Since deactivating all my social media accounts 2 months ago, I've received numerous messages (emails or texts) from people asking me why I did it, and checking if I was okay (I guess to do a bit of snooping as well lol).
The benefits since deactivating my accounts have been mind-blowing (mind-erasing really). I'll tell you about those new found benefits, but first, I'll give you some back ground on me and my social.
I was a big user (it used me) of Facebook and Insta, and would go on my LinkedIn a few times a day as well. Now when I say I was a big user of FB and Insta, I was on it a lot! Making a few posts a day, storying (that a word now?) my daily activities and thoughts, and then refreshing the page regularly to see new posts, but more importantly to me, to see who liked, commented, or shared mine. Sitting around doing nothing, or even when I was busy doing other shit, I was always scrolling. It was my go-to when I was bored, happy, found something funny, wanted to share an enlightening thought, or when I was looking for a date night.
As a motivational speaker for Primary schools, High schools, Corporations, and Reducing Stress & Anxiety workshop facilitator, I used social as a way to promote my speaking (mostly my ego), to get a date night, and manipulate my posts to look cooler than I am.
I would also use my swipe up option (notice how I used those few words to continue my blog, but also show off that I had swipe up option... over 10k followers on Insta! I must be cool!) to sell copies of my book, Stabbed Ego.
I would also share posts of my speaking tours and messages (one of the beautiful messages below) I received from those in the audience.
I'm big on always looking to progress in any area of life, and convinced myself that having social and gaining a good following with strong interaction, was a way for me to reach more people, and help others.
However, I'm also big on calling myself out on my own bullshit, and knew deep down that all I was doing was promoting a false mind made self. I was living most of my real and beautiful life trying to promote a false one in a small device held in my hand. This device held my soul imprisoned, with my near impenetrable ego gaining even more force with every manipulated post.
"How was I ever going to find myself when all I was doing was promoting a false-self...?"
My speaking journey, and strong connection with those I speak to, is a result of me showing the audience the impact of ego, how being your true-unique-self is what life is made for, and without this, you're going to never live an actual second of this beautiful dream we call life.
How was I going to be authentic in this approach if I was standing on stage after stage and talking about the importance of self-awareness, being your true-self, detaching from ego, and living this exact moment, but then immediately after my talk, I'd ask for selfies with my audiences, sift through them, find the ones where I looked good, and only post those?
I would then go back to my accommodation, receive endless messages from the audience, not really feel any of them on a deep level because all I was doing was waiting for the ones that sounded the best to then post on my social media accounts. The next day I would wake up, turn my phone off airplane mode, and watch the flood of messages from people telling me how good I am.
Remembering it was time to put up a story, I would then tidy up my hotel room so people didn't think I was a grub, and then have a few false starts in recording because the first few didn't make me look or sound as good as it should.
After being happy (not really, because we always doubt our posts until we get social acceptance) with what I posted, I'd then leave my accommodation to explore (to post about) the new town I found myself in.
This was my regular speaking tours, and at the end of each one, I couldn't wait to post a collage of the photos (the ones I looked good in) and how much fun I had on the tour. Did I have fun? Was I grateful for the experience? Without being present, I could never really know. I may reflect (stepping away again from the present again) on the tour and tell myself (ego) how great the tour (I) was, but it was then just a manipulated memory (just like a fake post).
Looking at my life, and knowing what was most important to me, and what helped me get out of my harsh past, I knew I had to go deeper to reconnect back to the true me. How was I ever going to find myself if all I was doing was promoting a false self or living in an illusion (some would say this life is an illusion. And I agree to some degree. But to live in an illusion inside an illusion, I didn't want)?
When I say that I wanted to find myself, that's fundamentally wrong. It's never about finding yourself, because deep down, you are already you - your unique-self, so it's about getting rid of what is not you, and revealing, and releasing, your soul.
So what is not me? There's plenty of shit I could put here, but this is about social media, and that was definitely not me nor the online world I had created to form an extension of ego.
So... it had to go.
I initially got rid of FB and Insta, and would tell myself that I was rarely on LinkedIn and I should keep it for work.
