I recently took a brief break from emails and social media and I found that I was able to think more critically when not inundated with all of the spam mail, advertisements, and status updates. I was struck that we don’t really have a private life anymore, at least not one that we spend time growing and improving.
Our culture demands transparency and social sharing. This often leads us to compare ourselves to our social network friends. There used to be a time when we met in person with our friends and family and looked each other in the eye and discussed what we wanted out of life, what we needed to do to achieve that, and received wisdom from those who had gone before us. Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place and who doesn’t like to get all those Happy Birthday posts from your entire friend list?!
Author Gordon MacDonald wrote “Ordering Your Private World” where he identifies your inward character as your private world. How can we really increase our wellness if we are so focused on everyone else’s status update? Our status updates tend to be the highlights of our life… what race we just completed, what fabulous meal we just devoured, what trip we just took, etc. Is that really wellness? We may think that those activities show wellness but I would contend that the private times with our family and friends really show how well we are.
If we are dissatisfied, fearful, lonely, argumentative, or just have trouble connecting with anyone on a deep level then we need to change something. I won’t pretend to know what each reader may be experiencing, but I challenge you to look at your own life and your own character to determine what you need to grow.
Social media can provide encouragement and can help you stay connected to people that live far away from you, but it also provides much distraction. We forget to look each other in the eye, go on a walk with your best friend, play a board game with your children, or simply hold your spouse’s hand while watching the sun set.
What are you willing to give up to reconnect with your friends, family, character, and private life?