I’ve thought about how to start this post FOR MONTHS.
Do I just say it bluntly? Do I ease into it by sharing a story? How do I properly and sufficiently say something that feels so big to say?
I think that’s where I’ll start : the fact that saying goodbye to a phone app feels bigger and more important than it really should. That alone raised the question for me : why? And, how? How has social media become this thing? Asking myself questions like this is what ultimately lead me to this decision.
There are a lot of things I’m not good at (i.e talking about my feelings – I’m an internal processor – math, handstands, and parallel parking – who is??) But one thing I am good at is following my instincts. And, maybe more importantly, taking quick and decisive action on it.
This skill has strengthened over time and it’s served me really well in many roles professionally and personally. I has helped me take big leaps, say yes to some things and no to others, and keep adjusting the sails of my life to keep it going in the direction I want it to go. When I hear my instincts from my heart, I have learned that it serves me well to listen.
So one day, when I felt a thud in my heart that said “Let social media go” – I paid attention. And then it came again, and again, and again. “Let it go.” I started to question it and ask why I was feeling this. So towards the end of last year, I started questioning the role of social media in my life, comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of it. I’ve even taken breaks before so I thought about those times, too. Then it pretty much dawned on me as the following words were impressed upon me in a real, gut-punching kind of way :
We were not made for this.
I have tears in my eyes just now typing that.
I don’t think we were really made to be connected to our phones like this. I don’t think we were made to get updates about the people in our lives through an app. I don’t think we were made to receive hundreds and hundreds of DMs a day – and be expected to respond back. I don’t think we were made to “like” and comment silently behind a screen. I don’t think we were made to scroll other people’s lives sitting in our cars and while waiting in line. I don’t think we were made to capture our lives in captions (even though I love a clever caption.) I don’t think we were made to get so much information coming at us at an incredible volume.
And by “we” I mean our brains, our hearts, our biology, our souls.
Instagram and social media were made by man. Has everything man has made been a good fit for everyone?
So at this point, you might be asking “Okkkk, Mika. Did the haters get to you? Is that really why you’re doing this??” LOL. My answer is no. I can count on just one hand how many times I’ve had negative interactions on social media, which I think is more rare than common. So no. The “haters” didn’t get to me. And I don’t even like calling them that. I think people can say things they regret (haven’t we all?) or say thing from a place of pain, misdirected anger, and misunderstanding. So I think we need to have compassion and not “hate” them back.
The community I’ve been able to tap into on social media has been made up of truly awesome, good-hearted people. That includes YOU reading this! I’m so grateful for the conversations I’ve had, the people that have allowed me to help, and the people that have had an impact on me.
You might also be asking “Ok then. Did the pandemic get to you? Did something bad happen? Are you in a crisis??” The answer again is no.
Actually, something GREAT happened. I got to spend the last two months of quarantine essentially testing out what living a quieter, less hectic, more inwardly-focused life at home felt like. And I loved it. As hard as homeschooling has been, and as scary as the developments have been, I have felt refreshed in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I have had space to get to know my children better. It made me want to find out a way to have more of this “doing less” way of living in my life.
I went back to to that pros and cons list I mentioned and actually sat down, talked it about it with my husband, Russ, prayed about it, and examined that list again and again. The more I did, the more I realized that social media was not aligning with what was important to me nor what I was working for in my life.
Here’s why I am making this move :
I want to reclaim my worth not with what I do, but with who I am
This one is a tough one for me.
I am an Enneagram Type 3, Wing 2. For those not familiar with the Enneagram personality types, a Type 3’s main motivator in life is ACHIEVEMENT and a Type 2’s main motivator is HELPING. Achieving goals and helping others is what fills me up! It is how I operate and what keeps me going.
Social media has allowed me to do both : achieve professional goals and help others in need – whether that’s in organizing a home, in sobriety, in the challenges of motherhood, or in marriage troubles. I am deeply grateful for what I have been allowed and able to do.
I’m sure you can sense it in my stories, but I genuinely enjoy sharing, helping, connecting with you. In some ways, it has brought out the best in me.
But as a Type 3 Wing 2, my challenge is that I can easily attach my self worth to what I can achieve and accomplish and who I can help. And social media makes it really easy for an achieving-helper to go into overdrive. It’s endless opportunities of things I can do, share, say, discuss. It’s also an endless source of people I can serve in some way. It never turns off, the possibilities are infinite, and it just keeps going – and so does my mind and energy.
Just because we can do it – does it mean we should?
And that is just not a healthy place to put myself into. It makes it too easy for me to place my worth in the wrong places.
One startling revelation I had was recently reading Rebekah Lyon’s words that some of us don’t feel worthy enough to hold onto something good in our lives – whether that’s a tangible thing or simply information – so it compels us to share it and give it away. This struck a HUGE chord with me. Is this why I share so much on social? Because I don’t feel worthy enough to keep, savor, and enjoy something to myself, privately?
I want to actively remember that my worth began when I was born and God sent me to earth to BE ME. Just like my 3 children are the most precious beings to me by simply existing, I can simply sit here and do absolutely nothing and still be WORTHY. It’s almost an uncomfortable thought for someone who is a “do-er” like me, but I know it to be true.
And it’s true for you, too (speaking especially to my Enneagram 3 friends 😉 )
I want to live a more quiet life, in a world that makes it hard to do
This one is more simple. It’s a noisy world out there and I just want more quiet in my life. To sit with my kids, to read a book, to enjoy a meal, to go somewhere new and absorb it in a simple way. Quarantine gave me a little taste of being less busy, and it was actually magical. We went on walks. We spent more time in the backyard. It just felt immensely quieter. Those have been the happiest moments for me and I want to make as much room for more of that as I can.
