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my Facebook cleanse…

So over the last, say, three years.. I’ve been living with a monster.

No, not Analeigh.  (or even Tim, for that matter) hah!

Ever since I brought home my daughter, I have felt like Facebook turned int0 a necessary evil that existed in my life.

Okay, let’s be honest. It was sucking my time, distracting my thoughts and ruining my good intentions.

There. I said it.

But, over the course of the last year and a half, I started to take responsibility for putting facebook in it’s proper place, as a tool and a fun social utility and not as a every waking moment must know whats going on at all times thing. I had to break the addiction before I went insane.

Some of you may be kind of confused, like “whoa, chill.. it’s just Facebook!” but the problem wasn’t Facebook’s fault. It was within me. You see, I have a very sensitive soul, believe it or not, and Facebook, for me, caused what I call – information overload. I could get on Facebook at any given hour and be completely rocked by any number of rants, raves and general TMI moments.

My discontentment came in the form of status updates showing off someone’s new house/car/shoes/camera/vacation/whatever.

My self-worth struggles surfaced over a tagged photo of an old client, who had someone new take their portraits.

I experienced general disgust and lingering sadness when someone pokes at the political fires and creates a whole thread of ignorance and hate.

Even in an innocent “yay my two week old is sleeping all night!” or “it’s date night!” post from a mom friend left me feeling like a failure.

And I am not one who quickly kicks feelings like these..

I hope someone out there is saying “Amen!” right now.. but in case you still don’t get it, I will break it down even more.

Too much information is not a good thing. 

I felt bombarded by everyone and everything. My mind raced as I scrolled and scrolled through pages of things that I didn’t need to know or even want to know.. but was addicted to reading.

It came to me through a lot of praying and thinking that maybe not knowing what everyone else was doing all the time was not such a bad thing. That discontentment is not of my nature and that I could kick it if I tried and that God wanted more for me than an overwhelmed soul.

Because of my sensitivities, I decided I needed to be off Facebook.. but I knew that because I use Facebook for my business and love it for that, that just signing off and never getting back on was not a smart decision. So, what was a girl to do?

I started with deleting the FB app off my iPhone… it made logging in more difficult and the page clunkier to maneuver . thus squashing my desire to even bother.

Then about 6 months ago, I began the long and grueling process of hiding my entire news feed. (what!? you can do that?!) yes, you can! But, you must do it one by one until every single person and page you like is hidden. It takes FOREVER when you have 1,973 friends and like hundreds of pages. So, I thought back to when I had to block all other photographers off my Facebook over two years ago and remembered how much it helped to focus on what I was doing rather than comparing. (you can read THIS blog post about comparison if you’d like)

So, I started with removing the things that created the most unrest in me.. like political posters, pages that discussed parenting.. then I went to people I felt like I didn’t really know that well and then finally when I was comfortable and starting to enjoy my time and energy being spent away from Facebook, I took away everyone. Yes. Even you! (sorry!) I blocked my best friends and my loving husband too. I was ruthless but I really needed to have a clean break to wean myself from the habit of seeing a post, clicking the link and following the rabbit hole into the abyss that is FB.

When I got on Facebook the only thing I saw was my own posts.

And at the risk of sounding completely self-centered… I totally honesty LOVED IT.

I would get together with friends and someone would say “did you see such and such on facebook?!” and I felt so totally, utterly, beautifully out of the loop. In a strange way feeling disconnected made me feel like I existed in the world of the living again and the only information about anything I had was given to me directly and purposefully.

By being “disconnected”, I was reconnecting.

Over the last 6 months, my friendships are fewer but they are richer. We spend time texting directly and see each other more. It’s like Facebook was making my relationships exist only online and I am grateful to have broken the illusion that I was being “social” even though I felt like I never saw anyone.

My mind is calmer and happier, and a lot less bogged down. I can focus on my job when it is required that I sit at a computer and not feel distracted. I work smarter and faster and have so much more time to do whatever the heck I want. (like loosing 10 lbs at the gym and yoga, because I no longer have the “im too busy” excuse!!)

