The Day I Realized I Was Putting Too Much Emotional Energy Into Social Media
For me, this is a very timely article. I’m writing this on a Saturday night as I take a step away from social media.
The thing with my articles is that every so often I come up with ideas based on something someone said or something that happened, and I write those ideas down on a list so that I don’t forget.
One day in October, I wrote down six different topic ideas. This is one of those topic ideas.
So let’s back it up a bit to where I first thought of this topic and how it resonated with me innitially.
I want to talk about energy management and how integral it is towards us managing our emotions, getting the most out of life and reaching our goals.
What does that mean?
It means that we only have so much energy, so we need to be mindful in how we spend it.
We need to have boundaries, but those aren’t just boundaries in what we do, they are also boundaries in how we keep ourselves from getting lost in the internet while the earth still spins and the birds still chirp and all of our friends and family as well as ourselves just keep getting older day by day.
I always bring it back to this. Life is short.
So energy management comes down to learning to be productive with our time. If there was ever something that put a nail in the tires of the productivity vehicle it is most definitely social media.
Social media, in my experience, is something people can get addicted to and then not realize they are addicted until they experience the effects or outcomes.
This could be a person working an office job that shares puppy photos during work hours. These things seem innocent, but if the job is paying you to do a task at a certain level of productivity and the puppy photos are becoming a problem, this is going to snowball and have negative outcomes.
The tough love in life is if you want to do what you want at your job, you have to be self employed. Once you become self employed you realize why the job you had, had the rules it had. You want to eat and have shelter? You have to be productive every day.
So it brings us to defining structure around when we do what we do. If we love social media, we need to have a set time when we are on it. Maybe it’s an hour in the morning. Maybe it’s a few hours in the evening. Maybe it’s during breaks only. But if it’s something you allow yourself to have access to at all hours, then it will overtake you and impact your whole life.
When we get feedback about our suffering productivity it is often tough to hear. It’s never a good work day. It can reduce our workplace happiness or feelings of purpose. Identifying social media as the root cause, can be a very integral piece of information for avoiding these situations in the future.
Let’s pause for a moment. I want to showcase five really good things about social media, so you know I don’t have an agenda.
Here we go.
Top 5 things about social media:
1. My first job in the fitness industry wouldn’t have happened if not for social media. My first fitness industry job was as a part time Account Manager for YEG Fitness Magazine.
2. Social media has introduced me to some very important and meaningful friendships that have changed my life.
3. Social media has helped me get new clients for my business.
4. Social media introduces me to some of my podcast guests which in turn results in some really inspiring conversations.
5. Social media has the power to make me smile through shared content when I need to be cheered up.
Alright, so back to the topic at hand because I want to bring us back to the origin story of this article. I want to talk about what made me take a big step back from Facebook (although I still use it daily) and reconsider how I spent my time.
I find that more often than not, there is missing context in a Facebook post. Quite often arguments stem from posts that I intended as positive, and then when I see people outright cutting other people down, they just get unfriended rather than feeling like the enemy in front of everyone they’re connected to.
I started to realize that as someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, I need to not get so upset when people don’t understand the message I’m trying to convey. I needed to step away and redirect my energy more productively.
It started to occur to me that if I tracked the amount of time I spent writing that post that pissed someone off but was genuinely meant to motivate people to see the good in a really challenging year, I would have enough time to write weekly articles.
At that time, I was not writing weekly articles.
Weekly articles would in turn promote my website, potentially get me AdSense revenue, bring more people to my business, my podcast, and could very well result in supporting me financially.
I realized that if I limited the energy I put into Facebook posts and redirected it into writing articles, it would benefit me much more than the criticism I was receiving on social media.
It was a big lightbulb moment but also a great accountability tool.
Since that day, there have been numerous occasions where I have felt like I wanted to write a really long post on Facebook. Maybe my emotions were overtaking me, maybe something I saw made me mad, maybe I had something funny to say.
I’ve started to realize that if I am more careful with my energy, I can make a lot more progress towards my own personal goals. This will naturally (because of what I do) help many other people reach their goals as well. It’s a win-win.
So now, with social media, I am consciously guarding my energy as often as I can. I still slip sometimes like any human.
Overall, I want to be inspired, I want to be informed, I want to learn I want to grow. I want to be connected with my loved ones who love me back.
My life was not designed for me to be a keyboard cow boy with people whose talk is cheap who just want to start arguments. I say that abrasively but also with a sense of wisdom and life experience.
The only reason I know the things that I know is because I’ve been there.
If you have a goal, you honestly have to focus on that goal. Some people are not going to like you for it, and some people are going to unconditionally support you for it. You will have ride or die people in your journey. The readers of this article are my ride or die people and I appreciate you immensely.
You’re going to learn to value the likeminded people in your life. Those people may have entered your life through social media or through common interests. This is the brighter side of online connectivity.
When you have a goal, you’re not going to be able to be 50% over here and 50% over there. You’re going to need to be about 80-90% dialed in, and 10-20% liking puppy pictures while you go to the bathroom.
We find our moments for social media, we soak them up, but we don’t let them own us.
Some more wisdom from my past experience is as follows.
Every person you see on social media that makes you feel like you aren’t getting results or you aren’t where you want to be – trust me – they have battles of their own. If you ask them, they may even open up about it.
Learn that everyone just needs love. Everyone needs compassion. Treat others the way you want to be treated and if someone outright treats you poorly, don’t let their content own you – move on. If their actions impact your life – you may need to go outside the social media world to find solutions. Sharing posts is one thing – voting in elections, giving feedback, spending money in the areas that support you the most, and just generally supporting good people in challenging times is much more effective.
I think that last piece might be tough, but it’s important. If seeing someone’s posts on social media make you feel awful, the best thing to do is to take measure so you don’t see their posts. If their actions negatively impact you, the best remedy is actions of your own.
This kind of conflict or sense of helplessness can happen in all kinds of scenarios. Sometimes we must first look inward, and ask ourselves, what can we do today to be 1% better. What can we do to make our situation better? Focus on that thing for the day, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much less time, mental space, and energy you have for the things that used to bother you so much you couldn’t focus.
When it all comes down to it, measure the hours that you spend on social media for no purpose other than to scroll. When you measure your time, you know the data. When you know the data, you realize the quantity of valuable time you’ve let slip away. It can accumulate. 5 hours a day for a year is 76 days of social media. We all know at least one person spending 5 hours a day on social media.
For a young adult you could be missing out on asking someone out on a date because you were too busy comparing yourself to someone you know nothing about on social media.
For someone in their 30s you could be missing out on trying out dance lessons because you were bookmarking your favourite moves that someone else did and telling yourself “I wish that was me”.
For someone a bit older you could be missing out on time spent with grandchildren or maybe a passion project like woodworking or crafting. Remember – life is short.
We get this one life. This is ours. This is our chance, we’re two feet in.
To “like” it is one thing, but to go out in the real world and have done it is a next level experience.
Thanks for reading my article. Please share with a friend.