I’ve been having a break from writing and social media recently whilst I focus on improving myself and learning within my handyman business.
The removal of external stimuli like Instagram makes you face up to what your brain is doing, which more often than not is quite unhelpful. Many people talk about barriers to them achieving a goal such as money, opportunity or time. But in reality these are just excuses our mind creates in order to avoid the pain of change and the uncertainty of pursuing something new and challenging. We have evolved to strive for comfort, to reach a level where we can marry, procreate and buy a lot of shit we don’t need to support a world we care little for. Ok so that is an entirely different conversation...
Over the last two months I have been challenging myself through personal coaching. I've flitted between the comfort I talk about above and some carnal need to suffer. Perhaps that latter is a hangover from childhood and a desire to prove myself worthy, cue soft, sad violin music...
So this coaching, it is not therapy, yet it is a form of therapy with myself. With the help of my coach Kristi I have learnt a great deal about emotions, belief systems and my own anger, whilst developing sharpened tools to peel back the layers of bad habits created over the years. Through my own consistent effort I have made giant leaps in understanding why I attack myself, stopping that cycle and beginning a new healthy conversation with my mind.
The method (or part of it)
I won't go into great detail about my coaching yet. It is not a journey I want to share just yet, not until I feel I have figured it out. I will say that I am beginning to really understand my own value and why my brain hijacks me.
With regards to Instagram I took what I call a holiday. Up until a couple of weeks ago I was following over 900 people. I don’t know 800 of these people, but the scourge of social media is that when you get a new follower you can’t help but press that follow button by their name. I swear that pressing buttons is addictive. Anyhow I ended up following a bunch of people and had all sorts of different things in my feed. Although because of Instagram’s feed algorithm it was mainly focused around dogs, bodybuilding and food. One night I was determined to take a break from social media in order to actually be more social, so I began the great unfollow of ’19. I realised that pressing the unfollow button is just as cathartic if not more than the original follow. It was so cathartic that I had burnt through 700 odd people before Instagram blocked me. That’s right, it stopped me from unfollowing people. It claimed that it was a security feature to prevent bots that may have got into my account from ruining my Instagram life. I can only imagine that these “bots” would be made by someone like Marie Kondo with the hope of ridding people of social media clutter and sparking joy into my life. The obvious truth is that Instagram doesn’t want you to stop following people because two things happen. The first is that if you don’t follow and like things then it can’t target you with adverts and make money from you. It can’t use your location or build a profile of you to sell. Although probably at this point in our lives that is already too late. The second thing to happen is that when you don’t follow anyone you stop interacting with social media. It’s fucking boring when you follow less than ten people! You know what happens then? You go on it for 20 seconds, see all the photos, stop using it and then get on with your life. Fucking radical right? *Face palm*
So what have I done since going on my Insta holiday? Well I have worked on myself as I said above. I’ve got stuck into my marathon run training and been more consistent with my diet (still eating cheese and ice cream though). I have listened to a lot more podcasts, both whilst working and on my way to places because I am not mindlessly scrolling. I’ve caught up with my messaging of friends again, in an effort to reach out and connect with people. Overall I’ve just been a bloody hero… ha ha ha! To be honest I’ve just been more organised and efficient with my free time and as a result I’m a little more relaxed. I don’t distract myself with social media when I am bored but deal with my mind when it throws a hissy fit.
I have my opinions about technology and social media that at times conflict. There are good and bad points, much like anything. However I have come to view everything with this filter question, “does it spark joy?” Sorry that’s Marie Kondo again! My question is, “does this improve my life and make me a calmer, better man?” It’s not necessarily everybody’s question, but it’s not meant to be. It’s about finding what works best for you, for your life. I’ve found that social media and technology are deleterious to my marriage and relationships. The amount of joy they spark is tiny in comparison to the joy sparked by not using them.
If you would like to reach me you can now contact me on
Facebook: Tom Alfry Writes
(I have either deleted the other accounts or am in the process!)