I did wonder how I would stay up to date on trends, know what’s going on, or get information on products, services, etc. without Instagram. I realized that it would mean I would have to go browse stores, read print articles, and ask people questions in person.
And is that such a bad thing? 🙂
I want to nurture my real life relationships more
You know the movie Wall-E where humanity lives sitting in floating chairs that have screens in their faces, and then when those turn off they look around like wait, where am I? And then they start noticing the world around them and start walking around and even hold hands?
I feel in some ways that’s how we have become. I DM with my neighbors instead of seeing them in real life. I don’t necessarily have to meet up with friends to catch up because, well, I’ve seen their stories this week – so aren’t I basically caught up with what’s going on in their lives?? I have let busyness become an excuse to decline invitations, opting to comment instead on their most recent posts and feeling like at least I did something to connect.
I’m not pointing fingers at anyone else but myself here.
While Instagram does allow us to be connected, I don’t think it’s in any way even close to replicating real life relationships. I want to place more time into my in-person friendships and connections. And someone has to go first!
I want to find new ways to be creative
Fact : I never wanted to be an ‘influencer.” I used Instagram as a creative outlet with photography and captions, and then it started to grow, and it just morphed into where I am now.
It was like, well, I’m getting questions about these things, people are finding this to be valuable, I’m enjoying it, I have a blog already (which I originally started for my organizing business,) this can be a business, so why not lean into this? I went down a path because I could – and then ended up in a place I didn’t really set out to be. I’m pretty sure there are other content creators and influencers that share this same experience.
I have always been a creative person. My most prized possessions growing up were my markers and colored pencils. Art class was always my favorite. I took a dark light photography in high school with my grandma (who is an artist) and loved it. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer. Even professional organizing tapped into my creativity.
Instagram has been my medium for creativity, but I want to go back to working on something more tangible and less tangled up in other things.
I want to lead by example for my girls
This one might be the one that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I have girls, and I specifically have a teenage daughter. Without going into detail, over the last year or so I have observed what social media does to someone’s energy and mental health – and I flat out don’t like it.
I have even felt the effects of it myself. And I’m a grown woman. Imagine what it’s doing to a developing brain.
Also, I kept thinking about what my kids would remember of me as their mom when they looked back. Note : This is not a criticism if you are an influencer, if you love Instagram and are rocking it, if you have a business that has exploded because of Instagram and you provide for your family, if you are a mother fully thriving on social media – please know this does not apply to you. I sincerely applaud you! But for ME – I just couldn’t shake the idea that my kids could have a mental image of me with my phone all the time as their lasting memory.
And, am I going to keep doing this into my 40’s? My 50’s?
I have learned in parenting that kids watch your actions more so than they listen to your words. I have chosen to model for them what I hope they will do for their own lives : to make choices that are a good fit for them in mind, body, and spirit – and to make bold choices that may go against the grain of their peers.
I want to lead by example for you, if you want to do the same
This decision to quit social media has actually reminded me of my decision almost 3 years ago now to stop drinking alcohol.
Back then, I got real honest with myself – with my weaknesses, with my unhealthy mindset, with what I was trying to ignore, numb out, or cover up. I listed out the pros and cons and saw that alcohol was leading me down to a path that did not align whatsoever with a) my beliefs, b) what actually mattered to me, and c) what I wanted my life to look like.
You may have wondered why I don’t just place some boundaries around social media instead of going off of it completely, like just go on at night or certain hours of weekdays. The reason why is that I know myself well enough to know that I am an “all-in” kind of person. When I do something, I go at it 110%. Moderation does not work for me – I’m either in or out. I have a better success rate when I just make a clean break.
Much like I wanted to use my sobriety as an example for living differently than what’s been normalized, I want to do the same for social media. I wanted to say hey, I did it – and it’s not bad. In fact, life is really great this way! It’s easier to make a change when you know you’re not the only one considering it.
So if you’re struggling with some of the same things as me above – let me hop in that boat with you, be the first to tell you that everything is going to be just fine, and let’s try going somewhere new together.
Was I nervous and worried about this move? Of course.
I wondered if I was a failure, if I was giving up something good that could be great, and if I was a lame ‘ol quitter.
My husband, as any good partner would do, reminded me of a different perspective.
He said no. It’s the opposite. You are being courageous, you are being truthful, and you are acting with integrity.
That last word – integrity. It is my core word and the heart of this decision.
He also shared with me a phrase that his mentor uses all the time that sounded a lot my instincts :
“Let go to grow.”
So here I am, doing exactly that.
My blog will still be here, and I’m not making any big promises right now but I plan to keep writing posts. You can still see what I am up to and hear from me there. I know. A blogger who is not on Instagram?? What’s the point? How archaic, right? But I don’t care anymore. I enjoy it and I’d like to see it continue in some way. I might even be better at blogging without the distraction of Instagram!
My online courses will still be available, and who knows – I may add more! If you’re a course student, the course is still yours to keep and have access to forever. And if you’re in my membership group, I’ll be sharing a video with you soon.
Our podcast? Well, you’ll have to listen in to the episode next Monday 🙂
I’m going to let this settle for today, connect with you a little longer, and then tomorrow I will say a proper goodbye on Instagram.
So, thank you. Thank you for reading this, thank you for supporting me, and thank you for just being you. I care about you, I love you, and I hope our paths will somehow cross and I can give you a big, real life hug.