Hello, beautiful human beings. It is my pleasure to introduce myself into the vast world of internet blogs! My name is Brianna, but I often go by Bree (easier to spell, remember, and not mispronounce). I’m a young twenty-something with a lot to say, one hell of a vocabulary, and a passion for sharing my insight, inner wisdom, and experiences with people just like yourself–in an effort to help the world be a better, more tolerable place to exist.
Recently, I have taken somewhat of a “social media detox”: No Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook (Pinterest was acceptable, because, come on, it’s Pinterest). I dared not to reveal my feelings or random thoughts in that 140-character space limit, or engage in my compulsive tendency to retweet sarcastic, humorous tweets that are “so me!” from popular accounts; I refrained from posting every single detail of my life on Facebook, which really only served to feed into my family’s tendency to be nosy; I didn’t feel the need to take a picture of every single activity I participated in, adventure I took, or Starbuck’s coffee I consumed as “proof” for Instagram. Can you believe it? A female twenty-something who spent close to four months not living vicariously through others’ by scrolling through their daily lives? It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Well, then you probably won’t believe what I’m about to reveal next: It felt good. I was living my own life, rather than scrolling through, comparing to, and envying others’ lives. What a breath of fresh air! I didn’t realize just how much mental energy goes into social media until I stepped back and disconnected from it all. In a world where everyone seems to have his or her phone glued to his or her hand, I felt an inkling of separation. I had more time to talk with the people I loved, whether it was via Skype, dialing a phone number, or sending a quick, “Thinking of you,” text message.
Instead of investing so much time on social media platforms reading into the lives of people I didn’t even know (and relentlessly comparing myself to said people), I focused on the people in my life that I do know, and became more interested in their lives, feelings, and stories. In addition to focusing on my own people, stepping back from social media also helped me focus on myself: mentally, emotionally, and physically. As an empath, I do all I can to help others, which often leads to putting myself on the back-burner. But with only interacting with my closest friends, my boyfriend, my family, and a few important strangers, there was a bit more room on the front-burners of my mind. Despite the discomfort in doing so, I moved myself to the front, which lead to the beginning of the vital inner work that I needed to uncover, decipher, and process after strategically avoiding it for many, many years. That’s the thing about taking care of others and putting others’ needs before your own: It’s the ultimate strategy for avoiding exploring and addressing what it is that we feel, need, and want in life. It wasn’t until I put my needs on the same plane as the needs of those I care about that I was able to get in touch with my true, authentic self–and all of the things I have been avoiding and essentially “numbing” myself from for years.
What did I want in my life? What is my true purpose? What are my values? Who and what makes me feel good? Who and what makes me feel like absolute garbage? What behaviors am I engaging in that are inhibiting me from living my fullest life? What kind of shampoo do I want to use?
All of these questions (any a plethora of others) surfaced in my mind. At first, it was overwhelming. And yes, I did initially panic–uncomfortable with sitting with my own thoughts, feelings, urges. As I continue to challenge myself to sit with and explore these feelings and thoughts, I learn more and more about myself each day. It’s been a rocky journey, but I think I should offer myself some grace and patience, given that I’ve survived twenty-one years without the degree of self-awareness I have today.
In a world with such harsh, impatient, and rigid standards, judgments, and expectations, it’s only natural to avoid what we truly feel and value. As I stated above, it wasn’t until I took a step back and put myself on the front-burner that I found out what I want out of my life. And let me tell you, it doesn’t involve scrolling through others’ lives with a comparative edge, sharing every detail about myself and my whereabouts with strangers, or deviating from my own values at the expense of pleasing others. I have learned that in tending to my needs, I can better tend to others’ needs; I have learned that self-awareness isn’t all about yoga and being calm (it’s actually rather messy and chaotic at times); I have learned that my life is real, with or without proof provided on social media platforms. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that my life matters just as much as the lives of those I care about. And that, my (new) friends, is a lesson worth sacrificing a few retweets, likes, and favorites for.