it’s not you, it’s the dopamine

It’s been several months since I went off Facebook. Do I miss it? Sometimes, yes. I wavered a few weeks ago, when my father excitedly shared photos of his home country, taken by an old school chum. (My dad doesn’t even have a cell phone.) Some of my friends are doing amazing work, and I’d love to share their projects with the wide social network I previously had. And of course, I’ve missed out on a ton of events in my community. (Not to mention, my birthday is coming up…who doesn’t love a Facebook birthday!?)

I recently watched the above Youtube in which Simon Sinek discusses the topic of millennials in the workplace. Sinek asserts that millennials, being born into a techno world where “everything has a filter,” find difficulty in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. Virtual friendships have supplanted real ones, and self-esteem is largely based on social media popularity (or lack thereof).

The arrival of a text or a ‘like’ signals the production of dopamine, a ‘happy hormone’. In Sinek’s view, allowing young people unrestricted access to social media is akin to leaving the liquor cabinet wide open. The fixation on likes, follows, and comments – the addiction to dopamine hits – may numb whatever pain is held inside. Millennials are accused of a sense of entitlement, but deep down, many struggle to find true meaning in life. Their mobile device has become the measure of their self-worth.

I’m not a millennial; I lovingly remember growing up in a pre-cell phone ’80s world. But I can totally relate to this video. I deactivated my Facebook account last year because I didn’t like how I felt when using it. I was tired of the inauthenticity…but how could I judge others’ inauthenticity, when I myself was pretending?

Why could I be so open on my blog, but so heavily filtered on Facebook? In my previous post, Infinity Beckons commented: “[A] blog is social media too, but anonymity seems not to feed the ego in the same way Facebook does…and often reveals the musings of the writers inner core rather than that of the external ‘I’”.

These words spoke to me. It’s wonderful to have a platform to express one’s true self. It’s not narcissistic; I believe it has to do with our soul’s natural inclination to expand, to self-express. Through writing, we share our unique essence with the world – how cool is that? For some of us, the blogosphere is the first place we’ve been able to do this. I’ve always seen bloggers as points of light connecting with their communities, all over the globe.

There are stories of great civilizations whose downfall was the rapid advance in technology. These highly evolved societies created revolutionary technology, but couldn’t sustain it because ego got in the way. Farfetched? I wonder.

Without this amazing Internet, I couldn’t write these particular words, and you couldn’t read them. Distance is no longer a factor in human connection, and that’s kinda miraculous. And yet, there’s a flip side. If technology is simultaneously used as a means of spreading fear and degradation, then…whoa. Look at our world today. It takes a conscious species to use this tool wisely.

I’m not anti-Facebook; I know miracles happen there too. But I have noticed that more and more people are questioning their usage of that particular medium.

I do think humans will pass this technology experiment. And I may reappear on Facebook as suddenly as I disappeared…but only if I’m confident I can be a compassionate, conscious presence.

For now, life still feels pretty good without it.

15 thoughts on “it’s not you, it’s the dopamine

  1. I thoroughly appreciate your discussion and contribution to the overall thought process for all of us here and beyond- by contributing your own stimulating thoughts, impressions, and experiences ❤ Social media can be too much, the good the bad, and the everything. In this light, I appreciate your title: "it's not you, it's the dopamine." It couldn't be more true, and we can take that to our relationships, too, for examination. One thing that concerns me is when people are not building in their local communities. I hope to keep local as well as respond to the call to be present online through writing and as a person who finds community and communities to learn from. I often look at patterns of avoidance in myself, and wonder: I wonder how I can strengthen my inner wisdom, and I always respond to 'time away' and by meditation, and through witnessing myself safely present in the participation and discussion of things that are much bigger than I can imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ka. Community is one thing I miss by not being on social media – I have missed lots of events and gatherings and that can feel quite isolating. Of course that requires putting in some effort to find out about these things, outside of social media. But the vast majority of people communicate only through Facebook now… and I don’t think that’s going to stop any time soon. I also think my Vata constitution makes social media quite challenging for me. My body/mind gets amped up very easily which makes it that much harder to tap into meditation, which is my priority right now. Maybe the next post is, ‘it’s not you, it’s your dosha’ heheh. 😀 Much love to you, and thank you for the light you shine in this online world! ❤ Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post!! I love the thought of bloggers being points of light connecting with people in their community and world! Great words 🙂 And thanks so much for the plug!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand your choice, as if we’re not careful we begin relying on the likes and comments… but as all my family live in different parts of the world it is great to be able to share photos with each other… it is also a good social media tool for my online book and MasterCreator class. Unfortunately there is a lot of negativity, fake news but I focus on my happy and loving friends that seem to fill up my news feed nicely. Much love to you Aleya… On another note, I’m going to feature you on March 20th if you could get the information to me before that please. You can read through the post to remind you what is needed here… looking forward to hearing from you x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barbara! Yes, I would imagine that with a business, Facebook is essential. And used wisely and consciously, it can be an amazing tool to spread positivity and love. And of course to connect with loved ones! I think it’s wonderful that Facebook and other social media has enhanced your life as this is its proper purpose and function… Much love to you and yes, March 20 works for me. I will revisit the post. Thank you Barbara! ❤ Aleya

