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On a healthy relationship with the internet & my response to Essena O’Neill.

I’ve felt the need to speak on this since the videos came out. But, I wanted to sit with it for a while. I didn’t feel like my thoughts were complete just yet and I’ve been trying to practice fully developing my opinions before rashly speaking them. Sometimes I’m successful and occasionally I’m not…

Ok, usually I’m not.

I spend a lot of time on social media. It’s quite sincerely the main contributor to every source of income that I have in my life. On occasion that feels overbearing for me. However, for the most part, it’s actually something that I am grateful for. I mean, for the most part, I’m INCREDIBLY grateful for it. Social media has allowed me to do all of the things I love and market myself with fervor and with sincerity. In this post I wanted to touch base on how I’ve used social media as an act of being more present in my life and how I think a relationship with the internet doesn’t have to be an unhealthy one.

1. Eliminating the distraction. 

I value being present with people and tasks. I certainly slip on that from time to time but, ultimately I do put an emphasis in my life on being with who or what is in front of me. I’ve figured out certain things that have made it a lot easier for me and of course I’m sharing them with you below:

//   Taking the photo now and posting it later: I have found this to be the greatest addition to my balance in this area. If I am with someone or having an experience that I don’t want to interrupt, I will take the photograph quickly and then my phone goes right back in my bag until I’m alone or less occupied.
//   Use keepmeout.com: When I’m in the state of mind that keeps me distracted I love using keepmeout.com. You just bookmark the website that is particularly keeping you from your tasks through that website and it locks you out for any amount of time that you tell it to. I like to lock myself out for 1.5 hours at a time.
//   Leave your phone: It is a rare event that happens on the internet that constitutes as an actual emergency. Put your phone in your bag and leave it there for goodness sake. The internet and you phone calls and your texts will all be there when you return and everything is going to be just fine. I’m also a huge fan of turning my phone on “do not disturb” mode when I get the chance.

2. Use it as a tool for being more present and aware. 

I have found that taking at least one photo a day of my life has become a beautiful way for me to pay attention to the small moments. If a coffee was particularly good, if my partner is particularly handsome or kind that day, if I’m feeling something deeply. I’m for one so pleased that I have a way to document those tiny moments of happiness and deep feeling. I’ve ignored a lot less of my existence with this as a tool.

3. A way for us all to talk about the things we don’t talk about. 

I’m so happy that there are entire communities of people online talking about everything. There are communities in support of body positivity, rights for all people, parenting, not parenting, entrepreneurs, and more. Never before in history have we had more access to people that feel what we feel and can tell you that you’re absolutely not alone. I choose to follow the people that post things that share positivity and inspiring messages. Just like the friends we choose in real life, I choose to surround myself with people that I wouldn’t mind being a little more like. If you are following people that bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself, just stop?

4. Social media can serve as a reflection for your self-work.

I don’t see social media as inherently the deliverer of low self-esteems. I think it puts us face to face with the self-esteem that we already possess. If I find myself looking at photos of beautiful women and feeling ugly or the work of incredibly artists and feeling uninspired (which I have certainly done on occasion) then that’s simply a symptom of my lack of self-care at the moment. I have been playing the game of self-esteem my entire life. I’ve figured out that when I’m feeling down on myself that typically means something else in my life is going on. Am I spending enough time with positive people? Am I spending enough time with myself? Am I taking care of my basic needs? Getting enough sleep? Eating the right food? Moving my body enough? Have I been having fun?

Striving for perfection and being unkind to yourself in the process is a human condition, just like any other, we must choose the path to our healthiest and happiest selves. I think social media serves as a mirror for what we’re worried about. Why not use that as an opportunity to ask ourselves what it is that we need? (which for some, that may be to stay off of social media and for some it may not.)

5. Take away its power. 

Social media is just the internet guys. It’s an amazing tool that we can use to help us catapult projects and connect to people. But, it is not life.

It’s supposed to be fun. Just keep it simple.

with love,

Sarajane.

Oby Frank Arnold - November 23, 2015 - 12:41 pm

You are so spot on as always, my love. Loving YOU is fun and simple!

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