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The Reason I Left Facebook

And a dozen benefits of doing so

The Reason I Left Facebook
Photography by Carl MH Barenbrug

Imagine a small get-together with a few close friends or family. You share your joys and challenges and offer meaningful support and encouragement. Later that evening, you feel grateful for your tribe and drift to sleep with them in your prayers.

Now imagine going to a large cocktail party. You bounce from person to person internalizing snippets of conversation; a friend’s co-worker has cancer, someone’s son is getting married, a neighbor’s dog got hit by a car, a stranger’s father has dementia, another got her dream job. Here is an uncomfortable debate about politics. Later that evening, you feel completely drained and have trouble sleeping.

For an introvert like me, Facebook is a crowded, never-ending cocktail party filled with casual acquaintances and friends of friends of friends. The average number of Facebook friends is an intimate 338.

I left Facebook because I found it difficult to process the emotions of so many people on a regular basis.

I don’t know if I’m technically an empath, but I do know I was sensitive to Facebook post. Judith Orloff, MD, says empaths are “emotional sponges” who absorb other people’s energies, whether they are good or bad. When overwhelmed by the emotions of others, empaths can experience panic attacks, depression, chronic fatigue, and insomnia.

I deactivated my Facebook account eight months ago and haven’t looked back. Here are some benefits I’ve experienced:

  1. More Positive Vibes: Facebook can be a dumping ground for fear, judgement, anger, sadness, insecurity, and narcissism. Those funky vibes seeped right through the internet and zapped me. Not only do I want to protect myself from that negative energy, I also want to avoid the very real temptation of adding to it.
  2. More Time: This is an obvious one, but not being on Facebook has freed up more time in my day to do things that add more quality to my life.
  3. More Presence: It’s amazing how much more present I am in my experiences when not thinking about taking a photo, posting it with a clever caption, and constantly checking the reactions to it.
  4. Better Focus: My mind is much clearer without Facebook. All of that input took up too much valuable real estate in my head. Without it, I’m better able to concentrate on my own priorities.
  5. Less Irritation: Let’s face it, people post aggravating stuff on Facebook. Some of it really pushed my buttons and elicited negative emotions that weren’t good for me.
  6. Less Worry: As a people pleaser, I always worried how people interpreted my posts. Without Facebook, I’ve completely eliminated that concern.
  7. Better Relationships: Instead of posting something for hundreds of people to see on Facebook, I now take time to communicate more personally with individual people.
  8. Less Guilt: I often let guilty I wasn’t closer to Facebook friends with whom I’d barely crossed paths. I cared about them, but I found it impossible to offer my sincere support to so many people.
  9. More Discretion: Facebook can encourage us to over-share and reveal too much about our personal lives (and that of our loved ones). Personally, I’m more attracted to people who maintain a bit of privacy and even cultivate an air of mystery.
  10. More Self-Confidence: Have you ever felt sure about something, but after hearing from others, began to doubt your own mind? Getting rid of the noise on Facebook helps me trust my own voice.
  11. Improved Self-Care: It’s up to each of us to take care of ourselves in the ways that are most nurturing. The same way I know I need lots of time alone and in nature, I know I’m better off without Facebook.
  12. More Simplicity: I’m committed to simplifying all areas of my life, which includes letting go of anything that takes more time than it adds. My life is simpler without Facebook, and simplicity is always my direct path to peace of mind.
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