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  4. Your words resonated with me … although my journey has been different. I joined FB reluctantly, was the last of the “dinosaurs” to do so. I love technology but something about everyone behaving like they’re in show business on FB put me off. Then I saw the power of those FB groups – targeting specific interests – and I was aching to learn more about autism and communication (for my son), I became an avid FB user due to these groups. At first it was helpful and wonderful. Then it all became so overwhelming. Someone somewhere was constantly talking about something. It was like having a person hovering around you that you couldn’t get to shut up. And even in these groups, I began to see shades of narcissism.

    You are so right about blogging. Because we can be anonymous, we are truthful and willing to show our weaknesses and be human and real. We are not constantly advertising ourselves. We are not modelling or acting. We are simply being and observing.

    I agree with you and Linda on blogging friendships too. I have met some lovely people through blogging. Although I have real friends (good people), so far I haven’t met someone who I can connect with deeply, like Linda says in her comment. But some of them disappear too, as other things in their lives take precedence – that is the sad part about anonymous blogging. But I’d rather have known their meaningful friendship for a short time in the blogosphere than the tiresome details of someone’s vacation in France on FB.

    You have a great blog here and I look forward to reading your older posts. Also, welcome to mine, would love it if you stopped by:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Priya, thank you! You make such a great point because I was just talking with a dear friend about the power of Facebook groups. I can see how they’re a great way to connect to communities and find support/resources on so many different issues. But it’s so interesting that eventually you had the experience of too many voices, narcissism, etc. Technology is amazing but the human ego is so slippery that with a medium like Facebook, it really takes a lot of energy to stay in a positive (or at least neutral!) space. As I wrote in one of my posts, it was humbling for me to realize I couldn’t do it.

      Being and observing, yes – that’s my experience with blogging too. My blog has been my journey and I know that I am a much different person than I was when I started the blog four years ago. Not better or worse – just different and evolving. And writing the words here has helped keep me on track in my own life…in my intentions and authenticity. It keeps me accountable and I like that.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment here…it’s really wonderful to make these connections and share our experiences. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog. All the best, Aleya

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  5. Hi Aleya,
    When you first blogged about leaving FB, I honestly didn’t understand the impact or significance. It alluded me. Now in this Trump era, I have spent less time there. I was thinking today so happy I am to have been born before the rise of techno, per PC, cellphone, internet, etc. However, my parents were born pre-TV. I have spent my life in front of a screen, the TV and I love it! However, it is not interactive and my friends and I passed notes in school or talked on the phone. The pre-phone world, not for me.

    My point is that perhaps we were born for the time we were meant for. I am still smart phone resistant but my work asks me to text in sick, not call in sick. So I do text for work,lol!

    I am so grateful for the internet because the friends I have made here are my people and I waited a long time for this opportunity. yes I do have genuine friends in real time, but not many share my particular affinities and worldview. Plus I love that I can write without a publishing contract and anyone can read my material. Beyond awesome. This caffeinated comment is getting too long..

    Thanks for raising this issue. PS what line of work are you in now? You mentioned a new job.

    love, Linda

    PS I still hold the vision of meeting many of you in person and I am thrilled to have ment 2 bloggers face to face. A real hug trumps a virtual one 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Linda caffeinated comments are the best! 🙂 I think it’s really cool to have incarnated before the internet, and witness its birth and evolution. I LOVE technology and communications but I’m so glad to have memories of a much simpler (in some ways) time. (Now I want to write a post paying tribute to the 80s!!) It’s super cool that we can communicate this way and I am very grateful for these amazing inventions that bring the world together.

      My new job is great, thanks for asking! I work closely with students and there are often personal issues that come up for them…my workplace offers many different trainings so I jumped on the mental health sessions – we need to be having more of these kinds of conversations, especially now, with everything that’s happening on the planet. People need resources.

      I would love to meet you one day and I’m sure it will happen when the stars are properly aligned. 😉 Much love! Aleya

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  6. I admire that you’ve given up Facebook and the fun/ attention/ social aspects. Lately, I’ve been considering taking a break from FB mostly due to the never ending political yammerings. I’m grateful for my blog, the space to share my journey and connect to other wonderful souls. Thanks Aleya.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Brad. Blogging is a beautiful thing! Facebook has some amazing aspects too; I was with a friend last night who seems to have a balanced relationship with it, and I admire that. (And she heard about the event we attended through FB, haha.) But the FB experience was all-or-nothing for me. I can’t imagine that I would enjoy it these days, in light of everything that’s happening right now. I am enjoying rekindling relationships with dear friends…quality over quantity! I’m happy that your blog has brought you joy! Namaste, Aleya

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