Its safe to say this subject is very close to my heart.
That’s not because I’m addicted to social media but because I’m lucky enough to not be and that gives me front row seats to the addiction in the majority of people I know and have contact with. Because I’m looking in from the external viewpoint I get a raw insight and it’s scary, honestly, people have more relationship and dependency on their phones/social media than their partners. As a relationship and connection coach… this is a BIG issue!
Now social media is not actually the problem it’s the humans that use it that are, you see Facebook and social media plays on your addiction/reward sensors just like gambling, sugar and heroin do. Now, these rewards sensors in your brain are wired to seek out this satisfaction of reward. You may not realise this, but just like you did when you were young when you sought out a parent for attention which gave you the reward of external validation and love, you now seek out that out in external validation in others on social media.
This (somewhat unintentional) trick that social media plays on your mind is the biggest deception of all. It is training our brain to reinforce that deep seeded need for external validation. As a population, we are becoming disconnected from the people that are closest to us and are connecting to people far away (that often don’t have deep relationships with) and we are searching for their validation! and keep in mind that, that validation is coming from people that possibly won’t even notice if you dropped off the face of the earth. This may hit a nerve but I can guarantee that you get more of a kick from a random (maybe hot person that takes great gym selfies) liking your pictures than you do your own partner!
So let me ask you a few questions:
- do you wake up and look at your phone before you look at your partner or yourself in the mirror?
- do you lose hours in the day just scrolling?
- Is your phone in hand or pocket constantly?
- Can you leave your phone at home?
- do you notice the people around you often?
- when was the last time you made genuine eye contact with someone?
Now let me say here that there is nothing wrong with wanting external validations from your loved ones and hey it’s also nice to get it from strangers sometimes but seriously when was the last time you validated yourself? Happiness, satisfaction will NEVER be achieved by seeking it out in others it HAS to come from you first.
And this is why Facebook is so dangerous because you are looking for a needle in a haystack, you will never ever achieve true deep satisfaction from the external world. Its a perpetual void of searching for that ultimate validation that will NEVER arrive. External validation does nothing but reinforces that childhood neural pathway that we need to confirm that we are ok via someone else’s validation.
Don’t you think its time that we create new smarter, more evolved choices? Wouldn’t you like to not have to have that deep gnawing need to feel validated? wouldn’t you love to know that you’re a legend without having someone else to confirm that? would that make you feel free and liberated?
I’m not saying that we should not have social media but I am saying that the scales are tipped and we are losing our way! and it’s creating a dark world full of ego and false bravado.
so is social media killing you… well no not your physical body, but possibly your soul! Because the truth of the matter is you’re a soul that occupies a body, not a body that occupies a soul. And when you deny who you are as a person and the validation you need from within, you are slowly chipping away at the foundations that makes you, you. Because as a human you will do almost anything to be liked, that includes sacrifice or compromise who you deeply are to not be rejected from the pack, to be externally validated…and that, my friend, is the biggest regret you will ever have.
So what can you do?
- leave your phone at home all day on purpose *insert gasp of horror here*
- when you’re talking to someone put your phone away on silent
- Social media fast until lunchtime every day
- set a 10 min timer on your phone when you are on facebook and get off when it goes off
- do a social media cleanse: even just for a week, delete your apps from your phone if you can’t control yourself
- GO OUTSIDE AND TALK TO REAL HUMANS!!!
- look at your self in the mirror each morning and pay attention to the fact that you exist and practice gratitude for being alive!
- go get your hands dirty, go to the gym, go surfing, do yoga, GO TO BRUNCH
- go for coffee on your own without your phone and open your eyes to how many people are staring at their screen
- HAVE SEX, get off, feel good, laugh.
Basically just live in the real world…