I recently saw a friend on Facebook post that they were taking a break from social media. I wish I could do that, I thought enviously. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized how simultaneously ridiculous and alarming that thought of mine was. Of course I could take a break from social media if I wanted to! Nothing was stopping me from it. Except, well, my addiction to social media.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with jealousy and comparison in basically every area of my life. For a few years, it seemed like it was getting better, until it slowly started creeping back. This past summer, I began noticing that every time I opened by Instagram or Facebook app, I would get a sinking feeling. It was as if I was dreading what I was going to find. “Other people’s happiness shouldn’t make you feel less about yourself,” many people have said to me over the years. I know this should be true, but for someone who is naturally weak in this area, seeing nothing but smiling photos of people getting married, having babies, traveling, etc. can tend to make me wonder if my life is something less. Especially when the only things I’ve done the whole week are work and get groceries at Aldi.
So I decided to take a few weeks’ break from Instagram. And I honestly didn’t miss it at all. No, I wasn’t instantly rid of all my anxieties and insecurities, but it was one less thing I had to worry about. One less thing I felt the compulsive need to check up on. And one more excuse to engage in the world around me.
This got me thinking about addiction in a broader sense. Addiction is powerful. I feel like with things like social media (and also for me, coffee), I throw around the word so nonchalantly, when really, “addiction” means that I’m a slave to something that doesn’t deserve to have control over my life. And speaking of coffee, this is also something I recently started cutting back on. Not really for any health reasons, but simply because I don’t want to be controlled by things that I think I “need.”
I want to engage in things that strengthen me and fuel my mind in a positive way—not make myself a slave to things that make me feel miserable in the end and discontent with the life I’ve been blessed with.