So I'm writing this 3 hours after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down in hopes that it'll be months before anyone can read these words. That may sound strange and cynical coming from someone who invests a lot of time and energy on social media trying to love, encourage, and support others through my words. But I really believe a hard-core, all-inclusive time-out would probably do this world a lot of good right now.
Of course, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with so many of you online and share my heart. I am beyond grateful for the encouragement and inspiration I receive in return from so many beautiful people. There is a significant amount of good that happens on social media for sure. But there is a considerable amount of not so good too.
I feel like we are losing ourselves in this virtual world. Forgetting that we know how to think for ourselves and make decisions using the beautiful intuition within us. Forgetting that we don't need the opinions of total strangers to feel good about ourselves, our parenting, our marriage, or our life. I feel like we are losing the depth of who we are at the core, forgetting we are worthy of love and belonging simply because we exist.
Friends, divine LOVE is intertwined in our DNA. We are made from love, and God says we are good. Period. Our value and significance are nonnegotiable, and no one has a say about our worth, especially not a total stranger in a make-believe world. But social media has created a culture that wants us to believe otherwise. We've been trapped into thinking that an emoji clicked on by a random person (or even a bot) is a valid indicator of our enoughness. We've been conned into feeling comments from people—good or bad—who know nothing about us in real life are barometers of our dignity, intelligence, and competency. We've been duped into the habit of measuring our life in real-time to what is curated by others into square boxes on a screen, and then live our real life chasing what we think we are missing, settling for something we believe we've already attained, or crumbling in defeat over something we don't think we deserve.
We are also losing sight of one another—of our shared humanity. Like the bones and flesh, heart and soul stuff that's real and tangible. We're forgetting how to communicate effectively and compassionately and respectfully. Like the golden rule kinda stuff. The way certain people treat others on social media breaks my heart. These invisible walls create a vacuum for smallness to loom large, and ugly behavior feels almost normalized now. Sometimes I wonder if these screens are between us wherever we go in real life, too, affecting our ability to have a genuine, face-to-face dialogue with complete sentences and well-thought-out conversation.
Is it just me, or is all the oversharing, constant contact, and enmeshed connection taking a toll on society and our overall well-being?
What if we were forced into an extended pause from social media so we can just focus on being social in real life with the real people who are in front of us? What if we went back to a time when our only option to connect and love one another was face-to-face or over a phone line? You know, like when just the two of us are talking and hearing each other out instead of having the random opinions of 50 strangers chiming in and deciding whether what we are saying is appropriate and acceptable 'to them'? What if we trusted our instincts on being a good mom, wife, friend, co-worker? What if we found just as much joy, amusement, and life energy by spending time in nature or reading a book or hanging out with strangers at a park?
I'm sorry to sound so depressing and negative. I'm really not depressed or negative at the moment. Yesterday just got me thinking of, gasp, the days before the internet even existed! I know, right? Like, friends, when my kids were little, there was NO INTERNET. I had two of my kids before anyone ever heard the term Yahoo. Can you imagine such a time? Obviously, we are in a different world these days, but gee whiz, I do get the warm and fuzzies thinking back to those days when life was simpler.
So, I was kinda hoping the outage lasted for a significant amount of time. However, I know it hurts people from a business standpoint who are running online businesses and rely on revenue and funds from these social media sites. But nothing is guaranteed with social media. At any moment, all of it could be unplugged and taken down for good. That's always the risk.
The most valuable thing we have going for us that is up and running daily is OUR LIFE. Did we wake up and get to take a breath? Did our loved ones get to wake up and take a breath? Are we still able to plug into each other and do life together? Are we still able to experience our relationships at the heart level and enjoy each other's company? Are we still able to love and serve others and make a positive impact in the world?
If we can say yes to these questions, what a blessing.
In the meantime, I will continue to do my best to love and serve you all well in this space—respecting your time, valuing your input, and appreciating your existence. Thank you for being here. Please know I'll be just as thankful and happy if you choose to unplug.
while you live, shine