Yesterday evening, after much trepidation, I finally uninstalled Facebook and Instagram from my mobile phone. It is probably too early to write this post, as I am yet to see how long I can refrain from the two nefarious social media platforms. We all are aware of how Facebook and Instagram are stealing our attention to make profits. We all have watched Social Dilemma and The Great Hack on Netflix but yet we still keep using Facebook and Insta. It is similar to the smoking addicts who keep smoking cigarettes even after watching what happened to Mukesh (or is it Dinesh?) before every movie in the cinema hall. We read articles about how social media is damaging our mental health, how it is ruining the youth, yet we keep checking our notifications. I realized that unconsciously, I was also a social media addict. Therefore, it is time I detox.
I am guilty of using social media for personal gratification. A comment on my photo saying “you look gorgeous” gives me a dopamine boost. However, social media also triggers jealousy and a feeling of inadequacy in me. Those things make me depressed and anxious. Below is a (rough) list of things that triggers sadness. jealousy and a sense of incompetency in me. #FOMO
- Photos of FB friends traveling to exotic places always make me sad. Even though, I have traveled my share of places yet whenever I see images of my friends in exotic places it always makes me feel that they are having more fun and they have a better life than me.
- When I am stuck in Mumbai traffic with potholes, traffic signal beggars, and construction work all around and I see my NRI friend driving smoothly on the German Autobahn, it does make me feel sad. I start thinking that they are lucky to live away from India.
- When I see my friends looking thin, beautiful, and young. I feel inadequate about my looks.
- When I see lovely couple photos, I start feeling that others have a better relationship.
- When I see my friends spending time with their parents or grandparents, I start feeling sad that all my grandparents and parents are dead and I can never share a moment with them.
- When I see an ex-colleague joining a top position in a top company, I start feeling that maybe I should have focused more on my career.
- Images of people having a clean and well-decorated house make me feel that maybe my house needs a revamp.
- People having read more books also makes me #FOMO
- People who know about Game of Thrones, Lord of the rings, Vampire diaries, Squid Game, and Ozark also give me #FOMO as I have never watched these shows.
The list is endless. So many things make me sad, anxious, and excluded. The algorithm of Facebook strives on making us feel inadequate so that we buy products to make us feel good. Over the years, brands have made us feel inadequate to promote products. They always wanted us to look fairer, thinner, taller, etc. Facebook is just adding to that. They are trying to make us feel insecure so that we tend to buy something or do something to feel secure. (Zucker Dada is no Santa Claus, he is not here to spread love and joy. Mark Bhai wants us sad, miserable, communally divided, war-torn, depressed so that we spend more time on social media so that his bank account can inflate.)
I realized I was also falling into the trap of social media. That is when my gratitude journal came to the rescue. I felt thankful that I have traveled enough, I don’t need to shift abroad because in spite of the traffic jam and potholes I love Mumbai and this is the city where I truly belong. I may not be thin or young but I am fit, healthy, and aging gracefully. I am loving growing old as many people are not fortunate to reach my age. My parents may not be alive today but as long as they were with me they gave me lots of love and happiness. I am sure they will meet me again. My colleagues are doing good and I should feel proud and happy for the hard work and sacrifices they made to reach this position. I may not have the cleanest home but I keep my home organized and clutter-free, my home is my safe place, and being home is the best feeling in the world.
I am happy that I decided to go on a digital detox as I would not be consuming the humongous amount of trash that gets posted on social media every second. I have spared myself from ten thousand reels on the song Kancha Badam. I hope this time off from social media would make me more productive and I would be able to do things that I truly love like blogging, journaling, completing my TBR, watching nice documentaries, meditating, yoga, sleeping, walking in the woods, and simply sit by my window seat with a cup of kadak chai.