Curing The Instant Gratification Hangover — Committing to Less and Being More

I find myself moving away from instant reflexes. Meaning, instantly responding to phone calls, messages, texts, and anything that grips or pulls me into an immediate response. It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve turned all notifications off on my phone. I did this during the holidays when I was stressed out and desperately wanting to connect with my family, friends, and real life moments. I decided it was time to put down the phone. Starting small with disabling all beeps, buzzes, and alerts. All of them. At first, it was quite tricky to turn off the notifications. I found myself often reaching for my phone out of a physical reflex. There were times I would be sitting alone or waiting in line where I felt an urge to grab my phone to check if I had missed anything by way of screen. Slowly, that reflex began to simmer as I continued the practice of being without.

I find the digital world to be incredibly fascinating, connecting, and it paves the way to be hyper mobile. It’s a one-finger touch to have instant access to other people’s lives, order food, pay bills, find remote locations, host conversations, watch movies and shows, while FaceTiming family and friends from all over the world. I love story-telling and reading other people’s stories via social media and blogs. I enjoy connecting with others that I may not have had the chance to connect with if it weren’t through social media. After all, that is how I met Rachel, through Instagram. I am beyond grateful that and to be here working with oneOeight to continue spreading love and building a community.

There has been a shift in the last few months for me. Much like my initial desperation from turning off my phone. I found myself consuming my days with loading response times from work, family, friends, social media, etc. I noticed I stopped taking so many photos (which is creative love for me). I found myself writing from fits and frustrations. I found myself just plain grumpy at times. Unconsciously, I stopped responding to calls, messages, emails, texts for days at a time. Sometimes my response time takes a week or two. I remember when my son was a newborn, this was the absolute case because I was in new mom mode and devoting every bit of me to our family time. The phone was hardly in use then. I am sure many of the mamas and dads out there can relate. It’s been interesting to feel little desire to respond to my loved ones, friends, and business relationships. Some have expressed my lack of response as rude or that I am less-caring. Some have said, “I see you’re on social media, yet cannot respond to my text!” I get it. Somehow, we’ve created a world where one’s presence online can dictate one’s response time in a completely different message field. I, for one, am not up for someone delegating my time based on what one can see on a public level. Some people have been incredibly understanding. In all response cases, I understand, am grateful, and also need to set myself better boundaries. One task is expressing this new motion that my response time has little to do with being careless and so much more to do with self-care.

Instant response reflexes were filling up my day, literally. Because I allowed it. By the end of each day, I was feeling depleted and much less accomplished on all accounts. Did I set a calendar for my next deadline? Did I respond fast enough for that business deal? Was I present while saying hello to my friend? Make sure to respond to the messages that have a “received and read” notification first, don’t let those people hang. They’ll know you read it! Those were common thoughts running through my head and I simply became overwhelmed. I was flooding myself with to-dos, offering my ear to drama, feeding into the instant gratification culture, and simply running myself into the ground.

I had to let go of the need to please.

That last sentence is hard to swallow.

Part of my work involves pleasing, whether it is said out loud or not. I don’t want to negate my work to please but there are things that must be done that just aren’t quite pleasing on a personal level. I won’t get into the fine line stuff, it’s just reality. So, I’ve committed to taking a few extra steps out loud to please myself and it may require a little extra patience and love from everyone else. Perhaps we could all dive in to please the self in order to serve the world and each other better.

I’ll start with my 5 commitments:

  1. All notifications remain turned off my phone. Let go of the need to instantly respond to anything from my phone.

  2. Presence is required at every meal. In person conversation about love and life, encouraged.

  3. Set boundaries with love. Part of my frustrations/depletion come from my own lack of boundaries, it is my responsibility.

  4. Say no to gossip and drama, this includes listening to it. Read number 3 again.

  5. Focus on the creative projects that pull the heart strings and scare me a little (maybe a lot).

I’ll start here and see where it goes. What about you?

What are you committing to in your life to free up space and offer some self-care?

My hope is that we can all take a time-out for ourselves, respect each other’s boundaries, and focus on our creative geniuses. Our purpose is here to serve the world. We each have to take “me-time” in order to do just that.

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