Social Media and Loneliness

I just wanted to take a moment and encourage you!  That’s right YOU!  I’m not sure where you are in your life today, if you are a stay at home mom who feels like you don’t have much of a purpose, or if you are a mompernure who wants so desperately to make a little mark in your world, or if you are working a job that you don’t love or even one that you love, but finding it draining, whomever you are today please be encouraged!  Know that you are NOT alone!  I think that one of the main things that women today face is loneliness and we are so afraid to talk about it and to admit it, it’s like we have failed if we are lonely. I want to share with you that you haven’t failed and that I believe that its something that most women struggle with, but are just afraid to share about it.  Well here I am, saying it’s okay!!! You are NOT alone in your loneliness!!!  I promise if we gathered a group of your top 10 closest to you and we asked them ‘do you feel alone?” more than 50% would say yes!!  So why, in our world of friends and neighbors, do we feel so alone?

I believe one of the main culprits that contributes to our loneliness is Social Media!  We have this false pretense that social media makes us closer to each other but in fact I think it does the opposite. We see awesome vacations, beautiful homes with no messes, gorgeous meals prepped and adorable kiddos in beautiful coordinating outfits.  That is NOT real life.  But we never see that!  It has put up walls and keeps us from really connecting with each other!  We feel that if we say hi on facebook to someone, then that means that we don’t have to pick up the phone and call someone to see how they are.  Or if we even view a picture of a family who was out of town that week, we think we have connected but we don’t take the time to reach out and find out how that event went that brought about that picture.  Think about it, do you receive less christmas cards, birthday phone calls etc?  YES! it’s because so many think that social media has taken that place.  People put a “Merry Christmas” picture in their profile and think I’ve wished everyone a Merry Christmas right?,   I think it has contributed to women actually feeling more alienated and alone.  Social Media also gives us everyone’s highlight reels rather than real life and we end up comparing ourselves to our “friends’ and that just brings about more loneliness.  We see people’s “perfect” homes and we think “there’s no way I can have them in my home” or we see another boast about “how awesome their kids are doing in school” all along you may have a child who is really struggling and you think under your breath “why isnt’ that the way my child is”  That just isnt fair…to you or to your child!  We never see someone post “I’m so proud of my child who got a B-”  But that B minus may have meant many long nights and sweat and tears and all that child could give to get that class…but we are afraid to celebrate that!  How sad!  We see our friends who post about date nights and husbands that shower them with flowers for no reason, when in your marriage you may be going through a rough spot, a hard time, and seeing that just confirms all the negative feelings you have….that is NOT healthy!

Social Media keeps us always in the comparison battle.  It robs us from contentment.  We are called to contentment, and if you are struggling in this area, I hear you!  I often find myself on Instagram thinking “why do I even try?”  do you ever feel that way?  You see all the beauty around you, and you immediately think “why?” why doesn’t my life look like that.  Anything from our spouses to our kids…our natural inclination is to compare and when we do that it takes away our contentment of where we are…where God has us and then we regret and that leads to depression and loneliness.  I encourage you to fight the urge to compare!  I know that struggle is so very real, I walk it daily, but I have found that when I limit my time on social media, it helps tremendously.  I’m able to appreciate those things around me and all that God has blessed me with.

So from personal experience, this January I found myself very alone…the craziness of my busy season came to a halt, my holiday season was spent fighting sickness and working rather than enjoying friends and family and was I was in a place of re-evaluating the people that I did pour into and surround myself with and I found that I had deep feelings of loneliness.  I was really struggling and all of the above was my real life!  I wondered and questioned why was I feeling that way.  I have people all the time say “you know everyone”  but I realized that that doesn’t mean squat…I began to journal and make a plan to dig my way out of it.  Here are just a few things that have helped me as I work through it!

  • You do not have to follow or be “friends’ with everyone!  I really encourage you to only follow those who truly bring you joy.  If there are others who you find yourself comparing and every time you see their feed, you think “why can’t I be that way” then unfollow!  This was so freeing to me.  That even people that I adored and loved…loved their homes, loved their work, I had to unfollow as I found myself comparing and questioning.  Once I did that (unfollowed) it made all the difference.
  • Make sure you are present in the real life moments.  I mean, rather than trying to capture something so the masses can see, make sure you can experience it first.  Don’t be so worried about getting the perfect “moment for social media” that you miss the experience of the moment for yourself.
  • Take breaks.  This is hard when we are so use to having our phone as an appendage, but we need a break from it.  This my friends is the thing I struggle with the most.   BUT it’s the thing that we need. You need.  Take some time to hang out with someone, your friends, your family but put the phone away!  Be present with those in your presence!
  • Be intentional.  So I made a commitment to myself that I would participate in a group that I didn’t lead (often when we lead, we put up boundaries and we don’t allow ourselves to be “real”) and each week I make sure I meet with two friends and connect with them.  It has been wonderful and my heart is full!  But that takes work friends! and being willing for those to see you in your yoga pants and with a messy car (my life)

Again, I want to encourage you, to share with you that you are not alone in this!  That it does take being intentional, and I promise you that if you limit some of your social media time it will help tremendously!  And I’m throwing this out there…if you are struggling and you live close to me, let’s get coffee!

Switching gears….I have been waiting to share this adorable little guy’s newborn pictures.   We did a studio session and a lifestyle session (I’ll share tomorrow)…the best of both worlds!  Little Levi is so loved and adored and completes this little family perfectly!

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