My daughter is happier. Yes, I still use the computer a lot for work and sometimes she has to deal with that since I work from home.. but in the last few months, I haven’t had her walk over and shut my computer because she wants my attention. Even if that was the ONLY benefit of weaning myself off FB.. I would have done it anyway.

Very recently, I started the participating againon Facebook.. but I feel like I am much more purposeful and direct with it. If I think of someone and wonder how they are, I go check out their page and post something.. maybe text them and say hey.. ask them for a playdate or dinner. And, it is glorious when they respond to me in a real, true way and we SEE each other as opposed to typing to one another.

If you are still reading this, Kudos! I assume that you maybe have struggled with the same negative energy in your life that FB can bring.. and I am here to tell you, it’s not scary out here in the world of the living, breathing and not scrolling endlessly.

Don’t be scared to say no to the things in your life that cause you distraction.. the gift of a clear mind and a purposeful life are waiting for you and I have never been happier!

PINIMAGE

xoxo,

 

allie

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  • Danielle Clark - Instead of me hitting the facebook like button up there — I am going to comment here and say that I loved reading this as I too feel the same way and each month do a cleanse! Looking forward to seeing you in August at Ashley’s wedding!! Take Care and keep on hugging that sweet little girl of yours!ReplyCancel

  • mitch s - An enlightening read Allie. Thanks for putting your journey out there for others to see.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy O'Brien - Thank you so much for writing this. I could have written it myself, but you have been much more eloquent. I have been trying to gather the strength. I know it is inevitable and you have helped me greatly. I, too am one of those “sensitive” people. All the best and thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • Bev Swain - Allie, I’m so glad I took the time to read this! I have felt the same way for a long time but haven’t done anything about it. Even though I know that there is no fear of losing Brooklynn to anyone, I still “check” their fb pages on a daily basis, just to “see if they’re up to anything”. Well, NO MORE!!! I, too, am going to free myself of the chains that I allow fb to put on me. I commend you for making these changes & I ask you to pray for me as I, too, make some changes.

    Thank you & God Bless You!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - I loves reading this, and you know I’ve struggled with this. I need to get back to removing everyone and everything from my feed. I love saying, “no I didn’t see it on fb, what happened??” But I do still struggle with it. Whew. Okay, I’m getting back to this. And text me sometime, lets do lunch or dinner! I miss y’all! <3ReplyCancel

  • Lanae - So happy I took the time to read this. These feelings are all too real for a lot of people, I think, but being able to acknowledge their source and break free is the most important part. After reading this I have been going through my news feed and “hiding” all those I find draining…the ones with so much drama everyday, those that seem to ALWAYS be sick or have a sick child/spouse, and of course the overtly political. It feels a little less cumbersome now. My next step is deleting the app from my phone…ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - Amen! Exactly why I cut back!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Allie, what an inspiration! I struggle with this very much — especially because I am relying greatly on social media to get my little side project up and running. I find that I rarely post personal items myself, but am constantly trying to keep up with my business’s page. It’s a productivity-killer and I am quickly sucked into trying to keep up with ‘what everyone else is up to,’ which can all too easily make me feel like a failure. I would love to know how to hide my entire news feed — this is something I would love to accomplish by the time I get married this fall, so that I can start off married life on the right foot — unplugged and 100% focused on the amazing person in front of me! Thank you 🙂ReplyCancel

    • admin - anytime you see a post there is a little arrow down menu on the upper right corner – click it and you can “unfollow” it literally took me 6 months to get everyone off and anyone i add i have to do it to them also.. it’s awesome though and I am glad you are going to do it before marriage!ReplyCancel

  • Reclaiming Joy - Clutch MOV - […] A little over two years ago, I began the process of what I would call a “Facebook cleanse” where I diligently and without prejudice removed over 3000 people and pages from my newsfeed. You can read about my how and why here. […]ReplyCancel

  • On being motherless.. » - […] started in 2011 with the Facebook cleanse I wrote about HERE on my Wedding blog. It may seem trivial to come but excluding the Facebook endless loop of wall […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I wish I had read this 2.5 years ago when you originally posted. I only discovered it after you posted a few days ago and linked to it. I’m working to hide everyone in my newsfeed and it has already impacted my life greatly. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

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