Years ago, I made choices that improved my quality of life: no TV reception; no newspapers; minimal Internet news; no Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; no smart phone; daily meditation; weekly connection with friends; increased time outdoors; morning and bedtime routines. These purposeful choices mirror what I value most: awareness, connection, curiosity, integrity, and kindness.
Still, I feel the tug of social media. I post my photography on Flickr. When I'm intentional, my use of Flickr fills and inspires me; when I'm mindless, my use depletes me. I've stayed away from Facebook because I know myself well: I could get lost in externals. I hold many identities, some of them too tightly. One of these identities is thoughtful-and-caring-friend. In person, this flows naturally. In the stories of my mind or in the online world, this takes a different path: Joy, you must attend to everyone and comment on all posts; if you don't respond, people will think you're unkind; you should check regularly if people still love ("like") you. These thoughts feel real, but they're not true.
Anytime I search externally for validation, the search never ends. This search is a band-aid that covers my uneasiness. The real medicine is looking inward--giving myself the attention and love I seek.
Social media is interesting and fun. Yet it can separate me from what I most value. And there's a fuzzy line in between. For me, there are two rabbit holes: confusing likes, shares, comments, and favorites with my own self-worth; and feeling a strong pull to keep up-to-date, to not miss out. The latter leaves me anxious. The former leaves me hollow.
When wise friends told me I needed a Facebook page for my business, I cringed. But I listened and eventually agreed. Because I always have choices. I come to Facebook in my own way, with my heart and eyes wide open. I needn't publish a personal page.
I come to Facebook not as Joy Jordan "this is my daily life, let's catch up" but as Joy Jordan, both a student and teacher of mindfulness; a person trying to be mindful on social media; a person who needs to hear and share this message: You have permission to just be; to be and breathe. You have permission to attend to yourself; look inward. You have permission to disconnect from the online world. You are so much more than your popularity on social media. You are unique and beautiful; be you. You are worthy, as is.