I had a light bulb moment the other day.
I have been considering saying “farewell” to Facebook for quite some time, but I wasn’t really sure why I was feeling unhappy with it. After reading a blog post that someone shared on, wait for it…… yep, Facebook, I realized the problem: it is not a reflection of real life and it’s having a negative impact on my self-esteem.
In the past, I have been one of the biggest supporters of Facebook: “You can connect with old friends! You stay up-to-date with dear friends who live far away! Everyone can look at photos of my cute kid! I can see photos of everyone else’s cute kids! It’s so much easier to distribute information to large groups of people!” All of those things were, and mostly still are true, but before you stop reading because you still like Facebook, hear what I have to say. Or better yet, read the blog post and decide for yourself.
Part of my frustration with Facebook is the superficial nature of the community. I know everyone uses it for different reasons and shares different levels of information, but I hope we can agree that it’s largely posts and photos of only the positive aspects of people’s lives. For example, I might post a photo of my daughter having a blast at Hersheypark (an amusement park in the town that chocolate built, if you’re not familiar). But what you didn’t see was her having a meltdown in the water park because she’d rather ride the other rides or me wanting to tear my hair out because I can’t believe she’s not having fun surrounded by millions of square feet of pure pleasure!
Here’s another (pretty personal) example: my husband has an album (on Facebook) of many of our successful dinners. He is a super good cook, but truth be told, I made a lot of those dishes! I’m ashamed to say I was getting upset because he was getting the credit and compliments! I didn’t make them so other people would think I’m great, I made them because I love my family (and I love food).
I am 100% guilty of posting cute photos or bragging about what a great eater my daughter is, but instead I should have taken that 45 seconds to praise and thank God for blessing me with her! God doesn’t want us seeking affirmation from others; He should be the one we’re trying to impress! Proverbs 23:17 says, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” Which leads me to my next point…
Facebook is slowly, secretly draining my self-esteem. In his post that I referred to earlier, David Rainoshek says,
“Basically, Facebook is to your self-worth what drinking a Big Gulp of Coca-Cola is to your blood sugar levels, both short- and long-term, as you will see. Have you experienced this? Facebook brings you up temporarily (wow, isn’t that, and that, and that, and that, and ooooh that… interesting, shocking, stupid, funny, sad, challenging, whatever), and then drops you like a stone almost every time you log out. And the longer you are on, the more self-absorbed and worthless you often feel.”
At first, I didn’t think this really applied to me. I’m pretty happy with my place in life: I love being a wife and mom and God has blessed us with much. However, as I let it sink in, I realized how Facebook was making me feel so left out.
Being a stay-at-home mom can be pretty isolating if you don’t make an effort to engage with others. I feel like I do a pretty good job at being involved, but Facebook is constantly reminding me of things I wasn’t invited to do. I know, I know, everyone can’t be invited to everything. I get that. But if I wasn’t on Facebook, I wouldn’t know what I’m missing, would I?
This all has me thinking: who really cares?
Does anyone really care that I made gourmet mushroom risotto for dinner? Probably not. Do I really care that you’re on the vacation of a lifetime? Not really. I’m happy for you, but it really doesn’t impact my life in any way. And if I’m actually friends with you, you’ll tell me all about it the next time we talk – in person.
It is not my intention to bash Facebook; I know it is a positive part of many people’s lives and I’m still wondering if I actually have the guts to close my account. However, that article (and the supporting research) was a major wake-up call for me.
Time to refocus my energies on things that really matter.