“The best moments of my life don’t make it to social media.”
I’ve seen this quote a lot and it’s so true. The best laughs and most memorable situations I’ve experienced don’t make it to my Instagram account.
I’ve just finished this book called “Digital Depression” and although it’s already clear to me how obsessed we as a society are about with smartphones and social media, I really enjoyed reading it. It’s so well written, so up-to-date, so on point.
You see people starring on their screens all day long – while shopping, partying, having conversations, being at work, going for a walk etc. and it has become so normal to us. But when you read about it, it starts to feel kinda weird.. you almost feel ashamed when you find yourself in some of the described scenarios.
It’s also kinda weird that we are constantly tracking everything: calories, kilometers, sleep, repetitions in the gym and what else not. Actually the reason why I stopped tracking my runs was because it started to stress me out and put pressure on me. I want to go for a run because I love it and not because some app tells me to. I don’t want an app to tell me if today I had a good run or not, if it was long enough or not, I can judge that for myself. So what if today I was faster than last time but got no runner’s high, no beautiful sunset, got a pain in my knee,.. then the last run had still been way better than this one I’d say, right? But of course – an app can’t track this.
I also try to not take out my phone too much in social situations. Yes, I make an insta story here and there and take a few photos but otherwise I prefer to enjoy the good company (not talking about social situations which make me feel bored, of course..) It’s also pretty impolite if you talk to someone and that person isn’t even taking her eyes of the screen for a second. And yes, I’ve met people like that. I already had thoughts like „why am I even here if your snapchat followers are more important anyway“.
And no – I’m not perfect when it comes to this, not at all! Sometimes when I’m out in nature for example and see something beautiful, my hand automatically starts to reach for my phone to take a photo for my Instagram story. Sometimes I give in to that reflex and sometimes I tell myself „no, don’t waste this wonderful moment, rather enjoy it while being fully present“. We need to remind ourselves that perceiving something through our own eyes is more valuable than perceiving it through a screen – just because that way you can take a photo and show it to others afterwards.
In this book I read there was a story about a safari in which one of the girls in the car had to switch her seat from the front to the back as she forgot to bring her camera. She had to make room for another girl with a camera as everyone agreed that she has more right to sit in the front and see more of the safari with being able to take photos. I find this be pretty scary to be honest.. as if our own experience that we have for ourselves isn’t worth anything anymore – „pictures or it didn’t happen“.
It’s all practice when it comes to spending less time on your phone. I even have days when I leave my phone at home on purpose to not come into temptation. And see how „indispensable“ our phones have become with me using the term „I even have days“? As if it is something really dramatic to not have your phone with you, as if a part of your body is missing.
And don’t get me wrong though, I love modern technology and the way it connects us all in so many different ways and the way it makes so many situations easier. So many people that I call my „real life“ friends today – I wouldn’t even know them it wasn’t for social media!
Anyway, I believe we should all practice to be more mindful, present and aware of what we’re doing. Often we don’t even realize we’re on our phone again or that we might be acting impolite by looking at our screen while others are around. It’s also pretty unhealthy for our overall well-being to constantly be distracted or stressed by technology instead of being fully present and taking care of our inner life. Not to mention the negative impact it has on our body and mind when it comes to concentration or sleep for example.
What do you think about this topic? Are you struggling with an unhealthy smartphone/social media addiction? Have you probably already sucessfully decreased your use of it? Maybe you like to share some personal stories and experiences?