With the advent of social media, humanity is theoretically more consciously connected with each other than any other time in human history. The barrier of distance that kept us ignorant to the lives of others has closed to a fraction of a second. Websites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat allow us to interact with people thousands of miles away and know of events far from home the moment they happen. One would think that this hyperconnectivity to the minds and worlds of others would foster an equal amount of empathy. However, despite the positives of social media, humanity has never been more disconnected and spiritually unhealthy. And it is because of this: The main purpose of social media is not to be the conduit of connection, but an instigator of distraction.

Social media has replaced the television as the largest component of bread and circus. It is meant to avert the focus of the masses from the more pressing matters of human existence. Instead of looking up to the sky, we are too busy looking down at our phones. Instead of being alone with ourselves in silence, we fill that gap of time with nonsense to keep our monkey mind appeased. It is, after all, easier to focus on a phone than self-reflection and the uncomfortability that often comes with it. In the end, we end up sacrificing long-term growth for the pleasure of short-term satisfaction. The price of this excessive distraction is the atrophying of not only one’s happiness but the spiritual health that is the flower bed for happiness to grow.

Despite what it may seem, however, social media is not inherently bad. Using social media and cultivating spiritual growth are not mutually exclusive. It’s all in moderation and intentional use. In understanding the underlying purpose of social media, it allows us to use the platform for our benefit and not to our detriment. The selling point of social media being a means of connection with others is undoubtedly true and it would be foolish not to capitalize on its value. It is how you do so that makes all the difference.

Being intentional about maintaining your connection to yourself in an ever-connected world means using awareness. It is understanding the why surrounding your use of social medias. If it is not enriching your life in any true way, it automatically leaves you with a deficit. Which is why incorporating social media breaks is a huge component of using awareness to combat the distraction of social media. Unplugging from the noise of other people’s thoughts and events allows us to focus some much needed time on ourselves and our inner lives. Choosing to create distance from others in the cyber world isn’t any different than being alone to recharge from our interactions with others in the physical world. It is all a matter of balance.

As the world grows more cyber linked together, it is going to become increasingly more important to establish boundaries for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Knowing what people are thinking about hours out of the day can cloud our own thoughts. And knowing what’s taking place around the world all the time can be emotionally overwhelming. Choosing to take time outs and be intentional about how we use these platforms is an act of self-love and rejuvenation. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sharing pictures online or your thoughts in 280 character snippets, but awareness of ourselves in doing so is key. It allows you to harness the power of these platforms in service to you, instead of you being in service to them.

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