The night before last, I made a radical change to how I use Facebook, removing distracting elements and focusing it entirely on my real-life social life. Making a change like this may not seem like a big deal, but Facebook had been consuming very large quantities of my time, so the way I relate with it as a tool has a big significance to my life as a whole.
Some years back I attempted a similar change. To be exact, I tried to limit my use of Facebook to only in the evening every day. I wrote about it in previous posts, but unfortunately I did that before I had a good perspective on the experiment, and if you look at those posts you’ll only see me raving about how amazing it was. That’s a problem with lifestyle blogging; you often only read about the exciting first changes and not the complications that come up later.
In this case, limiting my Facebook time freed up huge amounts of energy which my Facebook addiction had been draining. I was more productive than I had been in ages, or ever. However, after a week, I burnt out from this hyperactivity. The explanation for this was that due to a subconscious self hatred pattern, I was not willing to consciously give myself enough rest time. Facebook allowed me to rest unconsciously, by giving me the illusion of not having a choice.
I wasn’t able to change my self hatred pattern back then (indeed, I didn’t fully understand it), so all I could do then was to return to using Facebook as I had before. One thing I did gain from the experiment was a new understanding of addictions. Addictions are often hard to quit because they serve a purpose. For me, in that moment, keeping my addiction was the healthiest thing I could do; at least it was the healthiest choice out of the options that seemed to be available to me.
I have since healed my self hatred to a very large extent. This has had positive repurcussions in almost every aspect of my life. One of these, now, seems to have been the ability to find a more healthy relationship with Facebook, though this happened organically, and in a way that I find more pleasing than before.
It happened like this. On Sunday I was having a trip on psychoactive cacao, which is currently perhaps my favourite personal development tool. I will have to write about it in depth later, but in short, psychoactive cacao makes you more connected with your emotions and intuition, and gives you a kind of warm forgiving feeling similar to MDMA, allowing you to stay positive and process things which would normally drag you into negativity. (If you’re in a hurry to try, the important thing is you need to take 40g of RAW cacao. Heat destroys the psychoactive elements of cacao, which is why you don’t trip on ordinary chocolate. Raw cacao can be found in some organic shops or online. If it doesn’t say raw on the packet it isn’t raw).
This last Sunday my intention with the cacao trip was to transform some negativity that was getting in the way of my productivity; mostly fear and leftover self hatred patterns. This negativity led me to feel I had to control myself rather than work from a place of inspiration and freedom, and this mostly resulted in a block where I simply procrastinated.
The cacao helped me talk through the patterns with my partner, and then towards the end of the trip I felt a connection with an angelic entity which helped me feel joy and positivity and generally to rise above my negative “stuff”. From that place, I worked on simply affirming the energies I wanted to feel.
After the trip was over, I still felt remnants of that otherworldly positivity. I started feeling more restless again, though, and as usual in such moments, my habit was to reach for Facebook. However, seeing the negative vibes that popped up in Facebook, and contrasting them with my inner state, I felt like something had to change. I had what I have come to call “cacao clarity”, a sort of intuition or recognition of my deep feelings combined with the confidence to act. It did take me about ten minutes before I was totally ready, but then I figured I was taking a measured risk and took the dive.
The clarity I had was this: the important aspect of Facebook, the one which I really don’t want to give up, is that it keeps me connected with friends and the goings-on in my city. What I do want to give up is distraction; using Facebook as a news feed, essentially. It’s not like I can’t search out funny or interesting articles on the internet, or even have a dedicated news feed elsewhere; however, using Facebook for that removes the element of conscious decision that should be there when I’m engaging in such an activity.
So with a certain enjoyable – almost fierce – sensation of release, I set about unfollowing things. I unfollowed all news and meme pages, and all friends who I only knew over the internet. (I didn’t unfriend anyone – yet? – but they no longer come up in my feed). I also unfollowed a few friends who I did know in real life but who post too many memes and not enough personal stuff.
What was left was a tool to keep in contact with people, but with only minimal distraction value. If I want to get lost in articles and memes, I will have to directly search them out.
It’s not been long since I’ve done this, so time will still have to tell exactly how it affects me. However I do feel more free. Mindless Facebooking wasn’t an especially pleasurable activity; I can find better ways to relax. I now spend more time in the metro simply meditating, and more time thinking more clearly about what to do with my time. I suspect I won’t burn out as before, but I do suppose it will be both the case that I will be more productive and that my resting time will be of a higher quality.