Why I'm Permanently Deleting My Facebook
I finally logged into my Facebook after taking a four-month break and the only reason I went on was to delete it.
For 12 years, the platform that took me off of Myspace (throwbaaaaack), connected me to friends at work, got me through midterms and finals week during college, and allowed me to share my love of Spain with all of my friends, has now become a source of unhappiness for me. Let me start off by saying this post has nothing to do with the recent Facebook data fiasco, although that just added another reason to delete it, it’s not the main one.
Now, this isn’t a plea to everyone to do the same. First, I wanted to explain it to my Facebook friends who are curious as to why I'm doing this. Secondly, it’s an important conversation to have because often we behave in certain ways without ever thinking about it and as a life coach, my goal is to help millennials lead more intentional lives. When I left my teaching career to focus on human kindness, I realized that if I was going to coach others, I would need to coach myself first.
We cannot control what other people do or say, but we can control how we respond to it.
Now, let me take it back a bit. During the 2016 Presidential Election, every time I went on Facebook, it really made me wish I hadn’t. Like most people, all I wanted was to know what I could do to bring more understanding into the world, yet every time I went on Facebook, people from both sides of the political spectrum were focusing on the negativity that we had no power in changing. Yes, people in power say some awful things, but much like when you repeat a nasty rumor at work or school, you become a part of the problem, not the solution.
In 2017, there was a huge shift. Oh, not in the way people used Facebook. That became worse.
No, I mean for me personally. That’s when I decided to shift my focus and use my superpower of empathy to restore human kindness through life coaching instead of teaching. I spent the last few months of 2017 having a kickass time working for the Movember Foundation. During my time there I readjusted to life outside of teaching and began planning out 2018. I would spend the first 6 months of 2018 solely focused on learning how to start a business (marketing, profit plans, creating my brand, etc.) and also focused on the things that brought me joy rather than negativity. And so, I deactivated my Facebook.
Here’s the thing: when you’re going through a major life change, social media doesn’t make you feel good. Leaving teaching (though a voluntary decision) was one of the most difficult things to go through. Though I had an idea of what the path looked like ahead, not all of it was clear. It’s easy when you’re feeling low to get caught up in the comparison game.
One of my friends chimed in with some great advice: You can’t compare your low to someone else’s high.
As I began setting up my business, I hurt my back/hip pretty badly (it’s probably karma for all of the jokes my team and I made about my coworker, who had a hip situation going on. Sorry P.M.!). Anyway, the emotional toll from changing careers and being in constant physical pain was almost too much to bear. Throw social media on top of that and suddenly, you find yourself in tears, face first in some Ben and Jerry’s.
As I was sitting here trying to physically recover, set up a business for the first time EVER, make a decision to leave Los Angeles for good, anyone’s milestones like getting engaged or having their first kid, were putting me in a bad place. I knew that all of the sacrifices I was currently making were the right ones, but I still felt a sense of FOMO and of being behind as I watched my Facebook friends from the sidelines. It was time to wipe my tears, finish my ice cream, adjust my plan and move forward. As I near the end of my 6-month plan, here’s what I’ve learned:
What I Gained From Getting Off Of Facebook
I decided to make a list of all of my major accomplishments during this time so that anytime I was feeling behind, I could see the breakthroughs I was actually having:
- Completed My Online Business Program
- Became a Business Owner!
- Began Coaching More Clients
- Learned How to Set Up a Website
- Set Up My Website
- Started & Finished the Harry Potter series for the 1st time (books & films)
I'm really proud of the last one, actually. It's been years in the making. I write this out for mainly for my former students, who are so kind with their questions and emails of encouragement. I saw myself in many of my former students. There was one in particular who told me that if there's one thing she could change, it's to not be so sensitive because everyone is always telling her she's too sensitive. People always told me the same thing. It's turned out to be my greatest gift and the driving force behind starting my coaching business.
Besides that list, I've noticed some big changes in the following areas:
I don’t have to tell you how much time you save doing a social media detox, but I will. While I was working at Movember, I took this newfound time as an opportunity to get to know my coworkers more. Honestly, some of the conversations and laughs I had during those four short months were the best I’ve had in awhile. During more quiet moments, I enjoyed journaling and just sitting with my thoughts (it's scary in there). At home I started practicing my ukulele more, listening to new podcasts, and reading more before bed.
BOREDOM & CURIOSITY
Once I finished working at Movember, I had a lot of unstructured time on my hands. As a person that has had a set schedule for over 30 years of her life, this wasn’t an easy transition for me. So, I decided to shift my mindset from teacher to student, learning what I needed to and what I wanted to. I began doing Marie Forleo's B-School Program since I had no idea how to start a business (thank you, Marie, for changing my life). I also learned how to set up my own website because one of the first rules in starting your own online business is keeping costs low in the beginning (thank you Go Live HQ for making it easy and fun). Once you start making enough money, you can hire out.
Sometimes too much free time led to boredom, but hidden underneath it was curiosity. I realized how much I missed certain things. I read A TON of non-fiction but hadn’t read any fiction in a few years, so I picked up the Harry Potter series (which also revived my cold, black heart). I signed up for a ceramics class, which made me embrace the art of learning from making mistakes. I got SUPER into Astrophysics, Quantum Mechanics, Philosophy, Greek and Roman mythology, the Law of Attraction, Astrology, Tarot, natural forms of healing, and the Subconscious mind. Needless to say, I’m not bored anymore.
One of the things that was most surprising during this time was this deep feeling of loneliness. Spending most of my days in hermit mode made me feel focused and confident that I was on the right track, but it also led to burnout. Since my back was in recovery mode during this time, my emotions were EVERYWHERE. It also happens to be a busy time for teachers and since most of my friends are teachers (or live in other countries), I reached out only to receive “we’ll talk/hang later” texts. Suddenly, I realized that the life coach wanting to help create more community in their lives found herself feeling like she didn’t have one.
After wallowing in self-pity for a few weeks and talking to my therapist, I decided enough was enough. It takes small acts of courage every day to be who we want to be, so I made a list of my soul friends who I hadn’t spoken to in a while and began reaching out to them one by one. Once out with them, I opened up about how I was feeling. Turns out they felt the same way. There was a common theme of having these superficial connections to many people, but very few intimate ones. Part of it comes from not reaching out, as was the case with me, and the other part of it comes from a fear of being vulnerable.
What people don't realize is that in that vulnerability lies the potential for true connection. As Brené Brown writes in The Gifts of Imperfection, "If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage in the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way - especially shame, fear, and vulnerability." I've been moving towards that and now the path was becoming more visible.
As for me, I’ve decided this is one thing I do have the power to change, both through my coaching and in my own relationships. Facebook has eliminated the “losing touch” part of life and with it, reconnecting too. High school reunions don’t have the same effect that they did in the past. They’ve lost a bit of their awkwardness and magic. I kinda miss that.
In the two days since posting I was going to delete my Facebook, I’ve had numerous people start one-on-one conversations with me. I truly believe that people come into your life “for a reason or a season”. Those who are meant to stay in my life, will. Those who don't will create space for both of us to let in new people who will shape us in new ways.
While deleting my Facebook page isn’t that brave, it’s the intentional action behind the desire to have meaningful interactions that is. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown writes, "Social media are helpful in cultivating connection only to the extent that they’re used to create real community where there is structure, purpose, and meaning, and some face-to-face contact". Getting off of Facebook and instead investing that time into meaningful, human interactions are good places to start.
Thank you to those who have contributed to my growth over the years. I am forever grateful.
What is one way you can create more meaningful connections in your life?