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  • Writer's pictureGuylaine Richer de Lafleche

Why I Disconnected from Social Media, in Order to Feel More Connected to Myself


Like everything in life, social media has two sides of the same coin, and lately, I’ve been feeling torn between the two. Jumping on and browsing through a platform has become so habitual that most of us don’t recognize why we’re doing it in the first place. It's become a tool to escape from reality and a way to mindlessly pass time. Our everyday lives are being shaped by social media, and regardless of which side of the coin we fall on, we are forced to adapt.

In March of last year, when the world stopped, and we were all forced into quarantine, I found myself turning to social media more than I normally would. During this time, I began to see social media in an entirely different light and I didn’t particularly like what I was seeing. I felt, more than ever, that I needed to take a step back.


My overall goal was to simply experience adulthood without social media because up until that point, I never had. I wanted to observe the ways my ego and my persona were influenced by social media, and what I’d learn about myself once that influence was gone. Most of all, I felt a deep desire to simplify my life and getting rid of social media seemed like the obvious answer.


By the time June rolled around, I had decided to temporarily deactivate my personal accounts. It wasn’t a lack of willpower that had prompted me to do this, rather, I liked the idea of my presence being removed from social platforms altogether. I left my dreamwork account open strictly for business and as a place to share my dreamwork with my followers, though I engaged only occasionally.

It’s been just over a year since I first made the move, and I thought I’d share my experience.



In the first month, I realized how much time I was wasting while browsing content. Even if I wasn't on a platform for long, it was taking me twice as long to fully step away and regain my focus elsewhere. Not only that, but I learned how much mental energy I was wasting by consuming content several times a day. My mind began to feel depleted.


My biggest fear on this journey was F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out), and more importantly, I worried that leaving social media would isolate me more. I wondered if it was possible to stay connected with my family, friends, and other dreamers around the world if I removed myself from these apps. I would no longer be up-to-date with others lives, and I had to take the time to reflect on how this would impact me in my daily life. In light of this, I asked my family and friends to share photos with me via text message, and what I ended up getting was “insta-snapshots” — the type of pictures Instagram was initially made for. I was also thankful for the friends who reached out to me outside of social media for conversation. Not being on social media allowed the door to open for different kinds of connections to take place. Plus, I realized, social media will always be there to scroll through later!


A well-known and major problem with social media is how we tend to lose sight of reality. For decades we’ve been talking about how the media, such as magazines and advertisements, place unrealistic expectations upon us, and for decades, we’ve been asking for change. These days, social media is far worse than what we see in magazines, yet we all buy into on the daily. I believe we can all relate to some degree, how social media makes us feel like we aren’t good enough or that our lives will never compare to others. The worst part is, it’s not just models in advertisements we’re comparing ourselves to now — we have to live up to our own photoshopped, filtered, and “face-tuned” standards. Having social media in our daily life enables those feelings the potential to rise every single day. It’s a vicious cycle and we’re losing our authority to pick and choose the moments we sign on.

As someone who didn’t post all that much to begin with, I was surprised to observe how many times a day my mind would associate an experience with the action of sharing. I hadn’t noticed or questioned this before because sharing your daily life on social media is the norm. What really surprised me though, was when I began to discover the ways my creativity suffered from the sheer thought of producing just to share, as opposed to allowing my creativity the room to exist on its own. This is something I hadn’t fully understood until I started this experiment and observed the consequences first hand.


Now, I no longer go on social media to pass the time or to cure my wandering mind — I use it when I’m in the mood and when I know it will lift me up rather than bring me down. It’s no longer a habit of mine to open and scroll, and it’s no longer a part of my daily life. When I do go on social media, I only scroll through my immediate feed. Since I’ve been away from it, I’ve discovered that I can only handle a few minutes of being on there before my brain feels overloaded with information and I want to get off. I do my best to listen to these feelings and close the app immediately.



Saying all of that, it’s been just as much of a challenge to introduce social media back into my life as it was to get rid of it, and things feel slightly more confusing now, than they did before. Most days I don’t want to open the app at all - in fact, I feel a little anxious to do so. I know how social media affects my mental state, and I know how much of a time thief it can be too. On one hand, I love the idea of being able to share my art and creative projects, and keeping in touch with my friends and family around the world, but on the other hand, I have no desire to be on social media at all.


So, I guess what it comes down to is, do I regret it? I wish the answer were simple…


If I could go back in time, I don’t think I’d change a thing. I have to remind myself how I was feeling when I first made the move. It was necessary at the time and had I not honoured that, I believe I’d be in a worse place today. I’ve learnt that like most things in life, the key is balance. I’m being patient with myself as I build a new relationship with social media and determine the role I want it to play in my life. I’m very grateful to have given myself this opportunity and to see firsthand how social media can have a positive and negative effect on my daily life. More importantly, I’m grateful that I no longer feel like I need social media.

For anyone thinking of giving this a try — you can do it, ask your dreams for help! You might even be surprised what you discover about yourself.


 

Did you hear? I've decided to merge Awaken Your Psyche’s Instagram account with my personal account @guylainericherdelafleche in order to maintain my online presence. Over there you’ll find my day-to-day musings on sleep and dreams, along with my other creative and intuitive practices that play an important role in who I am as a dreamer, such as my passion for animals, nature, lighting, and photography.


If you’d like to continue to follow your dreams with me, please follow me on Instagram: @guylainericherdelafleche and #awakenyourpsyche, or subscribe to my mailing list below! By joining my mailing list, you'll be the first to know when new content is available on my website, and stay informed on the services I offer as a Dreamwork Professional!


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