flip open Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media platform you’re currently into? I know I did it just three times while thinking up this opening sentence. Now, how many times do you pick up your phone to check the weather, choose a 30 minute home workout, or respond to a text and still end up on social media? How many times have you gone to pick up your phone only to find you were already on the phone?
Now answer this. How many times have you done these things and realized that you’ve been scrolling for so long that you’ve lost 10, 20, 30 minutes without even realizing it or you completely missed out on a conversation with the person sitting in front of you, and you didn’t even remember picking the phone up in the first place?
This happens to me every single day. It happens so often, that I will be standing in line at the grocery store, pick up my phone, open Instagram, decide to put it away and do the exact same thing 5 seconds later. Social media was programmed to keep us scrolling, to keep us invested in a platform. I keep trying to ask myself, why am I so quick to buy into it? Why am I so quick to let myself start scrolling? I don’t find that I’m always super invested in what’s being posted. In fact, some of my favorite accounts or favorite people post so infrequently that I’m rarely looking at their work.
The other day, I realized that scrolling takes up so much of my time, that even with my two kids having their own individual wants and needs, Instagram takes up more of my time than both of them do. I felt embarrassed by this fact. I wondered. What am I doing with my life? Are you wondering that too? I realized that when I scroll through Instagram, what I’ve actually been doing is distracting myself.
Why do I need this distraction? Am I so fearful of being bored? Maybe. Or am I worried about the anxiety my thoughts may bring? Am I worried about an awkward silence in my own head? If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions I am asking right now, then I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you to put your phone down. Schedule a time to get on social media and interact. Post your post, respond to comments, make your connections, do your inspiring and educating. Then put your social media away.
For me, I want to sit with my thoughts. Who knows what I’ve been missing all this time by not listening to the rumbling I could do in my own head. I want to people watch more, like I used to before smart phones were a thing. I want to own my silence, let it be loud around me. I want to feel. Bring on the anxiety, the sadness, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. And then I want to use all those things to be better.
I’ll use them to be a better friend, daughter, sister, mother, wife. I’ll use them to be a better artist, to serve my clients better. I’ll use them to fill my journal, to write better blog posts, to force myself into critically thinking.
When you’ve stopped distracting yourself with social media all day, what will you use your silence for?