While being on my partial social media detox, I have had the opportunity to reflect upon the things that I do. I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone, but for me at least, I love being able to reflect instead of just doing things without realizing the time that goes by and being in a rush. I don't want to just do. I want to understand what I do, value each of them, and learn throughout it all. I don't want to just do - I want to feel them.
I remember a while ago when I was on the verge of leaving a corporate job, I was all hyped up about being this busy business lady. While I am still very much learning now and always will be, and will never ever actually be 'right', I am just thinking - who was that girl?
Why did I actually want to be...busy?
I'm not saying we should strive to sleep all day and be unproductive. I'm ALL for productivity, which is why I've slowly learned that there isn't much value to being 'busy'. See, while I was on that 'let's-get-busy' phase, I was practically trying to do everything, saying 'yes' to every opportunity, running around and then running myself thin. I thought I could do it all, and even worse - I believed I MUST do it all in order to become successful. While it made my ventures appear fancy with all the projects up our sleeves, I pretty much also never took a deep breath in between jobs, doing things in a haste, and along the way, not knowing what I was focusing on. I was trying to do too much.
I have to thank Allah SWT for He opened up my eyes and allowed me to understand 'success' from a different perspective. It all began in Ramadan alhamdulillah, which just makes me fall in love more and more again with that beautiful month. It was in that month that I slowed down and reminded myself to concentrate on my relationship with Allah SWT. And in that period, I read many articles and books about being productive Muslims. I found a peace I just can't quite comprehend, but it made me realize that all our goals are eventually to be closer to Allah SWT, to be better servants to Allah SWT, and to strive for Jannah. Those goals might seem common sense or basic knowledge, but when felt truly from the heart - everything just falls into place. 'Success' means being a good servant to Allah SWT, and whatever I do that works toward that final goal will be a form of success.
So it definitely doesn't have to be trying to be a busy business lady who does too much with little time to reflect or think about Allah SWT.
I guess it works different ways for different people in the way we find best to be successful in most aspects of our lives while putting Allah at the centre.
For the time being, I have found an 'arrangement' I love and value, alhamdulillah. I have limited my jobs to only certain specific days taking note of what I can manage, while the remaining days are used for reading, learning, reflecting, being present with my family, and inshaaAllah, trying to be a better servant to Allah SWT. And these are among my main reasons of taking a partial social media detox. The time away from social media has allowed me to be more present with my family, while finding peace in doing things that I love and can benefit from, like reading. All that, and not having this need to update what I do for the world to see.
And I have never been happier and more at ease with my journey.
But then again, these might be just my phase. Who knows what I'll learn next. And I don't mind, really, as long as I don't stop learning.
I have been thinking a lot about my usage of social media. Something I should really be grateful about by the way - to have the time to reflect and think. So in the recent Ramadan, I did a partial social media detox and deactivated my personal Instagram account. And here comes the funny bit - while I wanted to completely unplug myself, I was also at the same time managing social media accounts of a few brands. Social media was part of my job that provides me income.
But I believed it was doable, that detox. I did a partial one. I deleted the Facebook app on my phone, but only kept the Facebook Page app where I was managing the brands. I couldn't delete the Instagram app as there wasn't any separate 'Instagram for Business' app, so I left it there and deactivated my personal account instead. All in all, I limited my time on social media while still completing my job. My job was still that - a job, an amanah to fulfil.
So I posted what I had to post on the business pages, and left. And here's how the partial detox has made me feel and how I hope to keep up with it even after Ramadan now (though I have failed numerous times): AMAZING.
The exercise got me thinking about my purpose on social media. What do I hope out of it? How am I benefiting from it or how am I benefiting others through it? Why am I posting the things I'm posting? Do I want to please others? Because if that is so, I should leave social media immediately and train my heart back to its actual purpose - to please Allah swt and only Allah swt.
And I realized that as much as I may try to always remind myself not to fall into the trap of wanting to impress others or get social acceptance through social media, it does and slowly can pull me into that trap. I know this may not apply to everyone, there are many people who have used social media for the greater good and I'm so impressed by them, I wish I could do that. But I know I'm quite weak and may fall trap into the way social media feeds our ego. It gives you 'likes', and you get to check the app again to find even more 'likes'. And even without the 'likes', the idea of me regularly posting about myself somehow in a way gives me the idea that I'm 'important'. Like I'm giving myself a false sense of self-importance where I'll think people are interested in what I'm doing. When the fact is, I'm not. I'm not important. I'm not great. Allah swt is.
And all these scared me because I realized how slowly I may be going farther from Allah and fall into the trap of minor shirk of wanting the acceptance of human beings instead of Allah swt, nauzubillahiminzalik.
I need to realign back my priorities, and of course, learn. There is so much to learn. And that is something else I realized from my Ramadan social media detox as well. Limiting my time on social media and not scrolling mindlessly have saved me so much time. It makes me sad over the way I've been wasting it all these while. Our time is so limited, so precious. We are here to learn. And by not putting so much of my time on social media, I do hope to make full use of it to be a student for life.
And to also love (much more). A friend of mine mentioned how removing social media has made her a better sister and a better friend. Instead of just checking updates on the sites, she would message, or call or even meet them to actually catch up. And that's something I hope to achieve too. To have quality time with my loved ones. To be a better daughter, mother, wife, sister and friend.
Another exercise I did when I limited my time on social media recently was, buying newspapers. It was something simple, really. But I have not bought newspapers for aeons, being dependant on social media for whatever that was going viral, that now this simple exercise actually felt so good! I got to have a quick chat with the uncle selling the newspapers and then there was that satisfaction of flipping these pages and actually read them instead of scrolling down a screen so quickly.
I really hope to continue all these now. I remember one of my fears about being away from social media was that I wouldn't be able to promote my businesses, and everyone is on social media these days so that's where I should be promoting, right? But then, promoting a business doesn't mean to be on social media 24/7. And a dear e-mail pen pal, the inspiring Aida of The Shawl Label said this:
"I think at the end of the day we must understand that rezki comes from Allah, and not from being on Social Media"
And I have never been more sure about my decision now.
I will continue blogging, in hope to learn and improve my writing inshaaAllah. And I hope this will be a great avenue for me to reflect about the things that matter, and to express myself, without worrying about receiving 'likes' that may feed my ego.
May we all get closer to Allah swt, always. Ameen.
I felt a tinge of melancholy as I watched my aging grandfather finding comfort in simple routines like walking out to a favourite spot by the garden and in again to a nearby seat. Maybe I was mourning for his younger years. And then I watched my toddler's hand reaching out to his, and their eyes speaking out to each other. And I realized that a child and an elderly have something very much in common. They celebrate the simple joys and the in-betweens, in their own quirky ways. We naturally celebrate new lives - a newborn child, a new job, a new school, new beginnings. Let's not forget to celebrate the aging ones too, the ones who have been there for us. I hope everyone is celebrating Eid beautifully by the way. Taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum, may Allah swt accept all our deeds. I would also like to seek forgiveness for all the ways I may have wronged you. Mohon maaf zahir dan batin. May we also be able to forgive ourselves and our past mistakes.