The first couple of days I actually found myself opening FB and Insta app to see the login page. Deactivating it wasn't enough, as the incessant and persistent ego, searched for stimulation where it knew it could find it most. I then deleted the app, but then observed myself spending more time on LinkedIn and scrolling shitty business memes.
It had to go as well.
About a week in, I was starting to peep through the programmed mind, and the obsessive need for social acceptance was lessening.
In the real world, I found myself doing things that would have otherwise only been done for a couple of moments to post about.
I was going for walks, I bought a long board skateboard to cruise the beaches, swimming regularly in the ocean, chatting with strangers, playing frisbee with my parents, and sitting down having conversations with them without the back-of-the-mind thought of my phone.
Not having social, I would go out for a full day and not even take my phone. There was moments when I was having fun and thought it would be great to post about it.
For what? Or for who?
Feeling those moments come up, I'd smile to myself and think that this is actually a really good moment, so guess what!!??? I feel it and live it even more. I'd then release my wanting to share the moment, and dive deeper into it.
I've been reading a lot more too!! Polishing off a new book every couple of weeks. I'm a slow reader because I love to read deeply, stop, reflect, and feel, so to read a book in two weeks is incredibly rare.
I don't have that regular feeling that I have to get back
to someone. It's gone so far now that when I do get a message, I get back when I want to instead of feeling pressured to do it instantly. I've actually come across people in the street I hadn't gotten back to yet, and instead of shitting myself and trying to avoid them, I'd just tell them that I saw their message but just detaching from my phone and social so I'll get back to them when I have the chance. If peeps don't like that, cool, leave me alone haha.
I watch a sun rise to feel the moment.
When watching the sun rise, I observe (different from judging I swear!) others around and notice the emptiness of the moment for them as they view it through their phones, bend their neck down to then post it, jump up and walk away happy to have captured the moment for others who really don't give a shit.
A bit of a test I had was only a few weeks in, when it was my birthday. I mean, we all love the inflation of our importance that comes with a few hundred posts on our wall from people who care (do they?) about us and the date we were born. I've had people in the past write "HB Luke" because writing the full happy birthday would take too long out of precious scrolling time. I felt the urge to go back on so I could reap the empty benefits from such messages and take me away from the actual moment of my birthday, but with my soul now shining brighter through the holes of that past fortress-like ego, I knew it wasn't necessary.
The result? One of the best birthdays I've had.
I left my phone at home and headed out with my parents for a day (picture below with the two eggheads) of food, frisbee, bowling, heaps of laughs, and experiences I felt without thinking I had to share them (besides now lol).
I returned home to a phone with a handful of texts and missed calls. After speaking and returning for no more than 20 mins, I felt more love from that than the hours spent in previous years reading posts in my phone. I don't want to sound like a grump, I'm just trying to be as real as I can, but most of the messages received online on birthdays are empty and from peeps who don't care but feel compelled to because they received a notification that it was your birthday. I'd do the same! And it takes you, and them, away from being genuine. It's empty.
I've always created a huge impact when speaking, and now, to be honest, I'm getting even deeper with my audience. My mind is clearer, and I even sit with the audience now and connect fully.
Has there been any negatives since getting off social?
Ummm... I guess my book sales are down a little, and I now obviously don't get any enquiries for my speaking through social.
If people really want to find me, they do, so honestly, my speaking enquiries haven't gone down at all. Even if they did, my soul is more important to me.
Will I ever go back?
You may have had the thought, 'You deactivated, not deleted', and that's a fair thought, I'm off it to gain a truer connection to myself, however even though I'm getting Zen, I'm not stupid, and know I will still need it later when promoting my next book launch and event I'm holding, I may activate my business account to get bums on seats, but I'll never go back to how life was before.
This life is just ticking by, and being away from the present makes it tick by even quicker. I love this life, and want to touch, feel, and experience, every moment so deeply and wholly.
I'm not perfect, and will never make myself out to be.
I've made stupid mistakes, still do, and forever will, but my journey of self-discovery is now my only quest, and if things, people, "opportunities", or whatever, is getting in the way of that...
Luke S. Kennedy is Australia's most sought after speakers for primary schools, high schools, prisons, corporations, and reducing stress workshop facilitator.