So I thought I needed to put myself on a social media detox.
You know I whinge and moan as much as the next person about social media ...
“the next generation’s communication skills are lacking due to their obsession with social media!!”
“people are missing the magic in the moment, they’re not really living their lives whilst their head is in their phones!!”,
but if I’m honest, I also participate in my own social media numbing habits.
When I’m having a down moment, I have to come clean and admit that I do use social media to avoid feeling the way I’m feeling. I feel anxious, sad or lonely and so rather than sit with it, I’ll often unconsciously grab my phone and start scowering through my social media feeds to find something to lighten my mood. Or simply to help me forget that I’m even in a mood!
What’s wrong with that? I mean I want to stop feeling the way I’m feeling and maybe social media can help that?
There’s nothing wrong with it, I’ve just found it actually doesn't work! Avoiding, escaping or trying to fix my feelings actually makes them louder, stronger and more set in.
Which takes me to the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial, super model” wormhole. Whaaaa?
When I’m trying to avoid, escape or fix my feelings with social media, I tend to find more reasons to feel the way I feel, and with the help of the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial, super model”, I can end up down a horrid, deep and dark social media wormhole.
You know those ones where you click on a profile, you check out the pictures, make assumptions in your head about the life they’re leading, compare your own life, click on their friends profiles, make assumptions about their lives, which creates more comparison …. Why is it that everyone else is happy, successful, fun, beautiful, pregnant and married and I’m not? (cue the violins)
Here is where the anxiety and sad and lonely feelings grow louder, stronger and more set in.
So my solution, as I mentioned earlier, was to put myself on a social media detox! I thought … YEAH! Eliminate the problem entirely!! Damn those “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial, super models”, I’ll just avoid them all together. Take that sh*tty feelings!
But are the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial, super models” really the problem?
A student of mine actually pulled me up on this, she said “But Mish, you’ve been teaching us NOT to avoid our feelings, that feelings just pass through us, they’re impermanent and if we can be present with them, they don’t become louder, stronger or more set in. They just pass through. So maybe rather than going on a social media detox and avoiding the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial super models” you should schedule some time to go down those wormholes, sit with it and feel your feelings”.
Snap! Well done student. Nailed it. Teaching others to teach me. Two thumbs up!
She was right! I was totally coming up with a solution to avoid feeling my feelings. And that’s all “solutions” are really - a judgement that something is wrong and it needs fixing, it needs a solution. My feelings don’t need fixing, all they need is to be felt, to be experienced.
Which reminds me of an article that Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and teacher, spoke about in her audio book Noble Heart that I've been listening to, where her teacher Chogyam Trungpa Riponche was asked about depression. In the article, Riponche described what depression felt like as an experience so vividly that you knew that he really knew what it was to be depressed.
He described in detail that it felt as though everything was closing in, like the ceiling coming down, and there being no where to breath or move and that everything he tried to do to get rid of it just made it worse. And then he said to the person asking him about his thoughts on depression “its so juicy, it has so much energy, its one of the best, its really powerful, it's a wonderful one to contact directly, you should really get into it” and the person of course replied “are you kidding?”
This Buddhist meditation master experienced depression. And his message was to really get into it. To really experience it. That it's one of the best, it’s powerful and wonderful.
So firstly none of us are immune to the rise and fall of human experience, even Buddhist meditation masters, and if we push against it, try to avoid or fix it, it only makes those uncomfortable feelings worse.
And so no longer am I trying to avoid the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial super model”. I’m embracing what feelings she triggers in me to be experienced. I go deep into the energy of the uncomfortable feelings that she (or my thoughts about her) arise in me.
When I sit with the experience of these feelings, taking judgement off them, purely feeling the energy that they are with awareness, then they pass. As do all feelings. They don’t grow louder, stronger or more set in. I fully allow them to be. They aren't me. They are an experience I’m having. A juicy, energetic, powerful, wonderful experience.
And the more I can just be with the experience, the less I get triggered by social media wormholes. No detox required!
So two thumbs up to you “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial super models” for giving me the opportunity to experience all parts of life without judgement, with openness, courage, love and compassion for myself.
Imagine a world of people purely experiencing their feelings rather than reacting to them. Experiencing their feelings rather than trying to fix and change them, themselves or others.
Imagine a life of being able to do that! Of allowing your feelings to be exactly as they are, without fear, without resistance, where you and the “pregnant, married, entrepreneurial super models” can co-exist in peace and harmony (cue John Lennon).
Are you experiencing feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiety or comparison? Are you resisting them or trying to fix and change them?
If you’d like support & mentoring in purely experiencing your feelings and seeing how that may be for you, I’d love to work with you.
Head on over to http://www.meditationwithmish.com/private-sessions.html and feel free to contact me first to see if we are a fit x
Off to explore more wormholes ;-)