“Welcome back to Facebook!”
It was a tough decision to reactivate my profile and a part of me regrets logging back in. This post is not about how bad Facebook is or to convince you to deactivate your account. I am sharing my experience and heart.
So why did I get off of Facebook?
I was really jealous of you; your life looked so much better than mine. I was busy comparing my “uneventful” life to everyone else’s and it was addicting. I caught myself scrolling through post after post, feeling uncool and unworthy to be loved. I felt like I was the only one not eating dinner at the hippest new restaurant, not travelling to cool cities, and not enjoying life. The truth of matter was, I was enjoying life. I was doing what I love to do, not what everyone else loves. I was happy being married. Still today, none of that has changed. During that season, my joy was being stolen by my faulty view of the world.
My identity started to become very blurry, too. The number of friends, likes, and shares were becoming my identity. At one point, my goal was to get my number of friends to 1,000. Now that I think about it, it was really dumb. I secretly tried to drive traffic to my page to earn more likes, to feel more loved and valued. I was super depressed all the time and complaining constantly. Consequently, my marriage suffered, the business was shaky, and I was not very fun to be around.
Sojung and I together made the tough decision to cut it out of both of our lives. We purposely disconnected from social media to reconnect to the world. Facebook was a bad habit we knew we had to get rid of and like all bad habits, it was really hard to break. I felt as if I was addicted to the self-inflicted pain of comparison. While we were off of Facebook, people often questioned us about why we didn’t have it and made us feel like we had made huge mistake. For us, it was one of the best decisions we’d ever made.
While we were away from Facebook, many things changed. At first, I was tempted to log back in to see what others were doing but within a couple of weeks, I stopped thinking about it. If I was really curious about someone, I would text message or call them. When I was on Facebook, it was easy to get a sense of being connected to your “friends,” but that’s not true at all in reality. Without Facebook, we had to be very intentional about spending time with others. As we started reaching out to others, my relationships with others started to blossom.
I am so grateful for how my friendships changed. I was jealous of people who had a list of friends in the thousands because I honestly thought that it meant something. But in real life, that isn’t true at all. I began to see who my real friends were and who were not. I stayed connected with the friends I cared about and others naturally began to fall off. I learned that this is not a bad thing because I can only keep up with handful of people realistically. Even though I am back on Facebook now, this still remains the same.
Our business also changed when we got off of Facebook because we started to run it as we wanted it to run. It wasn’t dictated by what others were doing. Rid of the bad habit, we started to operate freely. Did we lose potential clients? We probably did. But we love the clients we have and am so grateful for them. The business continues to grow in the way we want it to.
One thing I missed about having a Facebook profile was that staying in touch with everyone was difficult. I did feel like I was losing friends. This is probably true to some degree because I did miss out on knowing about life events, like weddings, babies, and other milestones. However, this certainly didn’t matter when Facebook didn’t exist a decade ago.
So why am I back?
I was challenged by Bella, our studio manager. I am not very good at sharing my work. From the nature of our business, my photos were getting shared through various media, but no one knew who took them. She encouraged Sojung and I to use Facebook as a platform for sharing our work. It was a tough decision because I really enjoyed my life without it. I am back on Facebook for now but I will get off if it even begins to dictate our lives in any way like the comparison did in the past.
While my account was deactivated, I was often asked if not being on Facebook affected our business. It completely did. It was a conscious decision to remove something we were depending on other than God. We learned to stay faithful, work hard, and love others well, instead of relying on a social media tool to bring us business. Perhaps I did miss out on working with certain clients, but if they really wanted hire me, they would have found me one way or the other.
I personally still don’t like Facebook. It’s more complicated and confusing than ever and it does take up my time. However, I do see the value in it and am learning how to utilize it without letting it interfere my life. What has your experience been with Facebook? Let’s start a conversation - leave a comment below.