I tried to look away but there was something so compelling about watching her. Or rather watching the life she was (half) experiencing through her screen.
The sound of the crowd was rising minute by minute. Phone lights beaming out across the stadium as more and more people flooded in.
If you had to measure the electricity in the air, it would have been enough to light up a whole city.
As he limbered up, just at the back of the stage, the roar of his fans rose to fever pitch. The young girl next to me, clutching her sign, screamed at the top of her lungs, “I Love you Harry”.
Meanwhile, in the row in front, the woman who could just as easily have been me was transfixed by the image on her phone.
She wasn’t watching the stage, the crowds, the big screen…she was watching the small, 6” screen in front of her where she was capturing the experience.
Except it wasn’t her experience.
She was a spectator and not really present at all.
In between filming, she would edit photos she’d taken of herself to post on social media . I watched (now being distracted myself from being present!) as she scrolled through 10 versions of the same photo outside the grounds.
She zoomed in on each image to see how she looked before deleting and finally selecting the best. All the while the show carried on around her.
Seeing your own reflection
It sounds like I’m judging her, and in a way I am. Really though, I’m judging myself. It’s true that what triggers judgement in us towards others is really what we dislike in ourselves.
I recognise her.
I shamefully face that I can be (and often am!) that person.
Experiencing something wonderful and having the flash of a thought “ this would be great on my Insta”. Or finding myself lost in an endless scroll of watching other people’s lives instead of living my own.
And of course there’s nothing wrong with that. Not really.
Except until there is!
Knowing when to Change
Maybe this isn’t your experience. Maybe you are really good at boundaries with screen time. Chances are though, that there may be something else in your life where similar behaviours play out. Maybe it’s the snack cupboard. Finding yourself at the pantry cupboard eating when you’re not hungry. Or that one glass of wine that suddenly has to happen every night, and turns into 2 or 3. Over the last couple of years, we’ve all used coping strategies to get through. There’s no shame if you find yourself a bit stuck and want to reset. Here’s the measures I’ve developed for myself to start to notice when coping behaviours have slipped out of control, in particular with my screen time. These are my “red flags”:
You find yourself scrolling long after it feels good
You find yourself thinking about what to post instead of enjoying the moment you’re in
You accidentally lose 30 minutes when you were just going to “quickly check” your phone
You know you check your phone more often than you need to
It makes you feel uncomfortable to think about how long you spend on it in a day
Do you scroll your phone when you feel strong emotion to avoid feelings
What would yours be? Do these resonate with you, or maybe yours are slightly different? Or maybe for you this isn’t how it works. Becoming aware of your own patterns, whatever they might be, is a crucial first step.
Time to take action
When my kids were younger, I would find that “screen time” would drift and we’d go from minimal screen time to suddenly more than I thought was healthy.
It would creep up on us!
So I would implement a digital detox, and we’d all go off grid for a while with much less.
I realised recently that it’s been a LONG time since I did that. Party because my kids are teenagers now - have you ever tried to detach a teen from their device???
The trouble with parenting older kids is that it’s much harder to just mandate what you think is healthy. I’ve found that the best thing I can do is model the behaviour I want to see.
So that’s what I’m going to be doing this summer.
Throughout July and August Im taking a break.
I will still be studying (I’m qualifying as a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist) and I’ll be serving my wonderful membership community. But apart from a couple of commitments that I have already made, such as workshops for the NHS, I will be stepping off the treadmill.
No social media.
Checking emails only a couple of times a day.
Im excited…and a little bit apprehensive!
I know I “should” pretend to have it all figured out and that I “should” spend my days meditating and being present. But the truth is much messier and multifaceted.
I’m human. And this human needs a break.
I haven’t had a proper break since the pandemic began as I’ve always carried on serving my community and showing up.
At times, that has been my salvation and my lifeline as much as a service to others: what the Dalai Lama calls “wise selfishness”
So why am I telling you this?
It feels quite nerve wracking to openly say that I don’t always have the balance right. That I’m flawed and complex and always growing.
But it’s also the truth.
Maybe my truth will let you own yours. Can you take small steps towards the person you want to be?
I will still have resources programmed in to gently land in your socials and your inbox, but I will be stepping back and letting things happening much more quietly!
If you’d like a guided journey to Reset, then I’d love to invite you to join the Be. Membership.
It all starts with a 21 day Stress and Overwhelm Reset experience. Each day a small handpicked practice and training will land in your inbox. Over the 21 days, you’ll be amazed at the shifts you experience.
You’ll also receive weekly inspiration from me to keep you moving towards the life of calm and clarity that you’re craving.
Supported by an App for easy access to all your resources, this could be exactly what you need this summer.
Find out more here and join us!
I’ll see you on the other side!!!
Laura @ Be.