Reflection, Simple Living, Thoughts On...

My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

pics taken of the insanely red sun we saw one night from all the local forest fires happening

Over the last week, I finally hopped on the Instagram train (@torriemeidell), used Facebook to discover that no fewer than ten (and I might have even missed a couple) of my various acquaintances welcomed new babies, jumped on Pinterest to make a particularly scrumptious banana chocolate muffin recipe, and scrolled Bloglovin’ for literally hours, reading blog posts about everything from how to work around all the clutter and still get great photos to a post about why this particular blogger refuses to buy a fitbit that has stuck with me ever since.

In other words, other than the final surrender to joining Instagram, it was a pretty typical week when it came to my usage of social media.

And there is so much to appreciate in all that—

Those muffins? Delicious!
Those babies? Adorable!
Those blog posts? Perspective-changing!

I love social media for so many things, like the way that it’s like having the most generous community of all time always at my fingertips, ready to share everything from the secret to those killer cinnamon rolls to the simple trick to make my photo pop a bit more in Lightroom to the fact that the crazy mom feelings (and I mean ALL the crazy mom feelings) aren’t so crazy after all.

And now that I’ve finally relented and hopped on the Instagram bandwagon (mostly just because I finally figured out how to post pictures to it from a computer instead of needing to own a smart device, which I don’t), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many images of beauty and inspiration and moments of joy that I’ve found on there.

So NO, this is not a post detailing all the ills of social media.

What this IS a post about is that I had a bit of a smack-in-the-face moment over the weekend that made me realize that I DO need to learn how to balance out my social media use a bit.

On Saturday, I was sitting in the temple (for all you non-LDS readers out there, just imagine the most exquisitely designed haven of peace you’ve ever been in, where everything is bright and spotlessly clean and where people whisper or don’t talk at all and where you can just sit, in perfect meditative silence, for as long as you need). It’s the place where a lot of my most inspired thinking happens, and though I hadn’t gone there on Saturday for that specific purpose, I was graced with it all the same.

As I sat there, I could literally feel my body relaxing—my shoulders ceased to hunch up (as they so often do naturally), my legs stopped fidgeting, and my mind, my ever-churning mind, was finally still, too.

I could see where the pieces of my life fit together in the overall fabric of that incomprehensible forever–Eternity–and I could see the day-to-day parts, from the laundry to the meal times to the walks to the hobbies, in a greater context, in a string of habits that will eventually mold a lifetime, a character.

Much of it was good. (Although highly sensitive to guilt, I try hard not to pile it on; to give myself a nurturing nudge when I need to improve rather than an inner argument, if I can avoid it.)

I saw that my daily life holds much that I can be proud of.

But, as such soul-searching will almost always reveal if you’re ready, I saw weaknesses and areas of improvement, inner foundations that had gotten a little weaker from unexpected storms and some flowerbeds of personal growth that could use a little tending.

And I saw that my soul needed to break the often thoughtless habit of instantly seeking out social media to fill all the “leftover” moments. My sense of self needed to worry a little less about how many followers or likes or comments I was getting and worry a little more about seeking opportunities to go out of my way to be kind, to meet new people, to serve. I saw that those string of “filler” moments could be channeled to much greater uses than doing one more double tap to “love” or scrolling through the never-ending political back-and-forth at the dregs of the Facebook feed.

To be clear, this isn’t some grand declaration that I’m taking myself away from social media entirely or deactivating accounts or even setting some kind of time limit for myself. This isn’t me standing up on a soapbox to detail the scary statistics of social media usage or urge us all to avoid the virtual world at all costs.

This is just to say that I recognize that social media–with all of its goodness–has the potential to distract rather than to uplift, to make me doubt rather than helping me to hope.

So I’m going to be looking for more time offline, more time absorbed in projects and reading, more focus devoted to a little toddler named Raven who thinks she’s hilarious (because she is).

And I think it will prove to be a nice “break” of sorts.

P. S. I will, of course, still be reading your blog comments and loving your new milestones and “interacting” with you through this virtual world we all share, probably still on a daily basis. The goal here is more to shift toward “on a daily basis” and away from “on an hourly basis.” Just to clarify! (Because I love reading your comments…it’s one of the reasons why I blog instead of journal, really.) And a big thank you to so many of you who fill my social media feeds with the good and the positive and the faith-building and the uplifting–you are the reason I still find so much good in it!

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