I’ve gotten into the habit of not sitting still. I have a meditation practice that I sometimes neglect, and when I do I’m off in all ways. When I’m careless with it, my body is less peaceful and I’m easily triggered. My Inability to sit still has to do with a steady discontentment that’s been developing. I’m discontent with the real and dramatic events around the globe and the overarching theme of our culture that blames and cancels people as a way to deal with feeling emotionally challenged.
I think this comes from the inability most of us have to sit still, provoked and constantly informed by businesses (social media) that are designed to have us respond like squirrels, flipping from one thing to the next, teaching us to disconnect and judge. We lack the ability to explore truth and slow down our fidgety thought patterns.
This has led to a paralyzing loneliness that so many of us — including myself — are feeling.
My life is amazing and full of love, so it’s not loneliness from people. It’s that loneliness is a side effect of disconnection from my inner peace. I’ve been using social media as a tool to distract me from my feelings.
When I open Facebook for example, I’m looking for information by either searching events or buy and sell pages or messaging someone. There’s a function behind it. When I’m using it for those purposes, I leave it feeling complete and focused. If I open Facebook out of boredom, as a tool to distract myself from how I’m feeling, I end up in comparison, judgment (of self and others), or being exposed to content that lacks accuracy or thoughtfulness. Not so ironically, when I’m in that state I see posts from people I’m not interested in seeing or connecting with. I leave it feeling depleted and inadequate.
What are you searching for? The feeling you get when you open any platform will be an indicator of something larger at play. Any emotional disconnect with yourself will lead to your meandering on social media, dating apps, gaming, online shopping etc. Making you feel deficient, and that will be amplified with more time online. If you’re online because you don’t want to be present, it’s likely you’ll find things that trigger the parts of you that are hurting already. If you’re avoiding heartbreak or unworthiness or dealing with lack of confidence, impatience, or agitation with others or yourself, social platforms act like a pathogen and cause harm.
There are things within us that we don’t understand, unprocessed pain from childhood or our past that we’re unaware of. These things sit on the surface of our consciousness; we feel the agitation but don’t understand it. You don’t have to understand everything you’re feeling, but noticing and acknowledging it is a healing tool. Otherwise we either find a way to distract from the feeling or we lash out a to dispel it.
If we choose the latter we end up dumping our discontent onto someone else and they’re left trying to figure out what happened and what to do with it. Children will likely internalize and make it a problem they’ve caused or now need to deal with. Adults will do the same, skillfully hand it back, or find a way to disperse it. Either way it feels shitty for us and the other.
If I use a social media platform for entertainment, education, and connection with like-minded humans I feel entertained or uplifted. I still feel good when I’m finished. This is a dramatic difference from using it when I’m already not feeling good.
Point being, in a world that’s built on stealing our time for the benefits of big corporations, how do we self-regulate?
How do we remain disciplined so we can feel good? How do we choose to use them in healthy ways instead of ways that give us superficial connection? We can either create boundaries and rules with ourselves around social media OR use other things to fill our time. Things that feel more healthy and growth oriented, such as reading, meditation, listening to educational podcasts, working on hobbies, playing with our children, or doing anything that feels good to you.
When we’re feeling emotionally healthy, health permeates through our families, friends, and work. We don’t have to pretend to feel good, but we can take our own mental health more seriously.