How a Partial Social Media Detox Saved My Heart
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.